When I started my first Patisserie term at Le Cordon Bleu, Financiers & Madeleines was lesson one. It was during this time, that I learnt the origin of the Financiers, how they were different, and its symbolic shape.
They are also known as Visitandine (named after a Roman Catholic Order of nuns). Its traditional shape was rectangular, to resemble that of a gold bar; hence Financier.
Back then, I already knew what a Madeleine was, shaped like a beautiful sea-shell; a blend of golden luscious beurre noisette or melted butter, almond meal, flour, sugar and eggs, its preparation similar to that of a genoise sponge.
But Financiers were totally new to me. Sure, I tasted some when I was at Henri Charpentier in Japan, but they didn't feel very different from the usual petit fours or mini loaf cakes I've had. It was when I had freshly baked financiers made by my chef, did I learn to truly appreciate these delicate bites. They were absolutely divine. Light as a choux, yet well-bodied like a rich sponge. That, was a perfect homage to French pastry's origins.
Financiers, unlike Madeleines, are made with egg whites, almond meal, flour, sugar and beurre noisette, which is key to its flavouring.
120g butter (min. 82% fat)
For beurre noisette, you lose about 10%-15% of the weight when it is prepared, hence prepare it with 120g butter.
In a heavy bottom sauce pot, melt your butter over medium high heat until it foams. Turn the heat to low, then watch the milk solids turn to a golden brown. Remove from heat, weigh 100g (including the brown milk solids) into a bowl/container, set aside to cool.
Financier (makes approx. 15 servings)
100g egg whites
45g roasted almond meal*
80g caster sugar
100g beurre noisette*
15g leatherwood honey
40g cake flour, sieved
*These ingredients are weighed after they have been prepared/processed.
I roasted my almond meal in a frying pan over low heat. This is to rid the flour of the moisture & to intensify its flavour as nut oils are being released when it is roasted.
Use a soft spatula for all mixing, no whisk is required. In a bowl, combine egg whites, almond meal and sugar, until a soft paste is achieved.
Mix the beurre noisette and honey together, then incorporate it in 2 additions to the almond paste. Make sure the mixture is homogenous, without lumps.
Finally, incorporate the sieved cake flour in 2 additions, stir till combined, avoiding pockets of flour.
Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and reserved in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This is important to allow the glutens to relax, and the flour to properly saturate for a more tender crumb.
Preparing Financier moulds
softened butter (for brushing your moulds)
plain flour (to dust the moulds)
Brush your moulds with softened butter (thin coat), then dust the moulds with plain flour and knock out any excess. Reserve these moulds in the refrigerator until your batter is ready.
Preheat oven to 170°C (convection oven, fan forced)
Measure 24~25g per financier mould (see Tips), fill with batter from the fridge, no need to return to room temperature.
Bake Financiers for approx. 9 - 10 minutes. Unmould onto a wire rack immediately and allow to cool slightly before serving. If you have buttered your moulds properly, they should slide right out.
They can be eaten warm, or aged at room temperature for a day so that the cake absorbs moisture and settles into this moist, tender amazing little bite of perfection.
They will stay good at room temperature for up to 3 days, in the fridge for a week, in the freezer for eternity (just kidding, probably a month or so). But I do recommend you to make them fresh, since the ingredients are not that uncommon in our pantry, and they are such therapeutic beauties to make.
My moulds are very different and I'd suggest you to trial and error with one mould, and observe how it bakes with different times & amount of batter before you bake them in a massive batch. Note down your baking details each time, and observe how your oven handle these bakes.
If your financier is too brown and the inner crumb appears to be of a darker shade/wet looking, lower the temperature by 10°C, and bake for an extra minute or two.
You are probably wondering if you can do it without roasting the almond meal. Of course you can, but it does make a difference. It doesn't take that long, just do it!
I used leatherwood honey because I really love the accent of the honey and it blends beautifully with almond & beurre noisette. Feel free to substitute this with any honey of your choice, or simply omit and replace with sugar. Honey is an invert sugar, and it introduces moisture into your cake, keeping it tender. It is more hygroscopic than sugar, hence retaining that moisture much better.
You can substitute a small portion of the flour with matcha powder, or cocoa powder if you like. But I would only go a maximum of 5-7% of the flour's weight (approx. 2-3g for this recipe portion). If you change it too drastically, the balance of the recipe is off. There are many factors to consider when switching ingredients.
Don't skimp on the ingredients! I use Elle et vire & Lescure butter (unsalted), if you are making these for your loved ones, go the extra mile, they are worth it.
I would love to hear from you if you have tried the recipe, tag me on Instagram (@flourcrafts) and show me your creations! Bon appétit!