Coffee Pecan Financiers

Coffee and pecan financiers (23 of 39)

A PERFECT CONCOCTION | Pecans, ground sumiyaki coffee powder and a shot of nespresso add subtle warm undertones to the traditional financier.  

I love how baking brings out the perfectionist streak lurking deep within me. This Valentine’s day, me and my (single) girlfriends decided we’d get our hands dirty and do some baking.

To challenge ourselves, we set an ambitious goal to master the basic vanilla soufflé (which we managed to achieve). I also added another to our baking agenda for the afternoon  – to recreate Ottolenghi’s famed Coffee Pecan Financiers that sells likes hotcakes at his restaurant NOPI in London.

Coffee and pecan financiers (1 of 1)

Still missing Paris a lot, I was keen to make financiers again, but this time, I was set on making an adaptation of Ottolenghi’s Coffee Pecan Financiers from his well-known restaurant NOPI. Not too fond of anything too sweet, I reduced the icing sugar quantity by half and did away with the coffee pecan cream that often accompanies these little bars of gold.

Coffee and pecan financiers (29 of 39)

Coffee and Pecan Financiers

TIME: one hour | YIELDS: Makes 12 financiers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g pecans
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 65g malt powder (or Horlicks)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground coffee beans
  • 8 egg whites (300g)
  • 2 shots of espresso (60ml)
  • pinch of coarse sea salt

Coffee and pecan financiers (7 of 39)

METHOD:

  1. Roast the pecans. Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5. Spread the pecans for both the financiers and the cream out on a parchment-lined baking tray and place in the oven for 12–15 minutes, until they have taken on a bit of colour. Use the flat side of a large knife to lightly crush them. Set aside half of the pecans for the financiers and half for the cream.Coffee and pecan financiers (1 of 39)
  2. To make the financiers, put the butter into a medium saucepan and place on a high heat. Once it starts to foam, cook for 3–4 minutes, until it turns golden-brown and smells nutty. Strain through a muslin- (or clean J-cloth-) lined sieve and set aside for about 15 minutes, to cool slightly.Coffee and pecan financiers (2 of 39)
  3. Place the icing sugar in a large bowl with the ground almonds, flour, malt powder, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and ground coffee. Mix together and set aside.Coffee and pecan financiers (4 of 39)
  4. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and whisk to form soft peaks: this should take about 3 minutes if you are whisking by hand and just 1 minute with an electric whisk.Coffee and pecan financiers (6 of 39)
  5. Fold the whites into the dry ingredients by hand, followed by the espresso. Next pour in half the browned butter, continuing to fold by hand as you pour in the remaining butter. Finally, fold in the pecans. Coffee and pecan financiers (13 of 39)Coffee and pecan financiers (12 of 39)Coffee and pecan financiers (10 of 39)
  6. Bake the financiers by preheating the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7. Grease mould of muffin tray or financier tray. Spoon in the mix until three-quarters full and bake for 10 –12 minutes, until the cakes are golden-brown on top and only just cooked through: a knife inserted should come out with a tiny amount of mix on it.Coffee and pecan financiers (15 of 39)
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 5 minutes, before removing them from the tray. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a cup of tea if desired.
Coffee and pecan financiers (21 of 39) Coffee and pecan financiers (28 of 39)Coffee and pecan financiers (4 of 5)

Super Moist Blueberry Muffins

Mana (12 of 23)

“I love you BERRY much” Blueberry Muffins | The moistest blueberry muffins with a lemon sugar crumble to take it over the top.

There is something just so homey and comforting about blueberry muffins. The thought of sitting down to relax, with a nice cuppa tea in one hand and taking a steamy bite of a freshly baked blueberry muffin is DIY therapy for my soul.

For those who are more health-conscious out there, I have managed to come up with a moist mouth-wateringly delicious blueberry muffin with a drastically reduced sugar and butter content. The key is to load up on the sour cream.  Sour cream will add moisture to these muffins, doing away with the addition of extra butter.

Last but not least, the addition of a lemon-zested sugar crumble takes this muffin over the top.

Mana (7 of 23)

These muffins are chock full of berry goodness and the sour cream makes them extra moist.

Mana (4 of 23)

Super Moist Blueberry Muffins

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 20-25 minutes | Total time: 35 minutes | Makes: 10 medium sized muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup (60g) of butter, softened
  • 30g of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar crystals
  • 1 1/2 cup (180g) of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (roughly one lemon juiced)
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup of sour creamMana (2 of 23)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F and butter muffin moulds. Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl until combined. Add in egg, sour cream, egg, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat again until well combined.Mana (23 of 23)
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Mana (21 of 23)
  3. Fold in dry ingredients into the sour cream mixture and fold with spatula. Gently stir in blueberries until throughly combined.Mana (20 of 23)
  4. To make topping, combine 1 tablespoon of brown sugar crystals with 1/4 teaspoon of grated lemon zest. Sprinkle ~1/4 teaspoon on the top of each muffin before shoving it into the oven.Mana (17 of 23)
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Remove. Let rest for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Best served warm.Mana (3 of 23)Mana (5 of 23)Mana (9 of 23).jpg

Banana Coconut Financiers with Crushed Walnuts

Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (1 of 60)

BANANA-RAMA | Banana, desiccated coconut, and crushed walnuts unite to create a moist and wholesome financier. 

I have truly jumped onto the financier bandwagon. This time, seeing I had two overly ripe bananas sitting inside my fruit bowl, rather than let them expire and go to waste, I decided to put them to good use by creating some banana financiers with desiccated coconut and crushed walnuts. The banana adds an extra degree of moistness and ‘stickiness’ to the basic financier recipe (not to mention flavor and fibre). And because bananas are naturally sweet, I’ve drastically reduced the sugar content by more than half (more or less to keep the waistline “trim”).

To make these financiers even more healthy, I’ve incorporated walnuts into the mixture. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers multiple vascular benefits to people with heart disease, or those who have increased risk for heart disease due to multiple cardiac risk factors. Walnuts also contain several unique and powerful antioxidants that are available in only a few commonly eaten foods. This includes the quinone juglone, the tannin tellimagrandin, and the flavonol morin.

One of the lesser-known benefits of walnuts is their impact on male fertility. Among men who consume a Western-style diet, adding 75 grams (a bit over one-half cup) of walnuts daily significantly improved sperm quality, including vitality, motility, and morphology.

Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (8 of 16)Afternoon tea? Serve these freshly baked financiers with a cup of warm or organic tea.

 

TIME: 30 minutes | Makes: 12 financiers 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 125 grams of butter, melted
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 70 grams dessicated coconut
  • 50 grams almond flour
  • 70 grams plain flour
  • 50 gram walnuts
  • 6 egg whites
  • 50 grams of icing sugar

Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (59 of 60)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 degress farenheit). Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat until it browns. Brush some of this butter on to the financier mould or muffin tin. Leave remaining butter to cool at room temperature.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (58 of 60)
  2. Mash ripe bananas in a shallow dish.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (57 of 60)
  3. Crush walnuts into small pieces in a mortar and pestle.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (56 of 60)
  4. Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl. Once done, add melted butter into the mixture.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (53 of 60)
  5. Combine all the almond flour, plain flour, icing sugar, crushed walnuts, and desiccated coconut together in a separate bowl. Fold in the egg white mixture into the flour mixture and continue to fold until well combined.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (52 of 60)
  6. Pour batter into the financier moulds, until 2/3rds full each. Bake in oven for ~16-20 minutes until golden brown.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (51 of 60)
  7.  Turn financiers out on a wire rack to cool. Dust with icing sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. Financiers can be stored in an airtight container for several days.Banana Coconut Financiers With Walnuts (4 of 16)

Irresistible Blackberry Pistachio Financiers

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (14 of 44)

PISTACHIO-LICIOUS | A combination of pistachio, blackberries, and a dash of banana gives these financiers a touch of the extraordinary. 

Since having left Paris not too long ago, I’m still going through a financier-crazed phase. This time I wanted to go real lush and experimented with blackberries, pistachios, and a smudge of banana.

Once again, the key is getting the beurre noisette (hazelnut butter in French) right in order to achieve that nutty flavour that makes a financier so distinctive and sets it apart from the ordinary muffin.

For those who aren’t aware, financiers are basically what I consider to be “baller” teacakes. They were so named because they were so “rich” (both in ingredients and in price) that only financiers/bankers could afford to eat them. The cakes were rich with brown butter, shaped into a gold bar, and made small and crumbles for portability – perfect for a busy banker.

Egg white, almond meal, and beurre noisette are the key fundamental ingredients that constitute the basic financier. After that, you are free to experiment at your whim and add any addition of fruits, nuts and/or spices.

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (25 of 44)

For me, financiers are the perfect accompaniment to a cup of earl grey team come five o’clock. Simply relax and unwind with a good book. What’s more, tie two financiers together with a cute ribbon and voila, you will have a perfect treat for a special friend or special someone.

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (15 of 44)

Simply tie two financiers up in a stack with a ribbon and it’ll make for a perfect gesture of love. 

INGREDIENTS:

Total time: 30 minutes | Servings: makes 6

  • 125g butter
  • 90g icing sugar (plus extra for dusting)
  • 1 tablespoon of mashed banana
  • 1 punnet blackberries
  • 60g almond flour
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 freshly grated lemon zest
  • 50g pistachio (shells excluded)

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (43 of 44)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (or 180 degrees celsius if fan forced). Then prepare the beurre noisette by melting the butter on a pan over medium high heat till it turns amber in colour and smells nutty. After a few minutes, you will see specks of brown bits. Remove from heat and let it cool.   Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (40 of 44) Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (39 of 44)
  2. In the meantime, with a grater, freshly zest one lemon.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (44 of 44)
  3. Grind pistachio into fine crumbs using a mortar or pestle (or if you are more high-tech and have a food processor, opt for that instead). I purposely left some pistachios semi-grinded only so that I could get more texture.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (37 of 44)
  4. Mash a portion of a ripe banana to yield ~1 tablespoon. Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (36 of 44)
  5. In a large bowl, mix pistachio flour with the almond and plain flour. Add in remaining sugar, cinnamon, mashed banana, and lemon zest.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (35 of 44)
  6. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Place egg whites into a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (38 of 44)
  7. Spoon 1/3rd of the egg white mixture into the flour batter. Fold with spatula until just combined. Repeat process with remaining egg white being careful to fold only and not over mix. Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (34 of 44)
  8. Coat berries lightly with flour. Then add to the batter and fold.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (32 of 44)Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (31 of 44)
  9. Spoon batter into buttered financier moulds (or muffin tins). Fill each mould with the batter until about 2/3rds full. Press any remaining blackberries on top of each financier (for aesthetic appeal).Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (30 of 44)
  10. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Financiers are done when they turn golden. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Dust with icing sugar to serve.Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (13 of 44)

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (7 of 44)

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (16 of 44)

Blackberry Financiers with Pistachio (23 of 44)

Raspberry and Vanilla Bean Financiers

Raspberry Financiers (9 of 22)

Financiers are the perfect delicate treat for a tête-a-tête with friends or a special someone.

After recently spending 3 weeks in Paris learning french and completing a one-day workshop at the famous Le Cordon Bleu – a much needed mini-sabbatical in life – I must confess, I am still missing the City of Lights a lot. A hell lot. Despite I’ve frequented this beautiful city several times, there is always something intriguing and captivating about it every time I go. I always discover something new amidst the mystical charm of this city and continue to be arrested by its rich culture and historical beauty.

They often call Paris the City of Love. I can understand why (and no, just as a disclaimer, I did not meet “the One”– or I think not –  whilst I was there). So why am I infatuated with this city? I am in love with Paris because I feel completely content each time I visit: the feeling of freedom and serenity provides a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and calms me down instantly.

Moreover, Paris is a truly beautiful walking city. I love the feeling of the freedom of being able to walk everywhere – along the river Seine (my favourite scenic walk), across the Jardin Des Tuileries (my favourite park), among the beautiful boulevards – and know that even when I get lost, I will be rewarded by beautiful scenery, a new cafe or bistro discovery, friendly (or not so friendly) Parisians who will be happy (or do so begrudgingly) to point me in the right direction (if not, I resort to the ever so reliable Google Maps).

One thing I really paid attention to this time round was the sheer number of patisseries that litter literally every street. I lost count of how many eclairs, millefeuilles, croissants, pain du chocolats, and macaroons I’ve consumed during my stay. I just hope that my daily attempt to walk everywhere has exceeded the number of calories I unnecessarily consume. One thing is for sure though, the patisseries are A-grade and two notches sweeter than those found in Asia (attribute it to the different palate among the races). I am not a big fan of millefueille at home (namely because no one gets it right) but when I am here, my favourite millefeuille is the praline one at Laduree (must have!). Meanwhile, on the eclair front, Christopher Adam’s L’eclair de Genie wins the crown (though be forewarned, you may be confronted with a decision-making problem if you were to only pick one amongst his impressive kaleidoscope of eclairs).

Given my nostalgia still for all things Parisian, I decided to bake something distinctly Parisian this Sunday afternoon: financiers (pronounced fee-nahng-syehr). Bonus is that I got to debut the new silicon Teflon financier moulds I bought on my trip 🙂

Before I begin, some basic trivia: did you know the financier was an early and classy form of fast food created for bankers (hence the name ‘financiers’)? They were created in the late 19th century by a pastry chef named Lasne, who had a shop on the rue Saint-Denis near the Bourse, the city’s stock exchange. Recognising bankers in the area were rich, discriminating and always in a hurry, Lasne designed his little unglazed cookie-cake so that it could be eaten without a knife, fork or spoon and without risk to the suit, shirt or tie. He baked the financiers in rectangular moulds that were said to resemble bars of gold.

Financiers are as rich as the bankers they were named for. The batter is made by combining flour with ground almonds and powdered sugar. To that is added lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla extract and brown butter, beurre noisette (or melted unsalted butter will do). They are baked until golden brown in rectangular pans to resemble ingots.

These cakes are beautiful in their simplicity. Sweet, tender, and available in a multitude of variations (throw in some berries or nuts if you wish), they are deliciously soft and have a nutty flavour from the brown butter. Perfect to have alone, they can also be paired harmoniously with a cup of coffee or tea as a great treat during a tête-a-tête with friends or a special someone 😉

Raspberry Financiers (7 of 22)
INGREDIENTS:

(Makes 6)

  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • 140g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 100g almond meal
  • 40g plain flour
  • 90g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 2x punnets or fresh raspberries or 200g of frozen raspberries

Raspberry Financiers (18 of 22)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat an oven to 180C (350F). Melt butter and cool to room temperature. Grease a 6-hole rectangular pan well (or muffin tin) with butter. Raspberry Financiers (22 of 22)
  2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites to just combine.Raspberry Financiers (21 of 22)
  3. Add the melted butter, almond meal, flour and sifted icing sugar and combine well. Stir in vanilla bean paste (or essence).Raspberry Financiers (20 of 22)
  4. Mix in three quarters of the raspberries into the batter and pour into prepared pans to two thirds full.Raspberry Financiers (19 of 22)
  5. Place two or three raspberries on top of each financier and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out the center clean.Raspberry Financiers (2 of 22)
  6. Let the financiers cool slightly and then remove from the pan carefully and dust lightly with icing sugar.Raspberry Financiers (3 of 22)
  7. Serve warmed and with extra fresh raspberries, if you like.

Raspberry Financiers (10 of 22)

Raspberry Financiers (16 of 22)Raspberry Financiers (13 of 22)

Simply Divine Green Tea Cheesecake

Green Tea Cheescake (1 of 1)-2

This Asian-style green tea cheesecake is lighter and more delicate in texture than its New York counterpart

This Greentea/Matcha Cheesecake will blow your socks off. Literally.

Inspired by Teakha, my favourite teahouse in Hong Kong that is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, the urban concrete jungle. I have finally garnered up the patience – not to mention the courage – to recreate their signature green tea cheesecake. Lighter than the inevitable-waist-thickening-New York style cheesecakes, this green tea cheesecake is one true piece of sheer decadence.

Caveat emptor: not all green tea powders are created equal. Matcha earns its name because of the way it is grown, processed and ground. Matcha is a powdered green tea, but not all powdered green teas can be matcha. Matcha green tea powder comes from the tench leaves, and undergoes a very strict growing process. When the newest leaves start to bud, they are covered from sunlight. This give them a very different taste than sencha leaves, which grow in 100% sunlight.

Blocking 90% of sunlight slows the growth of the leaves and increases the production of the amino acids that give matcha its unique taste. The buds are hand picked and ground by certified tea artisans in a stone mortar. The end product is an extremely fine powder that can be dissolved in warm water.

What does this all mean from a nutritional point of view? Because matcha is made from high-quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea. In addition to providing small amounts of vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging. Another polyphenol in matcha called EGCG has been shown in research to boost metabolism, and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.

So where did I get my matcha powder from? I was fortunate as my girlfriend Jaki gave me some high quality organic matcha powder from The Green Room in Suzhou a few months back. Finally, I had a reason to test it out and put it to good use! For those not too sure where to source the powder from, you can easily find high quality green tea / matcha powder in health food stores, Japanese/Asian supermarkets, and online.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 x 8oz packages of fat-free cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of green tea powder
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 5-6 wholewheat Digestive biscuits

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius / 350 degrees fahrenheit. Start with making the base. To do so, crush 5-6 digestive biscuits in a bowl till it resembles a crumb like consistency.Green Tea Cheescake (1 of 2)
  2. Melt the butter in a pot. Pour melted butter into the bowl of crumbs and mix thoroughly with a spatula until evenly coated. Green Tea Cheescake (11 of 13)
  3. Layer the crumbs at the bottom of a ~8-inch diameter cake tin and even it out consistently. Green Tea Cheescake (1 of 2)-2
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese together with the sugar until thoroughly combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.Green Tea Cheescake (10 of 13)Green Tea Cheescake (2 of 2)
  5.  Add the matcha powder to the mixture and beat again until smooth. Green Tea Cheescake (9 of 13)
  6. Brush leftover melted butter around the inside edges of the cake tin. Pour batter into the prepared crust cake tin.Green Tea Cheescake (8 of 13)
  7. To ensure a level surface for the cake top, smooth the batter with a spatula.Green Tea Cheescake (7 of 13)
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of baking, cover the top of the tin with a piece of foil to prevent it from browning. Take the cake out. You will know when it is done if it looks firm and the centre jiggles evenly when it is shaken lightly.Green Tea Cheescake (6 of 13)
  9. Let the cake cool for at least one hour at room temperature before transferring it to the refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight (better) before slicing and devouring it all (extreme self-control needed). NB: This cheesecake can be prepared two days in advance. Simply just cover the cake and keep it refrigerated.Green Tea Cheescake (5 of 13) Green Tea Cheescake (3 of 13)Green Tea Cheescake (2 of 13)

Lavender Infused Greek Yoghurt Banana Bread

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (25 of 42)Banana bread has always been a favourite treat of mine. To lower the overall fat content, I lessened the amount of butter and substituted greek yoghurt instead. Given the natural sweetness of ripe bananas, I also reduced the amount of sugar required. I also added a slight twist by infusing some lavender into the batter. How’s that for something more unusual?

INGREDIENTS (makes one loaf):

  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 90g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 ounces (170g) of Greek yoghurt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons lavender
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (42 of 42)

METHOD:

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

2) Cook lavender in a saucepan on high heat for a minute until scent is released. Turn heat down to medium and add butter. Mix slowly until all melted, making sure not to burn the butter. Pour content through sieve, reserving 1//2 teaspoon of lavender. You now have your infused lavender butter.

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (41 of 42)

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (40 of 42)

3) In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

4) Mash bananas using a fork or masher.

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (35 of 42)

5) In a separate bowl, mix eggs, vanilla essence and yoghurt. Pour in the infused butter. Fold in the ripe bananas and 1/2 teaspoon of cooked lavender. Gradually fold in the flour mixture from the other bowl until all combined throughly.

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (38 of 42)

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (34 of 42)

6) Pour contents into lined loaf pan and bake in oven for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and skewer comes out clean.

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (31 of 42)Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (3 of 42)

7) Let it cool before slicing. Serve while fresh.

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (24 of 42)

Lavender Infused Banana Yoghurt Bread (17 of 42)