What are financiers?
They’re little French cakes. Some people refer to them as cookies, even pastries, but the reality is they’re just little tiny almond cakes, frequently served with small scoops of ice cream and/or fruit. They can be round, oval-shaped or square, but the traditional shape is rectangular sort of like a gold bar. And indeed, some people theorize that it’s the gold bar shape that earned them the name financier.
Like madeleines, they’re a basic of the pastry world, and as such they don’t generate much excitement in some circles. However like simple madeleines they are considered the measure of baker. Thus it’s not unusual for pastry chefs on the Continent to spend years perfecting them. I plan on a few days myself, but does that necessarily make me a shallow person? Yes…yes it does.
9 thoughts on “What are financiers?”
Hmmmm. I once asked a French woman about the name. She thought it came from the fact that they were so “rich” with butter and almond flour. That made sense to me since the Sherry Yard recipes I’ve used are baked into full-sized cakes.
Interesting. I wonder if the French use that idiom the same way? It’s a good explanation!
She is utterly fluent in English — has been since she was a small child — and perhaps that colors her interpretation.
I had never had a financier until I did the group bake-and-blog-through of Rose’s Heavenly Cakes (Rose Beranbaum, of course–here’s my summary page). I think there were 4 financier recipes in there, plus at least one more “financier-style” cakelet.
I really liked the style of these cakes, but got tripped up several times by the recipe instructions. I’m looking forward to your version of ’em!
We’ll see what happens, Nancy! I trust all will go well with these…but you never know! 😉
Talk more about the molds to use for financiers. I discovered there is a speciality pan for them, but not everyone is going to run out and get one to make an occasional batch. Will the cooking time vary with the size of the tart mold(s) used? Should tart molds be placed on a baking sheet and will that affect the baking times or temps?
These cakes come in so many shapes and sizes it’s pretty much up to every baker to eyeball them as they go…and gauge the recipe to their own molds. Little tart molds are great, even a muffin tin will work, you’ll have to just be alert and see what works best for your pan!
Many thanks for your answer the other day. Very glad you’re doing the financiers!