You will love these buttery little teacakes made with ground almonds!
Prep Time: 15minutes
Cook Time: 35minutes
Servings: 24mini cakes, or one 9" round cake.
2sticks unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon softened butter for greasing the molds(8 ounces)
1vanilla bean, split and scraped
1cupunblanched whole almonds, lightly toasted and cooled(5 oz.)
1/2cupplus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the molds
7egg whites (8 ounces by weight)
chunks of fresh or frozen figs
coarse sugar crystals
sliced candied sugar
sliced peaches, plums or apricots
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375º (or 350º for one large cake).
Use a pastry brush to coat the molds with softened butter. Dust evenly with flour, and tap out the excess.
Combine the 2 sticks of butter and vanilla bean pod and scrapings in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until the butter browns and smells nutty, 5 - 10 minutes. The butter will foam up, and the milk solids on the bottom of the pan should be a rich brown color, not black. The rest of the butter will remain golden-amber. Watch it carefully, as it can go from brown to burnt in little time. Remove from the heat and let cool sightly.
Meanwhile, finely grind the almonds with the flour and salt in a food processor (or a coffee grinder in batches).
In a heatproof metal bowl, combine the egg whites and sugars. Place over a low flame (or a pot of simmering water) and whisk until the whites are warm to the touch and the sugars are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the almond mixture. Place the bowl on a damp towel to secure, and gradually whisk in the warm butter, 1/4 cup at a time, so that the mixture emulsifies. The batter can be baked directly, or stored in the fridge for several days.
Fill the molds two-thirds full. Bake the for about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes, and top with the desired toppings (otherwise, the goodies will sink to the bottom). Continue baking, rotating occasionally, until golden brown on top, an additional 15 minutes or so.
Let cool slightly, then remove from the molds. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dusting of powdered sugar. The financiers are best the day they are made, but you'll hear no complaints several days later if stored in an airtight container.
Adapted slightly from The Sweet Life, by Kate Zuckerman.You can make these with pre-ground blanched almond flour, but they are even tastier with unblanched whole almonds, toasted lightly, cooled, and ground. The almond skins give the cakes a darker color and a hint of bitterness that enhances the sweet cake. (If using almond flour, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons should weigh 5 ounces). If you make custards or ice cream and end up with extra whites, you can freeze them for several months.If you're looking for a way to use up your yolks, try the horchata ice cream or the creme caramel, with or without candy caps. Small cakes make nice finger-food; slices from a large cake make an elegant dessert with a fruit compote and dollops of softly whipped cream or crème fraîche.Nutritional values are based on one of twenty four mini cakes.