Simple yet exquisite, Raspberry Financiers are lovely little French almond cakes with crispy exteriors and insides as soft as a pillow. Surprisingly quick and easy to make.
I love these little cakes. I love their simplicity. I love their elegance. They’re as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat. Subtle and understated, with a delicate fragrance of almonds, they’re not overly sweet.
How did financiers get their name?
Financiers (pronounced fee-nahn-see-AY) have been a staple of pastry shops for more than a century in France. According to ”Memorial Historique de la Patisserie,” published in 1890, the financier was created by a baker named Lasne, whose bakery was near the financial center of Paris. The little cakes were named for the rich financiers who frequented his bakery. The cake was baked in rectangular molds, the shape of gold bars.
However, Nick Malgieri, the director of the baking program at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School and whose recipe this is, said a similar cake made with nuts, egg whites, and brown butter existed even before that. It was made by nuns of the Order of the Visitation and was called a visitandine. Perhaps the baker Lasne simply altered the shape and the name of the cake to flatter his clientele.
How are Raspberry Financiers Made?
Financiers are usually made with browned butter. However, this version is from Nick Malgieri, who adds raspberries for a lovely little burst of flavor. Instead of browning the butter, he uses softened butter for a moist texture that holds the berries in suspension, rather than having them fall to the bottom.
How do I bake Raspberry Financiers?
I’ve made these Raspberry Financiers in 4 inch, nonstick tart molds, however you can make them in any little shape. While traditional financiers are baked in a rectangular bar mold, there’s no need to buy a fancy pan. Some suggestions are:
Mini muffin tin
Small tartlet molds
What kind of ground almonds do I use?
This recipe calls for ground almonds. I grind whole almonds in the food processor until they are as fine as I can get them. They don’t turn into a fine powder. For these Raspberry Financiers, I boiled almonds for one minute to loosen the skins, drained them, rubbed them in a towel, and easily removed the skins. You can also use almonds with the skins on. It will produce a little bit darker cake with rustic looking flecks of skin. Almond flour can also be used in financiers. It will make a finer but denser cake.
How to make Raspberry Financiers
Who would have ever thought that such an elegant French pastry would be so easy to make? In this recipe, ground almonds, flour, sugar, butter, and a small amount of lemon zest are creamed together for two minutes. (The financiers won’t have a lemony flavor. The zest just accentuates the almond and raspberry.) Egg whites and vanilla are beat in – and that’s it! It’s so simple.
The batter is spooned into the tart pans, molds, or mini muffin tin – which ever you are using. A couple of raspberries are placed on top, then a sprinkling of almonds. (Note to self: Never use three raspberries again when taking photos if you don’t want your cakes to look like creepy little alien faces. They looked fine in real life!)
The financiers are baked until golden brown, especially around the edges. This is what makes them so crispy on the outside. Let cool for a minute or two, then remove from the mold. If you leave them too long, they will start to lose crispness. I use nonstick tart pans that are sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. You could also butter and flour the molds. If they have any trouble coming out, turn them upside down holding your fingers on the edges and press your thumbs in the middle of the bottom to release the cakes.
Let the Raspberry Financiers cool on a cooling rack. Sprinkle some powdered sugar over the tops before serving. They are the very best when eaten on the same day they are made.
Almond Raspberry Financiers
- ¾ cup ground almonds (3oz, 85g)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (3.6oz, 102g)
- ¾ cup sugar (5.25oz, 92g)
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (3oz, 85g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large egg whites (3oz, 85g)
- 1 pint raspberries or blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ cup sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
- Powdered icing sugar, for dusting
- 7 4- inch nonstick tart molds sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or buttered and floured.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix ground almonds, flour, sugar, and lemon zest until combined.
- Add the softened butter and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Add the vanilla. Add the egg whites, one by one, beating for 2 minutes and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared molds. Place on raspberries and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
- Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, but depending on the mold/pan used.
- Unmold the cakes, let cool on a cooling rack.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
- Financiers are the very best when eaten on the day they are baked.
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