Miniature Financiers Recipe

Bébé Financiers

What is it with mini things that makes them so damn irresistible?

I have always wanted to make mignardises, those sweet little bites that they serve with coffee in upscale restaurants. The name alone is enough to make you want them : “mignardise” comes from “mignard”, an old-fashioned word which, as a noun, means a small child, and as an adjective means delicate, graceful and pretty. Mignardise-mignardise-mignardise — you try saying it, see how addictive it is.

And mignardises were exactly what I had in mind when I bought my new Flexipan molds, the one for little tartlets and the one for hemispherical petits fours. I was delighted to get them just in time for Sunday, as we had invited six of our friends over for the goûter. I like the idea of serving mini-things on this sort of occasion, because it is somehow less imposing on your guests’ appetite, you avoid force-feeding them a slice of cake when maybe they’ve eaten gargantuesquely all week-end, and all they dream about is a cup of tea and a celery stick.

I decided to make financiers, those little almond cakes traditionally baked in shallow rectangular molds. You may, like me, wonder about the origin of the name, and I will share the two stories I’ve been told : some say it’s because they include almond powder and butter, pricy ingredients that only bankers could afford ; others say it is because in the traditional shape they look like gold ingots, and are hence favored by rich people. Whatever the reason, they are a delicious treat, buttery and nutty, slightly crisp on the top and edges, while sweetly soft and moist inside.

As it turned out, the appetite of my guests really wasn’t a problem, and we all enjoyed my bébé financiers, which I had made in three different versions : some were left plain, others were decorated with a pistachio, and the rest was flavored with chocolate (and I have also had excellent results in the past decorating them with raspberries). To these I added a batch of mini blueberry muffins made with the mix Alicia had sent me from Maryland, also baked in my petit-four tray.

And some organic cherries, too, to cancel out the calories.

Financiers

- 125 g sugar
- 125 g almond powder (a.k.a. ground almonds or almond meal)
- 4 egg whites, or 2 eggs
- 70 g butter (+ 20 g for the molds if not using nonstick)
- 20 g flour

Optionally :
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder + 3 Tbsp strong coffee
- and/or pistachios
- and/or chocolate chips
- or raspberries

(Makes 12 regular size financiers, or 36 mignardises.)

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F).

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over gentle heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, until lightly browned and nutty-smelling. Set aside to cool slightly. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar and almond powder. Add in the eggs and mix well with a fork. Add in the melted butter, mix again, then add in the flour, stirring while you pour.

At this point, you can stir in the cocoa powder and coffee if you want to make chocolate financiers. Alternately, you can divide the batter and add cocoa powder and coffee to one part only, in proportion.

Butter the molds if they’re not nonstick or otherwise blessed with magical powers, then pour the batter in each individual mold, filling it up just to the rim. If you like, you can add raspberries (a line of three for the regular-sized ones, like buttons on a clown outfit, or just one on top of mini ones), pushing them down in the batter slightly, or pistachios, or chocolate chips (these you shouldn’t push down).

Bake for ten to eighteen minutes, depending on the size and shape of your molds. The financiers should puff up a bit, get golden and slightly crusty on the edges, but they will still feel soft to the touch. Let stand for a few minutes, before turning them out on a rack to cool completely. The bottoms have a tendency to be a bit sticky when still warm, so you may want to put them upside down on the rack, or put them on a sheet of parchment paper.

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  • http://shewhoeats.blogspot.com/ chika

    Ils sont tres tres migons!!!

    I didn’t know that those small madelaine-like treats they serve with coffee/tea were called mignardises. Cute!

    And, how was the new pan? I have been considering buying some silicon pans for years now, it has never happend yet…

  • ROBERT

    Clotilde,

    My friend’s husband calls her “Baby Cakes” – you can be sure I will share this recipe with her. I was sorry to find how very expensive the Flexipans are in America. I would never be able to justify the $87.00 cost of the one I most wanted. Mini-cupcake pans will have to do for now – until I win the lottery!

  • Alisa

    you see, now I want the mini tartlette flexipan too!

  • jun

    clotilde – aww, they are so so cute! the pistachio ones look particularly tempting :)

    robert – i nearly fell off my chair when i saw the prices. guess i will have to wait until i win the lottery or something :(

  • pipstar

    Mmmm I too will have to hold off buying the Flexipans. They are ridiculously expensive in Australia also.

    However, there’s no way this is going to stop me baking some of these delicious looking and sounding mignardises! Yum Yum! :-)

  • Sylvie

    Par une curieuse coïncidence, j’ai fait ce matin des mini-financiers (même recette, même format) ! je me suis demandé pourquoi ton Papa me demandait si c’était ton blog qui m’en avait donné l’idée… Mais je ne l’avais pas lu ! excellents déjà avec le café…

  • http://feedingdexygus.blogspot.com dexygus

    clotilde-
    i adore financiers. i have also had great success with raspberries inside. just today at work i made plum financiers. they were fabulous, if a little wet from the plum juices.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Chika – The new pan worked wonders, especially after the first batch “broke it in”, so to speak.

    Robert, Jun and Pipstar – Sorry to hear they’re so ridiculously pricy overseas. Well, if that doesn’t justify a trip to Paris, I don’t know what does!

    Alisa – You can borrow mine anytime if you’d like!

    Maman – Incroyable coïncidence! Ce doit être une sorte de programmation génétique! :)

    Dexygus – Mmm, plums do sound excellent in this! It’s still a bit early for plums here, but I’ll definitely try it! Do you have think something could be done about the juices, maybe cook the plums a bit beforehand, or sprinkle them with sugar and let them rest a bit to drain before baking?

  • dexygus

    clotilde – i think the juices were only a problem because i made the financiers too shallow. if there is enough batter between the bottom of the plum piece and the bottom of the financier, it would probably be ok. i will try again. luckily, i have a lot of extra batter, and i love that it keeps so well refrigerated or frozen.

  • Rainey

    Merci, clotilde, pour l’explication de le nom “financier”. J’ai une autre recette pour un grand financier que ma famille et moi l’aimons bien. Je me demande toujours l’origine de ce nom.

    Le mien est fait avec le potiron. Je le devise et le remplie avec du « curd » de citron. C’est fantastique!

    Je m’excuse d’écrive si mal le français mais j’espoire le practiquer et l’améliorer.

  • Lorraine

    We call these friands in Australia – don’t know how they became known by that name and they’re in an oval shape but the same size as regular financiers. They are my favourite small cake to have with coffee.

  • adelina

    These look very good! I’m going to have to try making them. Only thing I feel a bit unsure is the ingredients’ amounts – very very small portions!!!

  • http://photondetector.com/ Nicolai

    If you’re not making this with beurre noisette, you’re missing half the flavor! It’s also traditionally made with egg whites only and is consequently a bit more tender than with the yolks.

    Either way, cake sponge simply doesn’t get any better than this.

  • http://www.offthebone.net tw

    Thanks for clearing up the CS definition!

    Mignardise is one of my favourite words too – you have no trackback function here, but I wanted to let you know that I just quoted this post, over here

  • Bev

    I’d love to know the amounts for the financiers for the American baker.

    Also, phonetically, how do you pronounce mignardises?
    Merci!

  • rosa

    Thanks Clotilde, these were delicious! It took me a while to work up the ambition to blanch and grind raw almonds (almond flour being ridiculously expensive), but it was well worth it. And popping the almonds out of their skins was great fun. A few went shooting across the kitchen, but mostly they just hit the bowl with a satisfying ping: so white, so innocent.

    Bev, here are the American measures that I used:

    1/2 cup + 1 tbsp or so of sugar

    5/8 cup ground almonds

    1/3 cup (or a smidge less) of butter
    plus 1 tbsp for buttering molds

    1/6 cup of flour

    … and I’m no native French speaker, but I believe it’s pronounced something like “meanyardeez.”

  • http://www.thecakedcrusader.blogspot.com The Caked Crusader

    These are also delicious with a raspberry baked into the top – it gives a beautiful sweet and tart contrast

  • Rikke

    Love you receipe. And added orange flower water as flavouring. Absolutely delicious.

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