Financiers are tea cakes made with brown butter (beurre noisette), sugar, nuts, and egg whites. They have a wonderful bouncy, springy texture - no pun intended! If you've never made brown butter, I urge you to try. It imparts a very unique flavor that is rich and nutty - essential to the taste of the traditional financier. If you're not convinced (or just don't want to deal with making it), then you can substitute melted butter. I say that while making a funny face, crunching up my nose and squinting one eye. But I won't judge. Promise.
I infused the butter with lavender and the result was a very subtle essence. Not overpowering...just right. Raspberries are the more common choice, but I had strawberries in the fridge and thought they might be a better match for the lavender. If you want to experiment with another nut, I'll bet hazelnuts would be delicious.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (or 1/3 cup melted butter if you're not making the beurre noisette)
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 egg whites
a dash of salt
2 strawberries, very thinly sliced
To make the beurre noisette, melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat down to low, and continue to cook. All the solids will separate from the liquid. Cook until the butter has reached a deep golden brown color. Remove from the heat and add the lavender. Allow the butter to infuse for 5-7 minutes, and strain. Once strained, you should have about 1/3 cup of the liquid left. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 and position a rack in the center. Lightly grease the inside of 12 small muffin tins.
In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, sugar, flour, salt and egg whites. Mix on low speed until the ingredients have combined. Then add the brown butter and beat on medium speed until the batter is smooth.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. The tops will be soft and sponge-like. Let cool on a wire rack before enjoying.
Makes 12 financiers.