Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pistachio Financiers

The name of financiers may not bring anybody running to the table for these, for the name is not commonly used here in the US. However, if you call them nut tea cakes, the item will be much more recognized.

If tea cakes do not peak your interest, then let's get into more detail. Imagine a moist mini cake that has the nutty flavor of both pistachio and almond. This flavor is not derived from extracts, but from nut paste. Now, add just a touch of dark chocolate and you have something more than any name can convey.

Making these as mini cakes and not cupcakes or a layer cake is the way to go. The high volume of nut paste makes these tidbits dense. In other words, Goldilocks (as the story states) would find the size of these as "just right."

I baked these in mini muffin papers, yet "true" financiers are baked in special molds. The instructions noted using silicon molds as the preferred pan. The financier molds are strictly for aesthetic purposes, so don't feel that purchasing them is necessary. However, the special purchase that is required is the pistachio paste. You can find it in specialty grocers or on line.

The recipe hails from Francois Payard and makes about 40-50 financiers.

Pistachio Financiers
adapted from Payard Cookies

4 eggs
7 tbs butter
1 1/2 tbs dutch processed cocoa powder
5 tbs pistachio paste
14 oz almond paste

Fill a small saucepan with the butter and place over medium high heat.  Let the butter melt and cook until it reaches a light brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.

Take the almond paste and grate into a bowl, then empty the bowl into a food processor. Add the pistachio paste. Process the two together for about 30 seconds or until the mixture is evenly blended. Leaving the food processor running, add one egg. Once the egg is completely mixed into the batter, repeat that step with the remaining eggs, adding one by one. Then drizzle in the butter, processing the batter as you pour. After it thoroughly blended, switch off processor.

Measure out 3/4 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Whisk the cocoa powder into the 3/4 cup of batter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. Empty the food processor bowl with the plain batter into a medium size bowl and also cover with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator to chill. Both batters should chill for a minimum of 3 hours. However, overnight is the preferred amount of time.

When the chilling time is complete for the batter, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the silicon molds by spraying with nonstick spray and place on baking sheets . If using a mini muffin pan, grease cavity edges and line with paper baking cups.

Take out a 2 pastry bags and assemble with a coupler and 1/4 inch round tip. As an alternative, you can snip the tip off the both bags or the corners off of 2 small plastic sealing bags. Fill one bag with the plain batter and the other with the chocolate batter.

Fill each of the cavities with the plain batter, using a piping method. Each cavity should be about three quarters of the way full. After they are filled, then pipe 3/4 tsp of the chocolate batter into the top center of each.

Place pans in oven and bake until tester comes out clean, which is about 20-30 minutes. When done, financiers will spring back to a light touch and have a golden brown hue on top. Let financiers cool completely in pan (regardless of type of pan) before serving or storing.

Tips and Notes:
1. Batter is thick, so the piping method keeps them from having bubbles in the center of the batter/cake. It is not recommended to spoon the batter into the pan.

2. The silicon molds will result in small cakes with a flat surface. Baking with mini muffin pans yield a puffy surface like small cupcakes.

3. Almond paste is much thicker than pistachio, so the grating method is necessary to insure that the two nut pastes are easier to blended together.
                              **LAST YEAR:Schnecken or Pecan Cinnamon Buns*