Confession #76: I’m Dreaming of France… Apricot Financiers

by alexandra

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What’s pretty magical about food is the way that it can transport you to another place. The other day I stopped by a local Parisian cafe, and as I sat there eating my Nutella crepe and eyeing the other menu choices – pain au chocolat, croissants, macarons – I really felt like France was at my fingertips. If I can have an amazing crepe here, thousands of miles away from France, I just know that  the food there must be extraordinary. That’s one reason (and a big one, I must admit) why I’m thrilled that in a few short weeks I’ll be in Paris myself, surrounding by authentic French cuisine. For now though, I think I’m subconsciously trying to get my France fix at home, not just with crepes, but also with these Apricot Financiers.

I feel a bit ashamed to admit it, but a few months ago, I didn’t even know what a financier was. When I first saw them, I wrongly assumed that they were basically muffins, simply because they’re sometimes baked in muffin tins. These beautiful little teacakes, which are traditionally made in rectangular, bar-shaped molds, are actually quite different from a muffin, and so much more unique. Made with beurre noisette (brown butter), almond meal, and egg whites, they are far from your typical muffin (or cake) and amazingly good. Before trying them, I figured they’d be good, but I didn’t really understand why everyone makes such a big deal about them. With my first bite, my doubt was gone; in fact, I quickly devoured a whole one right out of the oven – something I seriously never do.

These financiers have a really moist, nutty, almond-y crumb, more like a cake than a muffin, that comes packaged in a more firm, golden-brown crust. I topped them with very thin slices of apricot which add just a touch of contrasting tang to the sweet cake. They’re gluten-free, extremely light, and so easy to eat! If you’re like me, dreaming of France, or if you’ve never had a financier, I highly recommend that you make these. Otherwise, you won’t quite understand how good they are, and really, that would be a shame.

Apricot Financiers

Cook Time: 14 minutes

12 financiers

Apricot Financiers

These Apricot Financiers are full of moist almond flavor and topped with thin slices of fresh, tangy apricot.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted, for brushing pans
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into tablespoons (1 stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup almond meal or ground almonds (sifted and measured after grinding)
  • 1/2 cup rice flour*
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar or finely ground granulated sugar**
  • pinch salt
  • 5 egg whites
  • 6 small apricots, pitted and sliced thinly, or 1 scant cup thin apricot slices

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Brush 12 muffin cups in a standard-size muffin tin with melted butter, coating bottom and sides of each cup. Place the muffin tin in the freezer, allowing the butter to solidify again, until ready to fill and bake.
  2. Place the cut butter in a heavy-duty pan over medium-low heat and allow to melt, whisking frequently as butter foams, develops a nutty aroma, and turns golden brown, with small brown specks forming on the bottom of the pan.*** As soon as the butter gets to this point, remove from heat and place on a cool surface for 5 minutes. Whisk in almond extract.
  3. While butter is cooling, combine sifted ground almonds/almond meal, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Stir together on lowest speed just until evenly combined. Add egg whites and mix in, again on lowest speed, just until evenly combined.
  4. Pour the browned butter into the mixer, including the brown specks at the bottom, and mix in at second speed until all ingredients are smooth and evenly combined.
  5. Divide the batter equally among the 12 prepared muffin cups (each should be filled about halfway). Arrange apricot slices carefully on top.
  6. Bake the financiers for 7 minutes, at which point they should have risen and puffed up. Reduce the heat to 400 F and bake for an additional 7 minutes, so that the financiers are turning golden on the edges and firming up on top. Finally, turn off the oven and leave the financiers in for about 7 more minutes, until they are firm and spring back to the touch.
  7. Remove the financiers from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy immediately, storing leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

*You should be able to substitute all-purpose flour for the rice flour, although the financiers will no longer be gluten-free.

**To make the granulated sugar finer in consistency, simply grind in a coffee/spice grinder for about 10 seconds, until fine but not powdery.

***It's easier to use a lighter-colored pan when browning butter so you can see these dark specks, but if you don't have one, scoop a bit onto a white spatula to check.

http://www.brighteyedbaker.com/2012/07/20/confession-76-im-dreaming-of-france-apricot-financiers/

Recipe Adapted From: Tartelette and Food Lover’s Guide to Paris
via Epicurious

A Final Question: Any recommendations for visiting Paris and the surrounding area? I would love to hear!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Alyssa (Everyday Maven) July 20, 2012

Beautiful pictures! That looks unbelievably tasty :)
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) recently posted..Full Until Lunch Power MuesliMy Profile

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brighteyedbaker July 20, 2012

Thanks! The financiers were a big hit – they’re so deliciously almondy!

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Riley July 20, 2012

These are beautiful! Apricots taste so good right now!
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brighteyedbaker July 20, 2012

Thank you. :) Our apricot trees yield so much fruit in such a short burst of time, that it’s all we can do to enjoy them as much as possible as quickly as possible.

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 21, 2012

I just saw these on Pinterest and they are such beautiful financiers that I had to come visit. Lovely! :)
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brighteyedbaker July 22, 2012

Thank you so much! Your comment put a smile on my face :)

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Amy Tong July 22, 2012

I love fianciers and what a special touch for adding apricot slices. Wow, lucky you get to visit Paris in the near future. I’ve never been there and wish I can visit and try out some authentic French cuisine some day. Have a wonderful trip and enjoy.
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brighteyedbaker July 23, 2012

These were my first financiers and now I love them too! And thank you; I’m so thrilled that I get to see Paris. I hope that you too will get to one day. I think every food blogger or food lover would love to go!

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Miriam July 24, 2012

Lovely financiers! I am now ridiculously hungry….
The Paris food scene is ever-changing, but you might find some great ideas here http://www.edible-paris.com/.
When we were there my husband and I enjoyed dining in this restaurant, the history and ambiance were intoxicating and the meal delicious http://www.auberge-nicolas-flamel.fr/. Their wine cave was extreme as well!
Indulge once in a quick lunch of canard et frites – it’s heaven with a good red in your hand:)
Also, a walk around Montmartre is beautiful and houses the only vineyard remaining in Paris – a beautiful surprise that made for some wonderful photography. Cimetiere du Pere Lachaise was also a wonderful morning of walking and photography.
Really, you can’t go wrong in Paris. There are quiet gardens and delectable bakeries everywhere. Enjoy!

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brighteyedbaker July 24, 2012

Thank you so much for the comment and the scoop on Paris! I’m going to check out both of the sites you gave me links to and make sure that I have the vineyard and the Cimetiere on my list. So exciting :)

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Milk and Honey July 24, 2012

This looks divine. I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award :) You can read about it on my blog if you so choose.
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brighteyedbaker July 25, 2012

Thank you so much! That made my day :)

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Hannah July 25, 2012

Such lovely little cakes! This is an excellent reminder that I really must bake with apricots before the season passes me by, too. They’re such a treat when fresh and juicy, it can be hard to sacrifice them for pastry projects.
Hannah recently posted..A Happy, Healthy SurpriseMy Profile

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brighteyedbaker July 25, 2012

That’s true; it can seem tough to part with fresh fruit in order to use it in baking. However, when you have way to many to eat fresh, that becomes another story…. The financiers don’t require too many apricots, though. You should try them!

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