These wild blueberry financiers are a delicate, light, and surprisingly easy to make French cake infused with the rich, nutty taste of brown butter.
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Ah, wild blueberries. They’re simply not the same as the regular, dare I say, ordinary blueberries, aren’t they? Tiny but twice as tasty, wild blueberries are said to contain twice the antioxidants as regular blueberries, as well as the highest antioxidant capacity per serving, compared to over 20 other fruits. Yes, they’re a healthy choice, but they’re so delicious, too: while they’re in season, we sprinkle them everywhere: on yogurt, in cereal, in oatmeal, on crêpes, over ice cream, as well as in muffins, sweet breads, cakes, and—ahem—even cocktails. To me, the ultimate indulgence is to make a wild blueberry pie, especially when you picked the fruit yourself: you can just taste that you’re enjoying an extraordinary treat.
This year, I decided to make something new with my yearly crop. Financiers are a light, delicate French cake, so I thought the treat would be the perfect vehicle to showcase the intense taste of wild blueberries. As elegant as they look, blueberry financiers are actually super easy and quick to make, so you could easily bake a batch to serve to last-minute guests (they’re so good fresh out of the oven!). In this variation, I used hazelnuts in the batter because the nut perfectly underlines the nutty flavor of brown butter. You could very well make these blueberry financiers without browning the butter (just melting it) and using ground almonds, instead. Oh, and you could use any other fresh fruit to top the cakes—even regular blueberries—but if you can get your hands on a basket of the wild variety, please indulge. Finally, make sure you freeze the rest of the fruit, so you can indulge all winter long, too.
These wild blueberry financiers are a delicate, light, and surprisingly easy to make French cake infused with the rich, nutty taste of hazelnuts and brown butter.
Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com
1/2cup125 ml butter
1cup250 ml hazelnuts, lightly toasted and peeled (see note)
1/2cup125 ml all-purpose flour
1/2cup125 ml sugar
1/2cup125 ml brown sugar, packed
1/2tsp2 ml baking powder
4egg whitesfrom large eggs
1cup250 ml wild blueberries, washed and patted dry (or frozen wild blueberries, unthawed)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease muffin pans(see notes) with cooking spray or softened butter, then sprinkle with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.
To make the brown butter: Heat the butter in a small stainless steel saucepan (see notes) over medium heat until completely melted and simmering. Keep on cooking over low heat, swirling the pot from time to time. If the butter bubbles up preventing you from watching closely over the color changing (that’s the water evaporating), lift the pot off the heat for a few seconds until the bubbles recede, then put back on the heat. The butter is ready when the milk solids at the bottom of the pot turn a light brown color and the concoction gives off a delicious hazelnut aroma. When it does, remove the butter from the heat, pour in a small bowl, and let cool completely.
Put the hazelnuts and flour in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse powder. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar, and baking powder, and whisk together. Add the four egg whites and whisk until they are fully incorporated and the mixture is thick and somewhat sticky. Mix in the brown butter. At this point, the dough can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
When ready to bake the financiers, drop a tablespoonful of dough in each muffin cup. Sprinkle each financier with a generous teaspoonful of wild blueberries. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the financiers are golden brown on the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. The financiers can also be frozen, they will thaw in 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature. Always bring the financiers back to room temperature before eating for the best flavor.
This recipe uses regular muffin pans because they can commonly be found in most kitchens. You can also use mini-muffin pans, or specialty financier molds, but make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly.
If you have only one muffin pan, you can bake the financiers in batches. The financier batter can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. If the batter is cold from the fridge before baking, you will need to add 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
It’s preferable to use a stainless steel saucepan to brown the butter because the change in color is over obvious over the pale metal. If using a non-stick pan, you can use a spoon to scoop up some butter throughout the cooking process (just make sure to dip the spoon all the way down to the bottom of the pan to get some of the milk solids).
To toast and peel hazelnuts: Place the hazelnuts in a baking tray and bake at 350°F (170°C) for 15 minutes, giving the tray a good shake every five minutes. When the hazelnuts’ skin is shiny and crackled, remove from the oven and transfer to a clean dish towel. Close the towel up into a bundle and rub the hazelnuts against one another vigorously to remove the skin. Open the towel and pick up the peeled hazelnuts. Some bits of skin will remain but that’s ok! Keep the peeled hazelnuts in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
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