Small, light and full of flavour, financiers are the perfect bite to end a diner. Actually, they are perfect anytime of day!
Traditionally made of almond flour, nowadays they come in various flavours: green tea (matcha), chocolate, pistachio, stuffed with Nutella, raspberries or passion curd.
They weren’t always called financiers and they didn’t always have their gold bar shape. Originally oval-shaped, these little cakes were made by the sisters of Visitation in the East of France, hence their initial name “visitandines“. They then slowly disappeared during the renaissance period. Apparently, arsenic smells similar to bitter almond, and I guess people were scared of getting poisoned and became wary of any food that contained almonds.
Luckily in 1890, a pâtissier called Lasne revamped them and started selling them in his shop near “la Bourse” (financial district in Paris) to businessmen wanting quick ‘finger food’. He changed the shape from oval to that which we know today: a little bar of gold, giving birth to the “financier“.
There are many recipes out there. I, myself have tried a few until I found this recipe from a French chef called Cyril Lignac. I like it not only because it’s really easy to make and fail-proof, but also because the texture and the taste are perfect. You really get that almond taste that is enhanced by the smell and flavour of the beurre noisette (brown butter) and at the same time, you don’t have that eggy aftertaste that you sometimes get from sponge cakes.
Financiers, recipe adapted from Cyril Lignac, makes 30-40 small size cakes
- To make the beurre noisette (brown butter), add the unsalted butter to a pan. Gently swirl the pan as the butter begins to melt. Cook until the white milk solids have browned, about 3-4 minutes, and the butter has taken on a deep golden color and has a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to burn the butter! Let it cool down.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together. Beat your egg whites with a work and add to dry mixture.
- Pour in the cooled butter and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (gas mark 4). Cook until nice and golden.
- Cooking time will depend on the size of the moulds. I used the traditional moulds and it took around 12-15 minutes.
- You can add a dollop of nutella, a raspberry or curd at the bottom of the mould.
- You can also sprinkle flaked/crushed almonds on top of the cakes.