Happy spring to you! Well, to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, I don't want to be hemispherist. Happy Fall if you live on the southern half of the planet. If you live at the equator, which seasons do you go with? Is it Spring, Fall? Neither? Both? I know that there are less dramatic seasonal changes on the equator, but still. What season is it?
Anyway, it's spring! In this particular chunk of the Northern Hemisphere, cherry blossoms are blossoming in a comforting way, that signals that winter's grip on us has loosened and it won't last forever. And when spring comes, so does rhubarb. Seeing it growing in the garden fills is so hopeful; I love the alien little ball of anemic, pale and slightly slimy leaves, poking through the dirt.
Financiers are little French almond teacakes. They are pretty casual and unfussy as far as French pattiserie goes. If you happen to be in Paris, or anywhere else with a Maison Kayser, I strongly recommend a bag of their pistachio financiers. They are so buttery, so pistachio-y. I have tried, but never quite managed, to replicate their glorious pistachiosity. If you aren't currently in Paris, New York or Tokyo (boo) then you can make them at home. They are really easy to make, and they can easily convert to being gluten free with a flour swap, or use hazelnuts or pistachios in place of almonds if you prefer. These ones are are crispy on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside and with lovely little strawberry rhubarb centres.
strawberry rhubarb compote:
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups strawberries, quartered
1/3 cup sugar (or a bit more, to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
Cook all ingredients together over medium low heat, until rhubarb is falling apart. Strain liquid off the compote and set aside for another use, like a tasty spring cocktail. The compote and syrup can be stored in fridge for around a week, or in the freezer for a couple months.
strawberry rhubarb financiers:
adapted from cannelle et vanille
120 grams egg whites
125 grams sugar
55 grams all purpose flour or white rice flour
25 grams almond meal
30 grams hazelnuts, toasted and ground into meal
1 tsp vanilla
150 grams butter, melted and cooled (browning the butter will add extra nuttiness!)
1/2 cup strawberry rhubarb compote
Combine sugar, flour, nut meals and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add egg whites and stir to combine. Stir in butter, cover bowl with plastic wrap and age in the fridge overnight.
Generously grease financier tins or muffin tins. Fill with batter; only about 1/2 inch high if you are using muffin tins, up to the brim if you are using financier tins. Put 2 tsp of compote in the centre of each financier.
Bake at 375°F for about ten minutes, until the centres are set and the edges are browned. Cool and then run a knife around the edge of the tins and gently remove the financiers.