Hazelnut Praline Financier

What are they? Presumably, the rich little cake was named for the rich financiers who frequented Lasne’s bakery on the Rue St.-Denis which was near the Bourse, the financial center of Paris. The cake’s rectangular shapes resembling golden bars also kind of supports that theory.

French Fries Photo Fourth of July Facebook Post (8)

The financier is a light and moist almond sponge cake leavened by egg whites only, flavored and sweetened by the distinctive features of beurre noisette (browned butter). The shape may be round in some places, rectangular in others, but the base is rarely anything but almond. It has been that way for more than a century.

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Although I had to go through some serious in depth research in order to find a basic recipe to work from, I did manage to piece together what turned out to be one of those “Perfect from the first try” recipes. In my recipe, I’m switching up the almonds in the traditionally almond teacake to hazelnut and making use of the Praline Paste (If you haven’t made it yet, you should). Outside of that, everything else falls in line with this classic sponge-like cake.

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The recipe is extremely simple, requires nothing but a bowl, a whisk, and some finesse. There are just a few things that are important to keep in mind. The browning of the butter needs to be closely monitored, one second too far means burned butter, one second less means you won’t get that intense nutty flavor. The second point to keep in mind is the batter needs to be stirred as little as possible. It’s true that the egg whites are the leavening agent, but in this recipe, whipping them too far, and stirring the batter to much means the gluten will form and turn the cakes tough.

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Lastly, it is known that this is one of those batters that you will need to chill before using. It gives the flavor a chance to blend in together, and the batter gets firmer, making it easier to pipe/scoop into the molds. But I tried both baking them straight away and baking after chilling, and I honestly couldn’t see a difference. I actually preferred them better without chilling. But feel free to do so!

I use a special Financier pan for the authentic shape that makes me feel like I’m back in a Parisian patisserie. But rest assured, they can also be made in a round shape using shallowly-filled muffin tins.Financiers are the perfect afternoon tea snack, or really…the perfect anytime snack because they’re so good!  I like to eat them on every morning, dunked into a warm Cafe Latte.

2017 Christmas Bakes:

Day 1: Mocha Biscotti
Day 2: Homemade Spiced Chai 
Day 3: Hazelnut Praliné Paste

One Year Ago: Chocolate Salami
Two Years Ago: Fresh Cranberry Jam
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Truffles

Hazelnut Praline Financier 
Makes about 45-50 mini Financiers

Ingredients

  • 140 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 grams Praline Paste (if you don’t have any you can substitute it with chocolate spread or leave it out)
  • 1 cup skin-on hazelnuts
  • 120 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons honey, preferably raw
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 150 grams light brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Prepare your financier mold pan or Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. Toast hazelnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Let cool (do not remove skins). Pulse hazelnuts, flour, and salt in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. Place butter in a small saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not let burn), 5–8 minutes. Discard pod and scrape vanilla butter into a medium bowl. Whisk in honey and praline paste (if using).
  4. Increase oven heat to 200°C. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl just to break up, add brown sugar, and whisk until mixture is smooth.
  5. Fold in dry ingredients in 2 additions, then fold in butter mixture just until smooth.
  6. Here you can choose to bake directly, or chill the dough for a couple of hours.
  7. Scrape batter into pans and bake financiers until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 9-12 minutes for mini loaves, 10–15 for muffins. Let cool 5 minutes in pans, then transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Financiers can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Bon Appetit 🙂

 

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