This week sees my little boy go on his first residential course with school. He's eight and so, so excited. Midnight feasts, fun activities, outdoor pursuits, sleepovers, disco dancing. He can't wait; I just know I'm going to be in pieces! So I'm over-compensating and spoiling my boys with some yummy goodies for the next few days. Cue these delicious Chocolate Financiers.
I love patisserie. It makes me think of Paris and the counters of stunning old-fashioned patisseries over-brimming with pastries, tarts, custard, cream, fruit. So many amazing delicacies to sample but the word patisserie when it comes to home-baking can be quite scary. You imagine huge complicated recipes with lots of stages and the truth is that it can be like that. But there are other more simple bakes that are much more manageable and don't need huge reams of fancy equipment or two days to prepare. The most important thing you need to do is follow the ratios of the ingredients and measure them accurately. If you do that, you too can create their delicious delicacies.
These Chocolate Financiers are incredible. Traditionally they would be little rectangles (like little loafs) but I don't have that tin and am already packed to the rafters with baking equipment and different types of tins. So I used my Friand tin where the shapes are little ovals - but you could also make these in cupcake tins or whatever you have to hand. Just be sure to adjust the baking times accordingly if your individual Financiers are a lot larger or smaller than mine.
I wanted to make chocolate financiers since my boys love chocolate and this is a special treat for them, after all. I would usually have put pistachios into the cake batter but my boys aren't fond of nuts in the cake itself so I held back and sprinkled them over the top and this way they can removed later! What I did do, was add a few chocolate chips onto the top of the batter before popping them in the oven and they melted deliciously.
So the first thing we do is preheat the oven and grease the cavities of your chosen tin well. Then melt the butter and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Keep the butter over a medium heat until it turns brown (around 5 minutes), being careful not to let it burn. This makes a buerre noisette and when making blonde financiers (ie not chocolate ones) this gives them their golden colour. Once brown, the chocolate is added and stirred together until melted. Then set aside to cool a little.
The next stage is to whisk the egg whites and icing sugar together until soft peaks form. This takes around 5 minutes. Sift the flour and ground almonds over the top of the egg and sugar mixture and then fold them in with a metal spoon. When they're fully mixed, pour the chocolate into the bowl down one of inside edges (this is so that you don't drop the chocolate straight on top of your mixture when you've taken time to fold it and keep lots of air in). Fold the chocolate into the mixture, making sure that you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl well as the chocolate will all sink to the bottom and you want it folded throughout. The worst thing is when you come to put your mixture into the tin and find a layer of chocolate at the bottom that hasn't been mixed through properly.
When the mixture is fully incorporated, take a small spoon or ice cream scoop and put one spoonful into each cavity of your baking tin. Each one should be around half-full. Then pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Mine took 18 minutes but you can check that they're ready by inserting a wooden skewer into the middle of each one and it should come out clean. When they're baked, leave them in their tins for around 10 mins. Then check that they are loosened from the tin with a flat knife and use this to help lever them out, but they should come out very easily.
These would be stunning served with raspberries, pistachios, extra chocolate sauce :) As I mentioned earlier, I sprinkled chopped pistachios over the top to give a little extra crunch and then dusted them with icing sugar.
Chocolate Financiers are seriously delicious. Lovely and light, they would be perfect for afternoon tea or a coffee morning. Even a little after dinner treat if you're hosting a dinner party.
I can't wait to share them with my boys when they get home from school today :)
Makes 12 financiers
- 150G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 100G CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED INTO PIECES
- 200G EGG WHITES (5 eggs)
- 175G ICING SUGAR
- 50G PLAIN FLOUR
- 85G GROUND ALMONDS
- OPTIONAL: CHOPPED PISTACHIOS AND/OR CHOCOLATE CHIPS
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Grease the cavities of your chosen tin well
- In a medium saucepan and over a medium heat, melt the butter and vanilla extract together until fully melted
- Continue to heat the butter until it turns a golden brown colour (around 5 minutes)
- Add the chocolate and stir until melted
- Set aside to cool a little
- In a freestanding mixer, whisk the egg whites and icing sugar together until soft peaks form (around 5 minutes on a medium speed)
- Sift the flour and icing sugar over the top of the mixture and then fold in using a metal spoon
- Add your chocolate butter mixture by pouring it down the inside side of the bowl rather than straight on top of your mixture
- Fold the chocolate in, ensuring that you scrape down the sides and bottoms and thoroughly mix the chocolate in
- Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, fill each cavity of your baking tin around half full
- Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the financiers comes out clean
- Remove from the oven and leave them in their tin for around 10 mins to cool a little
- Gently using a flat knife, loosen them from the sides of the tin and remove each one
- If you would like to add the pistachios, chop a handful of them and sprinkle them on the top
- Finally, dust them with a light sprinkling of icing sugar
- And enjoy :)