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Jul 31, 2005 03:28 AM

Recipes for special berries, pt. 2

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Here’s the second installation of my berry dessert quest: financier cake with Carb Lover’s vanilla gelato (yeh, I initiated my new machine) and berries. Financier cake is a moist, almondy cake of French origin, named for its rectangular shape which resembles banker’s gold bars. You can make it any shape mold you choose-muffin tin, ramekin, obsttortenform, etc.

FINANCIER CAKES WITH BERRIES & VANILLA GELATO-financier paraphrased from Sherry Yard’s Secrets of Baking-makes 8-10 bars or a 10” round cake

2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter
1 1/4 c almond flour (also can use almond meal)
3/4 c cake flour
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
8 large egg whites, room temp

Grease molds and lightly flour or spray & use parchment paper.

Over moderate heat, melt butter and continue cooking until it reaches a dark golden color, approx. 7-10 minutes. Let cool completely off the stove-don’t put in the fridge as it must remain fluid-approx. 30 minutes.

Preheat oven 350. In the oven, toast 1/2 c +2T of the almond flour/meal in a baking dish for 5-10 min. Then combine toasted & untoasted almond flour, cake flour, powdered sugar. Combine this dry mixture on low for 30 seconds. Then add all egg whites & mix for 3 minutes at med. speed. Next add all melted butter, mix for 3 minutes (butter will sink so scrape bowl thoroughly). (At this point batter can be kept in the fridge up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temp and mix thoroughly before baking). Place batter into prepared molds and bake 15 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 15 minutes until golden, test with a toothpick. Remove from oven, let sit in pan for 5 minutes then flip to cool completely the rest of the way.

Serve when room temp with berries and a scoop of vanilla gelato.


Excerpts from Carb Lover's vanilla gelato post:

I made a vanilla gelato before this one using 2 c. half and half, 2 egg yolks, 3/8 c. sugar, half vanilla bean, vanilla extract

In the past, some recipes I used called for dissolving sugar into the cream while scalding. What I do instead everytime now: cream the sugar w/ egg yolk *very vigorously* in a bowl. I do this for quite a while til the mixture is a pale yellow and the batter forms glossy "ribbons." I use a whisk, but if the mixture is too clumpy at first, I'll start off w/ a wooden spoon then move to whisk. I then temper the mix w/ some scalded dairy. Throw everything into the pot w/ the scalded dairy. Simmer til thickened. Chill overnight. Strain before churning.
Of course, for vanilla bean, you'll want to steep during scalding and also overnight. I added extract to taste before I put in fridge. Oh, and don't forget the salt!


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  1. Petradish, these look awesome, stylish and seasonal and delicious-loooking. I've always meant to try baking financiers... (that would, of course, mean adding to my already overflowing collection of baking molds and cookie cutters, but of course nothing less than the ingot shape would do...)

    But tell us how it all tastes! Are you completely happy with the results? What's your favorite of all three desserts? Would you change anything next time?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Sir Gawain

      Thanks for the kind words. Well, I'm most pleased with the tartlets. They were good three sensation treats-the crumbly texture contrasted nicely with the creaminess and then a burst of sweet-tart from the juicy berries. Overall they tasted complete and balanced. The cream was about the right light consistency-not too thick or rubbery. Next time I'd cut back a touch on the cream's amount of vanilla flavor & sugar. The pastry was swell, I think a good thickness for its supporting role.

      This was my second attempt at a financier. The first was from a translated recipe I found in on the web and it wasn't very successful- too mealy and dry, not enough egg whites to trap the moisture. Sherry Yard's recipe is wonderfully moist like a poundcake and nuanced with the brown butter-I love brown butter in general, but in cakes it really seems to shine.

      I think my mistake with the financier cake combo was pairing its subtle nuttiness with cold gelato. It killed the texture too. A little whipped cream would be a better partner with cake & berries. Or just gelato & berries, maybe with a crisp cookie. (I spotted a cat's tongue cookie pan the other day ($39!)...I've got the bug too & probably need to cut back on the specialty molds!)

      The gelato was gently flavored (not too eggy or sweet, just the right fat content)-clearly the best recipe I've tried-but I goofed & overchurned it at 15 minutes. It tasted a tad too airy and less probably would have been more.

    2. Heart-warming prose and stunning photos, petradish! I think you used your precious stash wisely. I don't know if you have much more to use up, but I'd highly recommend pavlova which is what I made this weekend. Meringues were super easy to make; however, I need a couple more tries to perfect. Used raspberries and peaches; such a great dessert that lets the fresh fruit shine! I made it for friends last night and they loved it. Took a photo but it's kinda dark, so I'm going to take another one in better lighting today and post a report later.

      BTW, what did you think about the gelato? Please be honest. It looked great but hard to tell flavor and texture from a visual. I've been looking at more recipes over the weekend and wonder if I need to be using more sugar for texture. More like 1/4 c. sugar per 1 c. of dairy. I came across a Frozen Desserts book by Bruce ? that was just published this year and had alot of good info and recipes on gelato. It's a follow up book to the one on ice cream. Interestingly, it said that whole milk in Europe has 4+% fat whereas US whole milk is closer to 3%. Most of their recipes compensate for this by using a little cream. Most recipes also used a fair amount of egg yolks.

      BTW, I intently reviewed "Crave" from cover to cover this weekend at my Borders, and it looks fantastic (besides the hunk shots) and inspiring, even if I wouldn't make many recipes. I did copy down the proportions for his yogurt and chestnut gelatos though! :-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        Hey thanks. I've been wanting to tackle pavlova and eagerly await your report for guidance. A few strawberries are still growing (rubs hands together).

        I was VERY pleased with the flavor of your gelato but I screwed up the texture with overzealous churning-it was the machine's fault, I swear. ;-) The density just wasn't there. Ahh, a new wrinkle with Euro/US fat differences. Will check out the book, thanks. LOL on your Crave research.

        1. re: petradish

          Glad you liked the flavor. When I've chilled overnight, it literally just takes 5 min. in the canister for a pint. I stop it when it's all come together and just starts to look grainy. If I wanted to eat right away, then maybe let it go a little longer.

          Another relevant bit from the Frozen Dessert book (linked below) that I found useful was the brief discussion on "overrun." You may already know this, but this term is used to describe the density or how much the custard expands after churning. Cheap commercial ice cream like Lucerne (maybe even Breyers?) has around 100% overrun (bad, bad). This means a pint of custard will result in a quart of ice cream. Premium ice creams IIRC are more like 30%. Super premium is a little less. Gelati is super low, like 3-5% overrun. The book said that sometimes you'll only get 1 more TB post-churning! At first, I missed having more ice cream come out than went in, but having less air really does amp up the flavor! Have fun experimenting w/ your new machine.