September 4, 2010
Name of cupcakes: Two-Bite Financiers
Constituents: little almond cakes
Although to be fair, my expectations were low as I was not impressed by the Peanut Butter Financiers, which we made in March.
I am fascinated with financiers, because the HCB seemed to have a love-meh relationship with the peanut butter variety. Looking back, it seems like the lovers of the financiers had either the correct pan or used a mini cupcake pan. Those of us who felt meh about them tended to be those who didn't have the proper pan. In the book, Rose speaks of the ratio of crispy crust to creamy inside being perfect when baked in smaller portions, so I thought maybe making the effort to use a better pan would make a difference. Which I think it did.
Cookie has a set of foil mini cupcake pans so I bought some paper liners and borrowed her pans. I used 10 grams of batter (less than a tbsp) per mini cupcake which yielded 47 little cakes.
These cakes have a fairly simple batter of ground almonds which are processed with sugar, wondra flour for tenderness, egg whites, vanilla, baking powder and a good amount of butter. In this case, the butter is in two forms, beurre noisette and just plain ol' melted. Both need to be kept hot, so I set up two mugs with the butters in a pan of hot water:
I felt pretty cool about that :)
The butter is whipped in last, taking about 5 minutes to properly emulsify the batter. This results in a thick and creamy batter that smells of almonds and browned butter. Yum.
The very last batch of financiers baked a little longer than the first batch, but actually they didn't suffer in dryness or anything discouraging like that. They were in fact a little crispier on the outside and chewier on the inside, which I liked. In Rose's Highlights for Success, she mentions that financiers are best made "within hours of serving so that they retain their soft, springy texture and thin crisp crusts..." I also found that they were best about 20 minutes out of the oven, and lost their crispiness as the day wore on. In the Special Tips from Chef Jean François Bonnet, he suggests freezing extra cakes, letting them thaw in the refrigerator and then recrisping them in the oven at 350°. I will probably do that, since I have
These little cakes are a nice tea time treat; a mild flavored cake with an unusual texture. They would make a nice little breakfast side to a bunch of gooey stewed fruit and granola. I don't know if I'll make them again (it takes a long time to spoon out the batter in 10 gram increments!) but I'm certainly glad to have made peace with the pesky little financiers. Plus, they photographed well, which is always pleasing.