I know that many bloggers cook, bake, and generally prepare fabulous food and recipes with their blog in mind. Out comes the semi-professional food photography gear, amazing props, flowers, table settings, and hey presto, a few days of intensive preparation and forethought produce stunning pictures to accompany posts that are thoughtfully written, peppered with witticisms and engaging anecdotes that give you a sneak peak into the author’s life, interests, and passion for cooking. I love those blogs.
This is not one of those blogs. This blogger still struggles with being able to time her baking and food preparation to coincide with a photo shoot that can only occur within a small window of opportunity during the course of any given day, weather permitting, so that the combination of camera and lighting won’t destroy what the naked eye can plainly see, and the other senses experience. Breathe. All despite some rather nifty equipment.
This blogger refuses to rent or buy fancy schmancy food photography props and doesn’t spend hours lost in homewares stores gushing over tableware and assorted knick knacks that would look just so. She simply doesn’t have the time or the storage space at home to keep it all. Her pantry is full of baking equipment, chocolate making gear, kilos of chocolate, shelves upon shelves of ingredients, and more chocolate …
This blogger doesn’t prepare recipes for the blog. She just blogs them when she can, because they are worthy of being shared, at least she would dearly love to think so. Sometimes, they’re recipes she’s been making for years, or maybe something she’s only just created and made a few times to make sure it’s fully tested, and reliably reproducable. But she usually bakes and prepares them to be eaten, by herself, by the family, by friends, at functions … so her photo shoots are generally hurried, not always in the best light, and largely raw and unstylised.
Her blog posts are not planned, thought through, rehearsed, or proof-read. She simply writes what comes to mind.
But the love that goes into each recipe knows no bounds … and so it’s with gratitude to everyone who follows and supports this blog, that I’m sharing with you all, this recipe for my raspberry and chocolate financiers.
I love financiers. Like eclairs, I sometimes dream of opening up a financiers bakery with the aim of making financiers the next big thing. They are so wonderfully buttery and sweet, and lend themselves to infinite variations in flavour and texture. Commercially available ones more often resemble stodgy bricks of solid almond meal, with what I can only imagine is a tonne of sugar and shortening, and have little in the way of flavour. Worse still, they are usually served stone cold. They are an insult to what is a classic and elegant French almond cake.
A real financier starts with butter, browned to an aromatic and nutty perfection. Egg whites whisked to a frothy foam and nut meal, flour and sugar folded in. The flavourings you choose to add are infinitely varied. Fruit, nuts, chocolate, liqueur, citrus curd, caramel, spices … whatever your heart desires. The result should be rich but light and buttery in texture.
I love these raspberry and chocolate financiers and they are one of my favourites. Raspberry and chocolate is such a classic combination and adding a little Framboise ganache on top makes them extra special. They have been very popular and I hope you love them too. I wish I could share with you what the eye can see that the camera has not allowed, the wonderful aroma of these little cakes, and their delicate flavour and texture … but technology has not yet come this far. Perhaps I can persuade you to make them instead and let me know
I’ve used a variety of chocolates to make these, all with excellent results. Some of the best include Valrhona’s Manjari, Michel Cluizel’s Maralumi, Willie’s Cacao Madagascan 71, and Felchin’s Maracaibo Intenso 66%. But any really good quality chocolate would be fantastic. Enjoy!
Makes 15 standard financiers
150 grams unsalted butter, cut into pieces
125 grams almond flour
85 grams plain flour
200 grams icing sugar
200 grams egg whites (6 large)
100 grams raspberries, fresh or frozen
50 grams dark chocolate or couverture, chopped into small pieces
a little extra icing sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
I used silicon moulds so had no need to grease and line them. If you are using standard financier, muffin, or cupcake tins, brush them with some extra melted or softened butter and dust with flour. Tap out any excess flour, and set aside.
Place the butter into a stainless steel saucepan and melt over a low heat. Cook until the butter starts to brown and gives off a lovely nutty aroma. When browned, remove the butter from the heat and pour in to a dish to cool.
Sift together the almond flour, plain flour, and icing sugar. Add the raspberries and chocolate to the flour and sugar mixture and toss to coat the berries. Whisk the egg whites until foamy. Do not whisk until soft of stiff peaks, as you do not want to create a meringue. Fold the dry ingredients gently in to the whisked egg whites. Drizzle the browned butter over the mixture and fold gently into the mixture until incorporated.
Divide the batter between the 15 moulds. Bake the financiers for about 30 minutes at 170°C, until risen and slightly golden on top. Remove from the oven and allow the financiers to cool, in their molds.
When cooled, gently remove from the moulds, and place on a serving platter. If not using silicon moulds, gently run a flat knife around the inside edge before easing out the financiers.
Dust liberally with icing sugar to serve or lightly dust with icing sugar and pipe rosettes of Framboise Ganache on top of each financier prior to serving.
The unadorned financiers will keep for several days, stored in an airtight container, at room temperature. If using the ganache, it is best to frost the financiers before serving.
85 grams dark chocolate or couverture
150 grams cream, 35% fat
20 millilitres Framboise or Crème de Cassis
20 grams butter, at room temperature
Chop the chocolate into pieces and place in a plastic bowl, suitable for the microwave. Microwave for about 60 seconds. The chocolate will not be fully melted. This step is not mandatory. If you skip this step, chop the chocolate finely so that it will melt more easily.
Place the cream in to a small saucepan and bring to simmering point. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the Framboise, and gently stir with a whisk until the chocolate is melted. Add the butter and whisk gently until smooth and shiny.
Fit a piping bag with a decorative tip and push a little of the bag into the tip to form a seal. Fill the bag with the ganache and flatten it on a bench. I do this to help it cool more quickly and set to a piping consistency. In warm weather, you may need to set the bag on a tray and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or so.
When the financiers are ready, dust the financiers lightly with some icing sugar. Pipe some ganache on to each financier, and serve.