Financiers – plain, jammy, or fruity – just the way you like it!

Financiers

My quest for the perfect old-school madeleines recipe before has been quite well-documented here on Chez Pim.  I’ve got the recipe down now, and that’s the one I go to every time I want to make a batch.  But what about the cousin of those Proustian bites, the financiers? You might wonder why I’ve never written it up before.  Well, that’s probably because it’s hardly been a quest.  It’s one of those rare, lucky times when you do something once and hit the jackpot straight away.

I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised that the recipe turned out such perfect, Platonian ideal of the form considering the source, Dorie Greenspan. Ok, it’s actually Jean Luc Poujauran’s recipe from his famous Boulangerie Poujauran in Paris, as interpreted by our dear Dorie.  When Jean Luc Poujauran still ran his bakery full time, they consistently turned out perhaps the best financiers in town–my friend David Lebovitz agreed. This Poujauran-Greenspan financiers recipe was printed in “Paris Sweets”, one of my all-time favorite pastry books.  Dorie even posted the recipe on her blog last year.

Most sources on the web claim that financiers are made from a sort of sponge cake batter made with almond powder and whipped egg whites and baked into rectangular mold.  That statement, frankly, has just about as much truth in it as saying that madeleines are basically pound cake batter baked into scalloped molds.  (Don’t even get me started on those Donsuemor’s madeleines you get at your Starbucks.)  Not Dorie’s recipe!  Hers produces perfect representations of what an ideal financier should be, with a texture that is neither that of a cake nor of a cookie, but something of a cross between the two.  It’s dense yet tender, with a requisite contrast between the crisp crust and soft (but not cake-y) interior.  This is partly because the egg whites, the only leavening in the batter, are not whipped, but simply stirred into the batter over a gentle heat.  Also, the butter used in the recipe is not simply melted or clarified, but let cook until it reaches the point of being brown butter, or beurre noisette, enhancing the nuttiness of the almond batter.

Financiermolds

The shape is really quite besides the point, unless you are a stickler
to tradition like me–I insist on baking mine only in these thin tin
molds I bought at DeHillerin years ago.  It does, however, have something to do with the name.  According to a story I’ve heard, Dorie has a more detailed version of the same one on her blog, a baker near Le Bourse or Paris’s stock exchange came up with the idea of these cakes to sell to the financiers in the neighborhood, hence the name.  The shape of these petits gateaux was designed to resemble gold ingots as a nod to the profession of his customers.

Besides the original rectangular molds, you can bake this batter into little boat-shape molds or even, as Dorie said she had done for many years, in your ordinary, everyday muffin tins.  I think keeping the size of these financiers small is key to the great contrast between the crust and the crumb inside, so I wouldn’t suggest baking them in a regular cake pan or a big tart pan.

I must admit one thing though, as perfect as the recipe turned out even the very first time I made it, I have been tinkering with it.  As a proper foodie I could hardly leave a great recipe well enough alone.  How did I change mine, you wonder?  Well, I don’t know that I can give you all my secrets now that I am doing this for a living–yeah right, more like an expensive hobby, ha! Well, for one thing, I’ve been adding slivers of fresh nectarine or peach on top of the batter in the mold, pressing them down gently to partially settle into it.  In the winter I also make it with a little bit of green tea powder in the batter.  Dorie also suggests you add a dollop or two of jam right on top.  That works pretty well too.  The point here, I guess, is once you learn how to do the perfect financiers, you can easily add your own touches to make them just the way–aha, aha–you like it–aha, aha.  (Yeah babe!) Don’t you just love recipes like that.

What are you waiting for then?  Go over to Dorie’s blog and get the recipe–or, better yet, buy a copy of her book. Don’t forget to let me know how yours turn out when you’re done!

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23 Responses to “Financiers – plain, jammy, or fruity – just the way you like it!

  • Casey said:
    August 18th, 2008 at 6:33pm

    I can’t wait to try these. The small pastry shop at the end of the Tuileries gardens — source of sublime financieres — had gone out of business when I was last in Paris. Jesus wept.

  • Dana McCauley said:
    August 18th, 2008 at 6:45pm

    Those are lovely little molds. Do you know if that store still carries them?

  • Casey said:
    August 18th, 2008 at 9:55pm

    To Dana: When I was in the shop last year they had only nasty silicon molds–not those adorable tin ones.

  • kabonfootprint said:
    August 19th, 2008 at 12:28am

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  • gourmandelise said:
    August 19th, 2008 at 12:33am

    Tes financiers sont super jolies! Bonne journée.

  • Pim said:
    August 19th, 2008 at 1:30am

    @Dana, I’m sure they still do, you might need to ask though. If not, then one of the other cookware stores in that neighborhood should definitely have them.
    @Casey, been telling you to drop by down here in Santa Cruz, haven’t I?
    @kabon, thanks.
    @gourmandelise, toi aussi, tes madeleines au pandan, c’est un trait de genie!

  • lory said:
    August 19th, 2008 at 4:07am

    miamh…vraiment tentants!!

  • Dennis said:
    August 19th, 2008 at 2:18pm

    Yours look beautiful…like little works of art. I can’t wait to make a batch. Although I will have to use my little tin boat molds.

  • Ellen Allard said:
    August 20th, 2008 at 9:07am

    Yummmmmmmm, these look great. I wonder if they can be made gluten free. Any thoughts?

  • Jimmy-in-Seattle said:
    August 20th, 2008 at 8:24pm

    Pimmy…Your last six articles have been excellent. Inspirational. BRAVO! You’re on a roll again.
    When is your cook book comming out??

  • diva said:
    August 20th, 2008 at 11:08pm

    beautiful picture! i’ve been wanting to get financier moulds because they’re so good to have around, kinda like when you want cake but cake that’s bite-sized like a cookie. i’m gonna take down the recipe from Dorie’s site. yay.

  • johanna said:
    August 21st, 2008 at 9:56am

    lovely picture. poujaran’s financiers are indeed divine – the rasperry ones are my favorite. thank you for bringing this recipe to my attention! when we lived in the 6th we used to stroll over and tuck into the shop for a financier or two, perhaps a cannele Before dinner at one of constant’s places – very naughty. (le violon d’ingres is my favorite).

  • Lucy said:
    August 25th, 2008 at 7:00am

    They look lovely! Do you know of any place online (preferably that ships outside of the US) that still sells the tin molds?

  • Anita said:
    September 1st, 2008 at 9:30am

    I love the financier recipe from Dorie’s book – so thrilled to have you of all people validate my taste!! Financiers seem to be a perfect canvas to experiment on; I love what you’ve done to yours!

  • Stephanie said:
    September 4th, 2008 at 2:29pm

    These madelines are beautiful! I love the spongy, cakey ones too, but frankly I’m bored with them. Can’t wait to try these.

  • Laura said:
    September 16th, 2008 at 4:20pm

    Lucy, bridgekitchenware.com has them and will ship outside the US.

  • fin said:
    September 18th, 2008 at 6:42am

    i had spiced finacier before in a michelin restaurant in soho (1 star-i think u know what it is), it reminded me of ka noam farang. If you do know how to make it, please post it, I used to have it with coconut icecream back in Thailand. It is sooooooo good. I would like to make some myself but too lazy to experiment at present with baking :) I think perhaps it was farangs who have taught Thais how to make it? It’s simple but delicious, don’t you think?

  • MPG said:
    October 7th, 2008 at 3:05pm

    Those are gorgeous especially how the fruit slivers are arranged. I would love to find those molds though, they are perfect in shape and size.

  • Busby SEO Test said:
    November 29th, 2008 at 1:45pm

    nice share,now iam learn to cook

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  • Debbie said:
    February 6th, 2009 at 10:09am

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  • Michael Menard said:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 2:35am

    No, I definitely don’t want these, nope not at all…
    …I COVET them!!

  • Richie said:
    August 9th, 2009 at 10:24pm

    Please tell me what you think of those Donsuemor Madeleines you get at Starbucks. I like them, and I am looking for a recipe that makes it. Am I really that far off what a madeleine is?

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