It is rare that I bake the same thing more than once. Only recipes that yield spectacular result and those that I personally crave receive repeated appearances in my kitchen. My favourite financier recipe occupies such an esteemed place in my repertoire. For those unfamiliar with this French pastry, I like to describe it as a tea cake. It is a cross between cake and cookie. There is no leavening agent, just a cooked batter of beurre noisette (browned butter), egg white, ground almond, sugar, and flour. It is often made into small bite-size servings as a dainty accompaniment to tea or coffee. Such simplicity yet so much room for creativity! I played around with this master recipe in many different ways. This week, I found a new variation that I simply cannot get enough of.
Last weekend I enjoyed great success with my Black Sesame Yuzu Pear Tart. The rich nutty taste of black sesame contrasts so beautifully with yuzu poached pears. However, making a tart can be a little involved and I wanted an easier way to experience this winning combination. Entered my Black Sesame Financier with Yuzu Poached Pear.
I usually buy Taiwanese ground black sesame at Asian grocers. Some may argue that like most ground nuts, ground sesame seeds go rancid quickly so it is best to ground them in a coffee grinder just before use. I think it is best to use your own judgement. The stores I visit generally has fast turnover since it is a popular item among the shoppers. The packages are vacuum-sealed with clearly stated manufacturing and expiry date. The convenience cannot be beat.
The batter came together quickly even though I made a double batch. You see, financier uses ridiculous amount of egg whites and my batch decimated one whole dozen of leftover egg whites in my fridge. Clearly I am not a fan of meringue. Coincidentally, I made extra poached pears for my tart last weekend. Why? Same amount of work and energy so may as well make more than I need. I nudged thin slivers of poached pear into the batter just before baking. Even without any leavening agents, the batter puffed up around the pear slice and embraced it tightly. My financiers looked like a tray of cat’s eyes staring back at me.
The cookie/tea cake tasted exactly as I hoped. The thin crispy crust surrounded moist interior that begged to be devoured one after another. The best part is that I can bake as many as I like when the craving strikes! This batter keeps well in the fridge and actually benefits from a bit of aging. Definitely an infinitely easier way to enjoy black sesame/yuzu/pear than a fancy schmancy tart.
If you need another reason to give this recipe a try, may I suggest that you package the financiers up nice and pretty to share with someone special? The black colour looked striking against turquoise or green so that was the colour scheme I went with. For a fancier take, put them flat in a candy-box and tie with matching pink ribbon. Or you can go with something more casual such as a patterned paper gift bag. Just remember to wrap the financiers in a layer of parchment paper first to prevent grease showing through. Presents, they make me so happy!