Lately I’ve been a very unpleasant person to talk to. I always want to discuss my essay with someone and then end up wailing about how inane my arguments are and vehemently disagreeing with any suggestions they offer (I think it’s exhausting for the both of us). Anyways, this is going to sound terribly melodramatic, but sometimes I feel so tired. And then once I start baking something, thinking of how to flavour it, whisking and folding, I feel so much more awake. But then this is also why my essay at the moment is nothing but a string of disconnected paragraphs that I’ve only spent half an hour actually writing and 30 full hours agonizing—really, I don’t know what I’m going to do.
Other than make some more financiers that is.Speaking of which, some people who are in fact very pleasant: the Novice Gardener and lovely cohosts are putting on Fiesta Friday. It was a lot of fun last week too, so I’m excited to be part again! (Also, I think this helps me stay on track with posting…maybe no more six-month vacations from blogging!)
The financiers themselves were amazing (it smelled a bit like buttered popcorn and caramel and shortbread when they came out).
I think the pear slices simply covered too much surface area, so by the time the batter under the pear cooked (and actually, it was still underbaked when I brought it out), the very bottom of the financier was overcooked. It was not, however, nearly as dried as I thought it was despite cooking the financier for around twice as long. Most of the batter was prevented from overcooking and drying out–I suppose this was also a product of the large surface area covered by the pear. Besides, the smell of the baking pear was wonderful, so I’m not altogether displeased.
One last thought: I incorporated too much air into my batter so the surface was not great as you can tell. However, compared to other times, I think I ended up with a lacier crust that was very nice, so I was rather glad.
Pear, chamomile and nutmeg financiers
Adapted from my ever-favourite, Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastein Rouxel. Makes 12 in a financier mold; I made 5 that were a tad too full in 4-cm diameter tart pans.
100 g butter, plus extra for the pans
120 g sugar
40 g flour
60 g ground almond
4 g chamomile tea, ground finer if necessary
¼ tsp, generous, ground nutmeg
100 g egg whites (approximately 3 large egg whites)
½ pear, cored and sliced thinly
Preheat the oven to 425F
Brush the pans or molds with softened butter and chill until firm.
Place the 100 g of butter in a small pan over medium low heat and proceed to brown it.
While the butter is browning, whisk together the sugar, flour, ground almond, nutmeg and chamomile. Then go back the butter and stir it until it’s fully browned; set aside.
Form a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the egg whites. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients and beat well.
Beat in the browned butter in two additions; it should still be hot in order for the batter to emulsify properly.
Fill molds/pans with the batter. Top with a few slices of pear.
Place the pans in the oven, turn the temperature down to 350F and bake for 20 minutes (financier molds), 20-25 minutes (tart pans), or 35 minutes (tart pans with pear), or until well browned and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Unmold and let cool on a wire rack.