It’s autumn, which means it’s the best time for pumpkins, apples, mushrooms, and of course, pears! This beautiful tart is perfect for any festive celebration and just plain wonderful with a cup of tea after a walk in the forest. Plus, you’ll taste Normandy in every bite courtesy of the subtle cream and a hint of Calvados!
The summer is the season of peaches, apricots, cherries and strawberries, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that fruit usually has our preference when it comes to dessert. Sometimes, though, I like to make a batch of these fruity financiers. They are decidedly seasonal, quick and easy to make.
Are you wondering how these dainty cakes got their name? While some claim financiers owe their name to their shape (they resemble little bars of gold), others claim the name comes from their place of origin. Financiers were first made in the 19th century by a baker whose shop was close to the Parisian Stock Exchange. Nobody knows for sure, but what we do know is that they’re an addictively delicious treat!
Financiers with Summer Fruit
Makes 18 pieces
- 180g butter
- 70g all-purpose flour
- 150g ground almonds
- 230g icing sugar
- 5 egg whites
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- fresh blueberries and raspberries, cut in half
Preheat the oven to 200°C and butter the financier moulds. Sprinkle the moulds with flour, tapping away any excess. Allow the butter to melt on a low heat, wait until it turns a light brown colour and begins to release a nutty scent, then remove from the heat. Mix the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg whites and the vanilla extract and combine everything well using a whisk. Add the melted butter and whisk vigorously again. Fill the moulds with the batter and place three berry halves on each mould. Bake the financiers for 5 minutes before lowering the heat to 180°C and allowing them to bake for another 10 minutes. Transfer the financier moulds to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Yesterday, I made a special four-course dinner, not for a huge group, with expensive wines and the works, but just for the three of us. A midweek celebration of life. I put my busy agenda aside for the afternoon, tuned in to some French radio and spent a glorious couple of hours in the kitchen. I made a velvety soup with two beautiful, deep green and smooth-skinned organic courgettes. I whisked the perfect dressing to go over a simple salad of tomatoes, capers and shallots. I sang along with Zaz and thought back to how the three of us sang along to that same song last year as we drove through France. I carefully washed and cleaned strawberries for our dessert, popping some in my mouth every now and then. I chose a nice wine. Smiled. Enjoyed. Rejoiced.
No reason to wait for special occasions to celebrate. The best moment will always be now.
Here’s what we had for dessert. So easy and very delicious. A sweet little tartelette to round off a perfect meal. I made them with strawberries, but I’m sure they’d be just as lovely with raspberries or peaches, for example.
I hope you’ll love them as much as we did.
- 4 squares of puff pastry (12 x 12 cm)
- 15 small, ripe strawberries, cleaned and halved
- 80 ml cream
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsps sugar
- seeds from one vanilla pod
- icing sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200°C and allow the puff pastry to thaw if frozen. Cover each tartelette mold with a sheet of pastry, pushing it down into the edges and trimming off any excess. Line each mold with a bit of parchment paper and weigh down with beans. Blind bake the pastry shells for 8 minutes. In the meantime, whisk the cream, egg, sugar and vanilla. Take the shells out of the oven, remove the beans and parchment paper and fill with the strawberry halves. Pour the batter over the berries and return to the oven for 12 minutes. Cover them with foil and give them a final 5 minutes. Unmold and serve with a little icing sugar.