Berry financiers (almond cakes)

This is by far one of the yummiest desserts I’ve made. Maybe because when I eat cake, I eat rich cake. I’m not big on mousses and angel food cakes. Too light and fluffy. I like some weight behind my desserts!!! I’d much rather eat something sinful and decadent or nothing at all. So making financiers was a great decision. Financiers are basically a heavy French almond cake that I used to eat a lot in Mauritius when I was younger. This was my first time making it, and it was easy, and delicious.

First, you’ll want to brown some butter. Now, I’ve never browned butter before, and didn’t see the point in turning the butter brown, but it really did taste better browned. I suppose it’s like eating your bread toasted instead of soft? The recipe said not to take your eyes off the butter since it can burn quickly. I followed the instructions EXACTLY and watched that butter like a hawk. It took a while to brown so I took a lot of photos out of boredom. I was literally bent over the stovetop, watching the butter melt, chin propped up by hands.

First it got melty.

Then it foamed.

Then I started getting creeped out cos I stared too long at the bubbles that started to form on the surface, and they looked like they were dozens of eyes winking at me.

Winky butter eyes

Then, it finally did something that resembled simmering.

When it finally turned brown, I poured it into a bowl and let it cool.

Next, blend together your almonds and flour. Mix with icing sugar. Separate the whites from 5 eggs and mix with the almonds etc.

Add some honey and a teeny bit of almond extract. Then mix in your browned butter. You’ll get a glossy, sticky looking mixture.

Pour into lined muffin tins, add a few berries (I used frozen blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and blackberries).

Everything was going so well until this point. Until I greedily licked a finger that had browned butter on it. And I was genuinely confused for a second when it tasted salty. Did salt fall in the bowl? What other ingredient could taste salty apart from salt? I think my psyche was trying to protect me from the horrible fact that I’d used salted butter. After 2 seconds with what I’m guessing was a truly baffled looking on my face, I was left with the conclusion that yes, I’d failed to use unsalted butter 🙁 And so, I redid the whole recipe. Including the tedious process of browning the butter. ARGHHHH. I still cooked the salty batch, just to see if they would turn out okay, and they surprisingly tasted fine!! The salt was almost imperceptible. And so I was left with double the amount of financiers. And that was fine with me! I’ve had issues with salty baked goods in the past. When I was 6yrs old and made my first banana bread loaf. It came out of the oven beautiful, filling the house with a smell of banana and cinnamon. I was so proud! But then we tasted a piece. And it was horribly salty. Like seawater salty. My mom used to keep sugar and salt in these tins with a small label on them. I must have mixed the two up, and had used at least one full cup of salt! I was so disappointed! And I’ll never forget seeing my salty banana bread go down the garbage disposal, still steaming hot. Apparently I’m still having salt problems. I really should make enormous labels and write legibly with a huge sharpie marker SALT on all my salt tins and salted butter.

I have a lot of “fails” when it comes to baking. I think it’s because with cooking, there is much more freedom for improvisation, and the meals tend to be forgiving of small mistakes and substitutions. But baking is a chemical process that turns individual ingredients into one homogeneous result. So the formula and technique need to be close to perfect! I’ll be posting more of my baking attempts (and fails) soon! Do you think it’s easier to bake or cook?

Anyway, this time the berry financiers came out tasting great (whew!) Also, since each batch required 5 egg whites, I was left with 10 egg yolks as leftovers. I am clearly making the world’s most unhealthy, artery-clogging omelette this week.

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