Making Financiers

I tell you, the more time I spend making these sorts of ultra-simple preparations the more I wonder if I’ll ever truly enjoy fancy pastry again. I took these to a get-together last evening and had a ball watching people react to them. The pattern was the same with everyone: they picked one up off the buffet table, took a bite, chewed for a moment, then stopped, held it up and stared incredulously. What the heck ARE these things???

These offer quite a bit of bang for very little buck, as it were. They’re best with fruit on the side and downright decadent with ice cream. It goes without saying they’re fabulous with coffee. Start yours by greasing your form. Even if you use a silicone mat like this 1″ x 3″ financier mold, you’ll want to butter it anyway for maximum crispness on the edges.

In a large bowl combine your powdered sugar, flours and almond meal/flour. The almond meal can be store bought (Whole Foods carries some by made Bob’s Red Mill) or made at home. Just lightly toast about 5 ounces of slivered almonds in a 375 F oven for about ten minutes then grind them in a food processor.

Whisk it all together, then add the egg whites.

Whisk those in, then start drizzling in your hot browned butter.

You can add the blackened solids if you’d like…some people consider them essential, but I don’t. I leave them out.

Lastly whisk in a little almond extract. Wanna use a little lemon zest instead (or in addition)? Knock yourself out!

Spoon the batter into the forms, filling them a little more than half way.

Bake 7 minutes at 425, then 7 at 375, then 7 with the oven off. For smaller financiers bake at 450 for 5, then 400 for 5 then 5 with the oven off. They should look about like so.

I got some fairly large bubble holes on top with the first batch. Subsequent batches had smaller bubbles, which made me think that resting the batter might be a good idea. Then I noticed the third batch had dimples in them. You can see some of them here:

I’m not completely sure what that means. However next time I think I’ll rest the batter maybe 20 minutes to let some of the bubbles rise out, then try to bake them all at once using more molds. They were all positively delicious though, no matter what they looked like. I can see why good bakers spend so much time perfecting these. If I get much better results than this I may have to quit the blog altogether and devote myself to financiers on a full-time basis.

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28 Responses to Making Financiers

  1. Kristin says:

    I bought a silicone financiers pan off of Amazon after I got a Rose Levy Berenbaum book for Christmas. I haven’t made them yet, but your post has motivated me to give them a try this weekend!

  2. rainey says:

    Don’t forget that if you make your own almond flour in the processor you want to pulse and pause between pulses so that heat doesn’t build up and you don’t over process to get an almond butter started.

  3. Susan says:

    I know, right? People appear so surprised that such a plain looking cookie/cake(?) could be so good. I made some during the holidays in my sandbakkel moulds and the top center sunk slightly as well. Now that you mention the “dimple” in yours, could it be that the graduated sides of the mould, being thick at the center but thinner on the sides where it’s wider, might have something to do with it sinking slightly, being there is less support on the sides?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Susan!

      I don’t know. My sheet pan was a still hot when I put the mold down on it after re-filling. I wonder if that might have caused some premature firming around the edges. But that’s just a guess. The first group of nine was perfect. It’s a strange result.

      - Joe

  4. Evan D. says:

    Financier batter makes an excellent madeleine as well! I know it’s not strictly traditional, but I’ve known French patissiers who swear by it. All you need is a little lemon oil, some zest and a madeleine pan to make the conversion.

  5. peggy says:

    Hey Joe, could I make these in a cupcake tin?

  6. Bronwyn says:

    If you want to try another simple thing, maybe not well known in the US, try http://www.kiwibaking.com/afghan-biscuits-recipe/ .
    They are a favourite in New Zealand and Australia, and are just delicious. Don’t be put off by the cornflakes – you don’t really taste them but they add some necessary crunchy texture to the very rich biscuit (cookie) mix. The icing and walnuts are not optional, neither is a plate to catch the crumbs while you eat.

  7. NancyB says:

    The recipes in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes have the batter rest an hour in the pans before baking, which was part of the instructions that were so confusing to me, from the way it was worded. Or maybe it meant rest the batter at least an hour period, not necessarily in the pans. But anyway, perhaps you have uncovered the reason for the resting period.

  8. Meredith says:

    These look amazing, I would love to try them but am allergic to tree nuts. Any suggestions on what would be best to substitute for the almond flour?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Meredith! You can use all sorts of things as a substitute for almonds. Just about kind of dried legume can be used (you can find those in snack sections of health food stores or specialty shops). Dried chick peas are a common substitution, for example. But just about any non-flour filler sort of thing will work…even dried bread crumbs.

      Best of luck and let me know how it goes!

      - Joe

      • Deb says:

        Hi Joe – so is it a gram per gram substitution for the almond flour? I just bought some coconut flour that I wanted to try substituting for the almond flour but wasn’t sure if it was a direct subsitution? Thanks!

        • joepastry says:

          Yes Deb, gram for gram. Good question. And that’s a fascinating idea. Should work perfectly…but let me know what the result is!

          Cheers,

          - Joe

          • Deb says:

            Ix-nay on the coconut flour idea! Definitely NOT a good idea. Turns out coconut flour is hygroscopic and sucked up all the available water and turned the batter into a dry dough. I ended up adding water and oil to it to try to turn it back into a batter and baked it up, but the final texture was all wrong. Inside was gummy/gel like and outside was hard not crispy at all. Oh well…

          • joepastry says:

            Fascinating. I guess coconut flour would be made from desiccated coconut flakes, so it stands to reason….those dehydrated bits would want to re-hydrate when some awe came along. Thanks for checking back on that. Carry on with the experiments!

            - Joe

  9. Ann P. says:

    oh my lawd. must make these now! they look and sound completely heavenly!

  10. Amrita says:

    Hi Joe!

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to make some banana financiers… I really like your recipe, do you know how I could add bananas to this, and what else would need to be adjusted to make it work? Thanks, and I love your blog!

    :)

    • joepastry says:

      Thanks Amrita! I very much appreciate that!

      That’s a very interesting idea, rather challenging too. I guess if I were to add banana I’d start with maybe four ounces of mashed banana, and take out two ounces each of the sugar and almond flour, plus an ounce of butter. See what that does. You might be able to swap out more of all those things to amp up the flavor, however my feeling is you probably won’t get a really strong banana flavor with just mashed banana. You’ll probably need to spike them with a little banana liqueur as well. A tablespoon, say.

      Good luck and let me know what happens!

      - Joe

  11. My H. says:

    Great recipe!
    This is the first time I made financiers, and also the first time to use browned butter in baking.
    The browned butter is absolutely sublime! I just start thinking about all the other cakes and cookies it could be used in to heighten the flavor!
    Thanks for the recipe and great site!
    //My

    • joepastry says:

      Hello My!

      Oh yes, browned butter is useful in so many things. It’s wonderful in brioche as well. Thanks for the kind compliments!

      - Joe

  12. Christie says:

    Hi,
    Your shots are beautiful!
    Can I use one of them to illustrate my future French online boutique Sweet Oulala on Meylah.com? I want to sell French financiers, and still, I don’t have any nice pic for them. :-/
    Thanks!

    • joepastry says:

      Thank you, Christie! And what’s mine is yours! I’ll send you the original master shot so you can size it as you want. If you want any others just let me know!

      - Joe

  13. Cinthia says:

    I wonder if you tap the baking tray on the counter (carefully) before putting it in the oven would help those bubbles rise up? They look yummy Joe, it’s my first time visiting your blog and I’m loving it. I think I’d serve these with a small dollop of whipped cream and a sliced strawberry.

  14. charine says:

    Hi Joe,
    I made financier just now, they just came out from oven and still sitting on my kitchen table.
    The top of my financier rose up , they’re not flat like yours. How to prevent the top from risen up? I want to bake my financiers as pretty as yours.

    Thanks.

    • joepastry says:

      Hello Charine!

      It sounds like you might have mixed them a little too much. More mixing creates more activated gluten and a rounder “crown”. Do you think that could have been the problem?

      - Joe

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