Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gone Nutty...French-style

As a baker, there are some days that my nut allergies really tick me off! Today was on of those days when I came across a recipe for Blueberry Financiers with a Cornbread Streusel and Cornbread Ice Cream. Does that not sound like absolutely delicious?!?!?! Financiers are a French pastry, similar to a tea cake, that has rich caramel undertones thanks to the brown butter listed in the ingredients. I was absolutely drooling over this recipe until I got to the "nutty" part. {sad face}

You see the batter of these deliciously sounding treats, that I am so sure go excellent with a nice cup of tea, is made by combining flour with ground almonds and confectioners sugar. The result are golden little bars, as is the traditional French shape, that I am so sure are absolutely DELICIOUS! So that leaves me staring blankly at all of the many wonderful images dancing through my mind of me enjoying these wonderful sounding little pastries. You are welcome to stare with me.

Financiers
SEE...don't they look yummy?!?!?!?
I considered altering the recipe slightly but then realized that would not make it a financier at all...it would just become a muffin! But probably THE BEST MUFFIN IN THE WORLD!!! Too dramatic? Well since I can't enjoy, there is no reason you can't. I'm putting the recipe below. Don't bother telling me how good they were once you make them. I won't care. (I will) I won't cry! (Maybe a little)

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (OR almond meal/flour)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (OR powdered)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Place 12 rectangular molds, or you can use mini muffin cups.
  2. Place the butter in a small light saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, let it come to a boul, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter's surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned golden brown.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup of brown butter. Use the leftover brown butter to butter the molds with a pastry brush.  .
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and salt together. Make a well in the center and fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and brown butter. Fill each mold almost to the rim and bake for about 10 mintues.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Recipe makes 12 financiers.

These are best eaten warm from the oven, but they can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You can also pretty these French babies up by adding berries to the top. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries seem to be the fruits of choice.

If you choose to add fruit, at step 4 remove the molds from the oven after about 4 minutes and gently place one or two berries of your choice on top of each and continue baking for another 5-7 minutes.

In my superbly French-accented voice...VIOLA! It is finished!!!