May the Year of the Tiger bring good fortune to all of you!
As a last minute thought, I decided to bake some Financiers for prosperity and good fortune. Nothing like celebrating CNY with some edible "gold bars", don't you think?
"A financier is a ... light teacake, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The basis of the cake itself is beurre noisette (brown butter), egg whites, powdered sugar and flour. The name "financier" is said to derive from the traditional rectangular mold, which resembles a bar of gold. (Wikipedia)
But wait, let's not forget Valentine's Day, which is all about love, hearts and romance. Again, let me wish all my friends and readers a year filled with love and happiness! What is wealth and abundance if you don't have love?
So, I was randomly surfing for a Financier recipe when I came across these Raspberry-Almond Financiers at Martha Stewart's. Oh, perfect! They are befitting of both occasions.
As you can see, I made two versions - a gold bar for prosperity, and a few bébé ones with hand drawn hearts for love.
I watched these Financier cupcakes instantly transform before my eyes. From ordinary to extraordinary. All with a dollop of jam. I also watched my bébé Financiers instantly disappear before my eyes.
Now you see it ...
... now you don't! ;) Not bad eh? I was carrying him and taking photos at the same time. Mommies are amazing multitaskers. :)
One thing about this recipe though, is that it didn't yield a light teacake. In fact, the texture was quite dense. Are they supposed to be airy like sponge cakes? How is that possible without leavening agents and/or prolonged beating of the eggs? There was also no "dome", which I see in other Financiers. Ah well, it was my first time making and eating these, so I didn't quite know what to expect. Next time, I will try out the Green Tea Financiers from Shirley's blog. Her version looks so much more like the light teacakes as described in Wikipedia. :)
Still, I got my "gold bars" and sweethearts. :) What more can I ask for?
(from Martha Stewart)
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 cups sliced blanched almonds (6 1/2 ounces), lightly toasted and finely ground (I used ready ground almonds)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen), pureed and strained (1/2 cup) (I used jam instead)
1. Preheat oven to 170 degree celsius. Coat mini muffin tins with cooking spray, or line with muffin cups like I did.
2. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Add honey, and whisk until combined. Remove from heat.
3. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine almonds, sugars, flour, and salt on low speed. Raise speed to medium-high, and add egg whites, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low, and add warm butter-honey mixture in a slow, steady stream. Raise speed to high, and beat for 45 seconds.
4. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each halfway. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon raspberry puree near one edge of each cup. Draw a skewer or the tip of a paring knife through puree toward opposite edge of cup to form a heart shape.
* I omitted the raspberry puree. Instead I sent the batter straight into the oven for baking.
5. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until edges are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in tins on wire racks. Using a small offset spatula, carefully unmold financiers, and transfer to rack. Financiers are best served warm or the same day they are baked, but they can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to 3 days. If desired, serve or package financiers in decorative paper liners.
* As soon as the Financiers were baked, I allowed them to cool. Make sure they are really cool before you decorate them. Warm up some raspberry jam (any jam you like, actually) so that it liquifies. Gently drop a small dollop onto a Financier, and with the blade of a butter knife, coax the jam into a heart shape. When the jam cools, the shape will set. Don't use too much jam and you'll do fine.
Love or money? Why, have both!