A little slice of pinstriped luxury from the less than formal Hebridean islands.
The financier cake is said to derive its name from its popularity in the Paris Stock Exchange district in the C19 as it could easily be kept in a pocket during work without damage.
Others say its because the rectangular shape resembes a bar of gold and, whichever story is true, this light and moist cake is as rich as the name suggests and, like a financier on his way to work, I pocket one before the day ahead.
As with financiers among workers of the exchange, these Dutch Oven baked equivalents are pocket sized gold bars of sweet energy bullion — they stack in tupperware, store below deck in a kayak and and, due to their modular shape, waste no space in a mountain rucksack. One might not say the same of a Madeleine for example.
With the cake’s defining ingredients being almond flour, pistachios and brown butter lightened with whipped egg whites — one might ask from where does the recipe owe its Hebridean provenance?
The delicate layer of rich-emerald coloured sea-lettuce specs hint at the cake’s shoreline credentials and gives the cake its unique look and healthy mineral content.
Build a fire to create a good quantity of embers. This process will require a good wood fuel supply and a minimum of an hour and a half. This being the time required for the creation of a settled cake mix and baking time for the golden cake bullion.
– 1⁄2 cup flour, plus more for pans
– 1⁄2 cup finely ground pistachios
– 1⁄2 cup finely chopped pistachios
– 2 tbsp. finely ground almonds
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, more for pans
– 1⁄2 cup sugar
– 1⁄2 cup light brown sugar
– 4 egg whites
– 1 tsp. Dry flaked sea lettuce / dulce
– 1⁄2 tsp. salt
– Grease and flour financier moulds
– Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, without stirring, until butter begins to brown, about 5 mins (making beurre noisette or hazelnut butter*). Pour through a fine strainer; cool
– Whisk sugars, salt and egg whites in a bowl until smooth
– Add flour, ground pistachios, almonds and baking powder; stir until combined. Add browned butter; stir until smooth
– Put mixture in a cool place for 1 hour
– Heat Dutch Oven to 200 °C / 390 °F
– Pour batter into moulds; sprinkle with chopped pistachios and seaweed flakes
– Bake for 15–20 mins (depending on size) until golden brown
* Method for beurre noisette: Beurre noisette (or hazelnut butter) is simply butter cooked until golden brown, which gives off a delicious nutty aroma. The process is simple: Place butter slices in a saucepan and let it melt. Continue cooking until the butter becomes golden brown. The butter is ready when lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and stop the cooking process by pouring the nutty butter into a cold bowl. Pour through a fine strainer for consistency
In keeping with the wise and age-old traditions of the Paris Stock Exchange, cook’s prerogative is to pocket a couple of bars for those long working hours ahead!
These little bullion bars can be stacked, with interleaving greased paper, in Tupperware and dry-bagged for stowage in a sea kayak — I don’t haggle hard but current exchange rate is a two pound sea trout for two bars!