|Financier: Almond Cake|
After my Ispahan loaf disaster I am on high alert for potential baking problems. Reading through Dorie's recipe for Financier cake red flags went up for me when she started to describe heating while stirring egg whites and batter over low heat. I had never heard of doing such a thing.
I checked out other Financier recipes and they made no mention of heating the batter. So I decided to play it as safe as I could, while still going rogue. I veered off of the road but still kept my seat beat on... so to speak, by using the same ingredients that are in Dorie's recipe with a simple baking technique that I have seen many times in Cook's Illustrated cookbooks. America's Test Kitchen recipes if you are not familiar with them are pretty foolproof, even I can bake one of their cakes.
Again with the intention of making this recipe as simple, easy and inexpensive (I am not buying small pans that I will not use again.) for the average home baker I made one cake, and just cut it into small pieces. You would be surprised the cut cake did not produce a lot of crumbs, which I found charming about why the cake was created: as "a fast food pastry that hurried brokers could eat without knife, fork, or fear of telltale crumbs."
The result was fantastic. The cake reminds me of a Madeleines in both flavor and texture. It is light, yet has a nice crust. The only thing I would do differently the next time I make this cake is to add a little almond extract because I was hoping for more of an almond flavor.
I served the cake topped with honey and strawberries. Any fruit would be fine, but don't skip on the honey. Honey and almond are manna from heaven!
by Diane Balch
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Financiers recipe in Around My French Table.
preparation time: 30 minutes Serves: 6 - 8
12 tablespoons of unsalted butter soft (11/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 cup almond flour
6 large egg whites
2/3 cup all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put rack in middle.
2) Spray a 9x9x2 1/2 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the inside of the pan with a sheet of parchment paper.
3) In a standing mixer using the whisk cream the butter with the sugar on medium. Once it is well mixed add the egg whites and almond extract.
4) Whisk the egg white mixture until the eggs are firm but not stiff.
5) In a separate bowl mix the all purpose flour with the almond flour.
6) Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment and slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stop mixture as soon as the flour is incorporated. It is important not to over mix the eggs and loss their airiness.
7) Pour batter, scrapping sides with a spatula into the baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, firm to the touch, and a toothpick comes out clean in the center.
8) Let cake cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the pan and letting it cool on a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.