Somethings you leave to chance and some things you need to be on top of. I unabashedly stalked the concierge at our hotel in Porto for a full thirty-six hours. I wasn't pestering them for dinner reservations at a chic new restaurant or an extra fluffy pillow, I wanted the recipe for the financiers that they serve downstairs at breakfast. They were the best financiers I had ever eaten. Better than the ones in Paris, and definitely better than the ones inspired by our trip to Paris. There were two flavors, plain with berries and chocolate. Zach and I each ate about three at breakfast and then, without any concern for the other hotel guests desire to eat financiers, I packed a cloth napkin with about eight more for our road trip through the Douro region.
Just as we were checking out, I asked one last time if there was anyway I could get the recipe and while we were sitting there, bags already in the car, the receptionist called down to the kitchen and miraculously got the recipe for me. The quantities were hotel-breakfast worthy and it was in Portuguese, but I didn't care, I had the recipe.
These financiers follow the path of many other financier recipes, mixing egg whites into a dry mix of powdered sugar, almond flour and flour and then gently stirring in melted butter. There are a couple tweaks and turns, subtle ones, that I think make these financiers special. You'd never know when eating them, but there is Crème de Casis in the batter, as well as honey and vanilla extract, all of which are mixed and then added just before the butter is stirred in. These extra liquids, aromatic and sweet, help create a uniquely smooth and dense muffin interior. This soft interior, delicious on it's own is made even more delicious when paired with the slightly crispy, buttery, caramelized exterior.
While the receptionist had the kitchen on the line I should have asked what they do with their egg yolks. Financiers only call for egg whites, leaving a bowl full of egg yolks to linger longingly on your counter while you peruse cookbooks and the internet for egg-yolk-only recipes. I was hoping to use them for an equally yummy baked good, but I never found a recipe, and instead used a couple of them later that night for carbonara. What do you do with your egg yolks? Any favorite recipes you'd be willing to share with me?
The tiled buildings in Porto were a complete surprise to us. I guess I was expecting Porto to look like towns in Italy or France, but it really had it's own feel. It reminded us a little bit of Istanbul, an aesthetically pleasing state of decay.
My version is pretty darn good, but admittedly not quiiiite as good as the hotel version. The pieces are all there, but they've just had the time to perfect every little detail. I had to quarter the recipe quantities to end up with a more manageable batter and a reasonable number of mini muffins for a family of two.
// The Yeatman Hotel Financiers //
* The fruit: I first tried adding it right after I spooned the batter into the muffin tins, but that method prevented the tops from rising and left me with flat sad muffins that I couldn't even get out of the pan. I tested two other methods, both of which work; 1) after the muffins have baked for a about 8-10 minutes and have begun to rise, add one little blueberry of strawberry piece to the top, 2) and probably the better option, but the tops don't rise quite as much , is to spoon half of the batter into the tin and then add a few pieces of fruit, and then finish filling the muffin tin. (seen in the picture above).
** To help the exterior of the muffin get extra crispy it is good to let them cool in the pan for about 3-5 minutes, and then tip them out, and let them finish cooling, angled in the tin (see picture above)
*** Don't store these in an airtight container, they just get soggy. I just left them out and we ate them over three days and I thought they actually got better each day.
**** The ingredients are listed in grams because that is what the hotel gave me. I haven't had time to measure for oz/cups yet, but hopefully you have a digital scale and can just move between units.
makes about 30 financiers
80 g finely ground almonds, or almond flour
83 g all purpose flour
218 g powdered sugar, sifted
3 g baking powder
200 g (about 5 ) egg whites
20 g thick honey
1 tablespoon Crème de Casis
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
115 g (1 stick) butter, melted.
a small handful of mixed berries, chopped
2 teaspoons Crème de Casis
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF and butter and flour two muffin tins
Mix the dry ingredients (almond flour, flour, powdered sugar, baking powder) in a large bowl. Stir in the egg whites until fully incorporated.
In a small bowl mix the Crème de Casis, honey and vanilla in a small bowl and then gently stir into the flour - egg white mixture.
Gently stir in the melted butter, careful not to over mix. The batter will be quiet liquidy but that's okay.
If using berries mix them with the Casis. Follow either method for adding fruit (see first note above)
Bake for 15-17 minutes until the muffins are browned around the edges, and light brown on top. Let them cool for a couple minutes and then tip them in their tin and let them cool half in- half out of the pan. This helps them get crispy around the edges.
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. I am actually typing this from my parents kitchen! I flew home on Wednesday and today I'm heading up to New Haven to celebrate Crem and Jeremy, who are getting married tomorrow!!!! There will be lots of smiling and a heck of a lot of squeezing and oh, SO much dancing. Let the fun begin.