Saturday, October 24, 2009

What makes a place home

champagne grapes financiers

Personally, I associate home with the scents of warm food and baked goods. Home is a secure, comfortable and inviting space with food on the table. For me, the aroma that lingers in the air when something is baking is hard to beat. Perhaps that is what draws me to choose baking as a profession.

Sadly, when I reached our home in Atlanta last month, the first thing I noticed, was the lack of said aroma. I was determined to remedy the situation as soon as I put down my luggage. Upon a quick inspection of our pantry and fridge, it occured to me that my options were limited.

Judging from the recipes on my blog, one can probably tell that I am never one who sets ambitious goals in home baking, so something simple and fast is just fine. And what could be easier than financiers?

All I did was brown the butter, combined the dry ingredients with the eggwhites. The batter rested in the cooler overnight, while I catched up on my sleep!

champagne grapes financiers

After a quick trip to the Farmer's Market the following day, I returned with armful of fruits and vegetables. I was ready to perfume our apartment with the aroma of home cooking. I know only by then, I would feel like I am finally home.

For the financiers, I topped them with figs, blackberries and some beautiful champagne grapes that my good friend Grace introduced me on my last trip home. Ever since then, I can't stop munching these beautiful morsels. Too bad that the champagne grapes season is fleeting. However, given the versatility of the financier batter, you can use any toppings.

champagne grapes

I was short on eggwhites, so I replaced some of it with fig puree. You can safely replace 1/4 of the eggwhite with apple puree/sauce too, if you happen to have some handy.Do you know that apple puree is great at retaining moisture? Just thought you might want to know one of those things I learned from pastry school. ;)

adapted from Dorie Greenspan's blog.

Makes 24 mini muffins size cookies

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces; 180 grams) unsalted butter
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 cup (100 grams) ground almonds
6 large egg whites (I substituted 60g of fig puree for 2 eggwhites)
2/3 cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour

Make the brown butter- Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to the boil over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally, so that it doesn't burn at the bottom. Allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a deep brown. Pull the pan from the heat and keep it in a warm place.

Combine the sugar and almonds together in a medium saucepan. Stir in the egg whites, place the pan over low heat, while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, heat the mixture until it is runny, slightly white and hot to the touch, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flour, then gradually mix in the melted butter. Make sure that everything is well incorporated. Transfer the batter to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the surface of the batter to create an airtight seal, and chill for at least 1 hour. (The batter can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter and flour the mini muffins pan.

Fill each mold almost to the top with batter and add in your choice of toppings. Slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 13 minutes, or until the financiers are golden, crowned and springy to the touch.

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