If you have some leftover egg whites but don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen, then these hazelnut raspberry financiers are for you! And the best part, you don’t even have to whip the egg whites! You just add them to the mix and you’re done!
What Are Hazelnut Raspberry Financiers?
Financiers are small French tea cakes that are incredibly moist and have a crisp, caramelized exterior.
It seems this cake was made popular by a pastry chef in the financial district of Paris. The cake appealed to the crowds working there as it was easy to eat in a rush, or store, without making a mess.
Financiers are traditionally baked in rectangular molds, resembling gold bars. But you can really use any small mold you want and adjust the baking time.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- These small raspberry financier cakes are incredibly easy to prepare.
- You can use leftover egg whites without going through the hassle of whipping them.
- The financier cakes have an incredible flavor and texture.
- You can use the financier recipe as your starting guide and customize as you see fit.
The most characteristic ingredients of financiers are the beurre noisette (brown butter) and nut flour, usually almond.
Depending on your preferences and what you have in your kitchen, you can easily substitute one type of nut for another in equal amounts. You could add the nuts raw but for even more flavor, it is recommended to toast the nuts in the oven first and then coarsely grind them. It’s best to keep some texture so the nuts shouldn’t be completely reduced to powder.
Other ingredients in a financier include flour, powdered sugar (icing sugar) and egg whites. To make raspberry financiers, you’ll also need raspberries (fresh or frozen).
What Is Beurre Noisette (brown butter)?
Butter is composed of about 80% fat, 15% water and 5% milk solids. Milk solids are made up of proteins, lactose and minerals. To make beurre noisette, the butter is heated to about 120°C/250°F until the water has evaporated and the proteins and lactose brown. The resulting golden brown butter adds a wonderful nutty flavor to baked goods.
Tips for making beurre noisette: 1) Cut the butter in small pieces so that it melts evenly. 2) Use a light colored pan if possible, to easily spot any color changes. 3) Stir regularly, to prevent the milk solids from burning. 4) Once the butter is ready, transfer it immediately to another container to stop the cooking process.
The different stages of browning butter
- The butter will melt: At around 32-35°C (90-95°F), the butter will melt and become liquid.
- The water will evaporate: When the temperature reaches 100°C (212°F), the water in the butter will start to evaporate. The butter will foam and sizzle. If you skim and strain the milk solids at this point, before the browning begins, you get clarified butter.
- The butter will brown: At 120°C /250°F, the water has evaporated and the butter will turn brown. You’ll notice that the butter isn’t sizzling anymore. Time to take the butter off the heat. If you keep heating it, you’ll end up with black butter, or beurre noir.
Use your senses to determine when the beurre noisette is ready: 1) Sound: Listen carefully to the sound it makes. You’ll know it’s almost ready when it suddenly becomes quiet and stops sizzling! 2) Vision: The butter will have a golden brown color. 3) Smell: Your kitchen will be filled with a wonderful nutty aroma.
If you like learning through videos, I found this video on how to make beurre noisette helpful.
There is conflicting information on whether or not you should strain the butter before using it. My instinct was to use everything without straining. Chef Philippe Conticini, who I adapted this recipe from, is adamant that all the flavor lies in those browned bits. So no need to strain!
Once you’ve made the brown butter, set it aside so it cools down while you prepare the batter.
Making Hazelnut Financiers, Step-by-Step
- Coarsely grind the toasted hazelnuts. The hazelnuts will add a wonderful texture to the cakes so it’s best not to use finely ground hazelnut flour.
Watch out for hazelnut shells! Some brands don’t get rid of them properly and you’ll end up cracking your teeth whilst trying to enjoy your dessert!
- Combine the ingredients: Sift together the flour, sugar and salt into a medium sized bowl.
- Whisk in the ground hazelnuts.
- Add the egg whites (one at a time) and vanilla extract. Combine until there are no lumps left in the batter.
- Whisk in the beurre noisette (brown butter).
You should cool the butter to about 40-45°C (104-113°F) before adding it to the egg whites so you don’t end up cooking them.
- Transfer the batter to a measuring cup or piping bag if you’d like, to make it easier to pour the batter. Fill the greased molds (small) of your choice. You can use a cupcake pan, a mini bundt cake pan or any small mold that you have.
Since this cake is part of the summer desserts calendar, I thought we’d add some raspberries! Let me share with you three options I tested out:
- Adding a fresh raspberry on the financier.
- Serving the financier with raspberry sauce.
- Adding frozen raspberries to the batter.
Adding fresh raspberries
This is the simplest option. The only thing to watch out for is that the raspberry will sink to the bottom if you add it too early. In the second picture below, I added the raspberry 5 minutes after baking and it immediately started sinking. I scooped up the raspberry and baked the financiers for 5 more minutes then added the raspberries again (pictured right). The raspberry stayed put! Success!
Bake the financier batter for 10 minutes before adding the raspberry, to prevent it from sinking. Continue baking for 5 more minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Making raspberry sauce
If you are a raspberry fan, this is the way to go. You’ll get extra raspberry flavor and you can use the sauce to decorate your financiers.
- Thaw the raspberries in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours. If you don’t like the seeds, you can place the raspberries on a fine mesh sieve so that the juice drains into the bowl. Once the raspberries are thawed, use a spoon to press out the remaining juice out of the raspberries.
- Add the sugar and lemon juice and mix. Since the quantity is too small for a mixer, I use an immersion blender to get a smooth sauce. This won’t be necessary however if you removed the seeds and already pressed the raspberries. Just mix with a spoon.
Adding frozen raspberries to the batter
Adding the raspberries to the batter will add color and a fruity flavor to the financiers. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use frozen raspberries that haven’t been thawed and fold them in very gently, or else the raspberry juice will stain the batter. I initially added them to the batter when it was in the small measuring cup. But I ended up squishing the raspberries against the sides of the cup.
- The raspberries might be too big for small cakes. I used two brands of frozen raspberries. The raspberries from the first brand were small and I was able to fold them in very easily. The raspberries from the second brand were too big so I ended up breaking them up but then the juice leaked into the batter.
- You might have trouble unmolding the financier from a mini bundt cake mold if a raspberry ended up on the edges of the mold. This is especially true if you are using a silicone mold like I was. I think it will be easier to unmold them if you used a greased pan and you just have to invert the cake. Peeling the cupcake liner was also easy although I did end up with a small hole on one side from the raspberry!
And that’s it! These hazelnut raspberry financiers are really delicious and they are so easy to make! And you can really play around with the recipe. Try different types of nuts. Add different fruity flavors in the form of zest, fresh fruits, or add some chocolate ganache. You can also top the financiers with whipped cream or even ice-cream! I can’t wait to see what you make!
You Might Also Like
Figoni, P. (2011). How Baking Works (3rd ed.). Wiley.
Gisslen, W. (2005). Professional Baking (4th ed.). Wiley.
McGee, H. (2004). On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Scribner.