Given the multiple batches of Gingerbread Sablé and Giant Chocolate Chip Sablé I have been baking over the past few months, a recipe which uses at least 2 egg yolks per batch, my freezer has been overflowing with little plastic bags filled with frozen eggwhites. And given that our freezer is no bigger than the ones you find in hotel mini bar fridges, the situation had reached a point where I couldn’t find room for a tub of ice-cream. Something had to go!
Apart from making a pavlova, the quickest way I know how to use up lots of eggwhites is to whip up a batch of friands (such as these Lemon Drizzle Friands or Rhubarb & Vanilla Friands), or their close cousin, the financier.
A financier is baked in a special rectangular mould so that the cakes resemble bars of gold. The moulds are not as deep as those for mini-loaf cakes (they are about 1 cm deep), although you could certainly use the latter and only partially fill the moulds with batter.
In Paris, you will find financiers at almost every bakery and cake shop, and they are commonly sold either plain or chocolate flavoured, although other flavour combinations exist too. What they all have in common is that they are made from ground almonds and flour, and whisked eggwhites are used as the rising agent for these cakes.
Readers from Australia and New Zealand will be more familiar with friands, which are oval-shaped cakes made using the same recipe as for financiers. You can read more about the history of friands in my post for Rhubarb & Vanilla Friands.
Perhaps the advantage of a financier over a friand is that they are much daintier and smaller cakes, making them the perfect small bite alongside a cup of tea.
I recently introduced our children to the joy of Playschool, a popular childrens’ TV programme in Australia. And ever since my son watched a segment where they baked blueberry muffins, he has been asking me everyday if we can bake some blueberry muffins. Thankfully, he was not disappointed to make some blueberry financiers instead, and judging by the number of cakes he had for dessert tonight, it’s fair to say that they got his seal of approval 🙂
- 160 g (5.6 oz) butter
- 100 g (2/3 cup) plain flour
- 250 g (1⅔ cup) icing sugar
- 125 g (1 cup) ground almonds
- 6 eggwhites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- small punnet of blueberries
- icing sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it turns a pale golden colour, but be careful not to let it burn.
- Use some of the butter to lightly grease a financier mould. A mini loaf pan would also work well, or even a normal muffin tin.
- Let the butter cool slightly to use later in the recipe.
- Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl and stir through the ground almonds.
- Place the eggwhites into another large bowl and whisk until they are white and frothy.
- Gently mix the frothy eggwhites into the flour mixture.
- Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, and stir everything together.
- Fill the financier moulds with the batter, but not quite to the very top. If you are using another type cake mould, fill the moulds with about 1 cm of batter.
- Scatter a few blueberries over each cake.
- Bake the cakes in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
- Let the financiers cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve the financiers warm or cold with a dusting of icing sugar.
Eggwhites can be frozen and later thawed for use in cooking and baking. I like to freeze them in pairs in small zip-lock freezer bags, which means they take only 5-10 minutes to thaw in a bowl of water at room temperature.
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