Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Hazelnut Financiers

I made another attempt at Financiers yesterday, but this time I made sure I had all the ingredients to hand!

I purchased a rather pricey bag of ground hazelnuts from Real Foods and decided to use this instead of ground almonds. The hazelnut flavour was quite subtle, and the skins of the hazelnuts created a nice flecked pattern in the cake.

Hazelnut Financiers (adapted from Paris Sweets)

180g unsalted butter
180g sugar
80g ground hazelnut
20g ground almond
5 large egg whites
2 tsps vanilla essence (I made mine with brandy for an extra kick)
100g plain flour

1) Melt the butter until it is boiling, and and the milk solids start to brown. If you taste it, it should taste nutty but not burnt. Leave it to cool but do not let it solidify.
2) In a pan, mix the sugar, nuts and egg, stirring over a low heat until it is smooth. Stir it constantly otherwise you might end with scrambled eggs at the bottom! The hazelnuts mean the mixture will look off-white, but it is ready when it feels hot (not warm) to touch.
3) Add in the vanilla essence, and the flour. Mix gently until combined.
4) Pour in the melted butter. Fold the mixture together, this may take some time.
5) Put in an airtight container and leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
6) Preheat the oven to 200C, and grease up your tins. I used a 12 hole muffin tin, although financiers are traditionally made in an ingot shape.
7) Fill each mould about 2/3 full. At this stage you can decorate the tops with a small piece of fruit or a nut.
8) Bake for 12-13 minutes until golden, remove from the tins and leave to cool on a rack.

They should be crunchy on the outside, but soft and cakey inside, with a hint of a nutty flavour. If I had some chocolate lying around (it's very unusual for me not to have some emergency chocolate somewhere) I'd make a little ganache topping to go with the hazelnuts.

Unfortunately I committed the cardinal sin of baking... I opened the oven door after a few minutes as I'd left a sausage roll in there that was starting to burn. This meant that some of them were very crispy, but the other financiers were a little soft and underdone. It didn't make too much of difference if you were only eating one, but knowing that they were meant to be crispy on the outside it was a bit disappointing to find them a bit softer than expected.