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 )
|Egg whites||5 egg whites|
- Butter the financier molds and place it in the fridge until ready for use. Pre-heat oven to 320ºF
- Sift together the almond flour, sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside
- In a small saucepan, brown the butter and then set aside to cool slightly
- 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.
- Very gently, fold the almond flour mixture (from step 2) and honey into the meringue
- 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.
- When cool, you can dust with powdered sugar or coat the raspberries with a bit of strawberry jam.