Tag Archives: raspberry

hidemi sugino’s financiers

S came over early on thanksgiving to “tablescape.” i literally turned around after i saw what he did, and said, omg, who is getting engaged!  i’ll post more S tablescape pictures in a bit, but his floral arrangements and tablescapes were romantic, artistic and stunning.  personally, i think he should start his own tablescaping enterprise.

as the title suggests, this post is really about hidemi sugino’s chocolate financiers.  while in tokyo earlier this fall, i picked up a little cookbook  because the front cover contained a picture of a financier that looked very much like those sublime ones i tasted at Victor & Hugo in paris.  the book itself is titled, Desserts Faciles Au Chocolat par les Plus Grands Pâtissiers, and contains chocolate related recipes written in french from some of the most famous pastry chefs around the world (though weighted towards those in europe).  [note: if sugino’s recipe is any indication, the recipes are not by any means beginner.  you do need an understanding of pastry fundamentals to decipher a lot of the recipes — assuming you can read french.  on the other hand, most french recipes are written assuming the cook knows something about what they’re trying to cook.]

while sugino isn’t the pastry chef at Victor & Hugo (he has his own shop in tokyo where he’s famous for mousse cakes), his recipe for financiers turns out a velvety morsel that is shockingly similar to the Victor & Hugo financier.  S, who had recommended the V&H financier to me initially, took a bite and excitedly agreed that this was in fact the V&H financier.

the rise in sugino’s version is achieved by whipping egg whites into a soft meringue; no baking powder is used.  having looked at several other financier recipes, i think it’s this technique that enables sugino’s financier to achieve that peerless velvety texture.  he doesn’t stop there though.  he goes on to add a rich nutty encore behind the chocolate curtain through the use of browned butter. all this packed into the petite body of a simple financier. so genius!

sugino’s original recipe also calls for morello cherries and raspberry jam.  having run out of steam cooking 16 dishes and 6 desserts, i decided to simplify his financier a bit by baking with fresh raspberries instead.  (And yes, i don’t have a financier pan, so i suppose, technically, i didn’t make financiers, but you get my drift…)

Simplified Sugino Chocolate Financier
(makes about 30 one-inch round financiers or 20 small rectangular financiers; modified and translated from the original recipe publishes in Desserts Faciles Au Chocolat par les Plus Grands Pâtissiers )

Almond Flour 150g
Sugar 150g
Cornstarch 25g
Cocoa Powder 15g
Egg whites 5 egg whites
Honey 30g
Butter 90g
Raspberries 1 pint
  1. Butter the financier molds and place it in the fridge until ready for use.  Pre-heat oven to 320ºF
  2. Sift together the almond flour, sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside
  3. In a small saucepan, brown the butter and then set aside to cool slightly
  4. Add egg whites into the bowl of your standmixer and beat until you reach soft peaks. You can add a bit of cream of tartar as a stabilizer.
  5. Very gently, fold the almond flour mixture (from step 2) and honey into the meringue
  6. Transfer the meringue mixture into the molds.  Place a raspberry in the center of each.  Then bake for 12-15 minutes, remove to cool on rack.
  7. When cool, you can dust with powdered sugar or coat the raspberries with a bit of strawberry jam.




ispahan yogurt cake

i’m a big fan of mixing berries into yogurt cakes, and the other day, i started wondering about why i haven’t seen lychees incorporated into the batter of baked cakes?  that same day, k got back from toulouse with reports of having spotted ispahan flavored tea in the carrefour…and eureka! i decided to make an ispahan yogurt cake.

before starting, i took a look at pierre herme’s website and located his ispahan cake. the description mentions only  raspberry and rose flavors, no lychee — i wonder why?   if you click on his cake photo, a cross section pops up showing six studs of what appear to be raspberry or rose gelee inside, rather than the fruit directly.  dorie greenspan gives a recipe for pierre herme’s ispahan loaf cake in her latest book, around my french table; though her version uses fresh raspberries rather than the gelee.  i must get my hands on a loaf the next time i’m in paris to figure out what’s going on inside.

at any rate, i decided to make my version with lychees and all.  i thought it came out well for an initial trial experiment — fragrant, exotic.   i’m thinking next time, i might do a version in which the cake is raspberry flavored with rose gelee baked inside instead.

and yes, lychees can be incorporated into cake batter.  they bake quite well, remaining rather plump and moist when protected inside layers of cake.

Ispahan Yogurt Cake v. 1.0
(makes 1 nine inch loaf cake)

Dry Ingredients
Flour 270 g (2 cups)
Sugar 180 g (slightly less than 1 cup)
Baking powder 1 ½ tsp
Baking soda ½ tsp
Wet Ingredients
Eggs 2 large ones
Yogurt 250 ml (1 cup)
Canola Oil 80 ml (1/3 cup)
Rose Syrup 2 tbsp; PH recommends the Monin brand, which can be found online or at many coffee supply shops
Rose Essence 1/2 tsp; i purchased mine at Sur La Table
Fresh Raspberries 1/2 cup
Fresh or Canned Lychees 12-15 lychees (about half a can)
  1. Butter and flour a loaf pan.  Set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until evenly combined.
  3. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  4. With the mixer set at the lowest speed (you can mix by hand as well), slowly pour in all the wet ingredients.  Beat together until just combined. Do not overmix or else the cake will become chewy.
  5. Pour 1/3 of the batter into cake pan, layer raspberries and lychees into the batter, keeping them away from the edges.  Pour 1/3 of batter above the fruit, and lay down another layer of fruit into the batter.  Finally pour the remaining batter on top to cover all the fruit.
  6. Bake at 350º F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Let cool for 10 – 20 minutes before taking the cake out of the pan (you’ll get a fantastic whiff of rose scent when the cake pops out of the pan!)

mixed fruit tart


sometimes when i’ve got some extra tart dough lying around that i want to use up, i whip up a fruit tart.  it’s really quite easy to do and a great way to display the jewels of mother nature’s creation.  first, i bake the tart shell (using any type of pastry) until it is fully cooked and i let it cool.  then, i whip up some creme legere (which is about 2/3 pastry cream and 1/3 whipped cream).  i spread a layer of creme layer on the bottom of the shell, and then arrange fruit to completely cover the top of the shell.  when using fruit that oxidizes (aka apples), i rub lemon on the fruit to prevent discoloration. And that’s all there is to it in a tart shell!