Continuing with menu ideas and treats for the upcoming Mother’s Day, I have another perfect addition to a brunch or tea time table; Cherry Madeira Financiers. Deliciously rich with browned butter and ground almonds; fun and festive with maraschino cherry confetti.
Why maraschino cherries you may ask? As much as I avoid preservatives, sulphides, HFCS and all the other no-no’s, I can’t resist maraschino cherries, I adore them. Loaded with sulphides, preservatives and an insane amount of red food dye, I should be running the other way, but it’s my one vice and I allow myself some occasionally.
One of my family’s favourite tea time cakes back in London, was one that a big department store carried. It was just a packaged cake but oh, it was so good. My mother wasn’t a baker so we made do with these rich, buttery cakes from the shop or fancy bakery tortes and cakes. As kids we didn’t complain, we had cake!
The big department store stocked, back then, various fruit cakes and this madeira cake that my family loved. On a recent trip to London, my father brought back all kinds of treats including our favourite fruit cakes, madeira cakes and cherry madeira cakes. I fell in love with the cherry madeira. It was perfect; combining my love for madeira cake and glacé (maraschino) cherries.
I have since then learned to make my own cherry madeira and decided to make my financiers in the style of my favourite cake. OMG! I don’t like to resort to overused, teeny, boppy, acronyms, but OMG! These were so good, I couldn’t stop eating them. It doesn’t help that they are a perfect mouthful and you just pop them in not thinking much of it. But those delectable morsels add up!!
These are perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea. The floral, citrus tones of the tea go very well with the financiers, but they are very good all by their lonesome too!
If anyone is wondering why these little cakes are called financiers, here is a little history on them. The pastry chef who created financiers, supposedly, had his bakery close to the French Stock Exchange. Originally, the financiers were made in the shape of rectangles to resemble gold bars. They were pretty small bars back then. Financiers are becoming popular again and they are appearing everywhere in many different shapes, sizes and flavours. They are open to many variations and that is one reason for their popularity, and also because everything mini or individual seems to be all the rage these days. I would take financiers over cupcakes any day.
- 1 cup/126g powdered sugar
- 1 stick/113g butter
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon/45g plain/all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup/85g ground almonds
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 10oz jar/135g maraschino cherries, reserve 24 halves and chop the rest
- Preheat the oven to 375℉/190℃.
- Grease a 24 hole mini muffin tin, I used non stick spray.
- Divide the chopped maraschinos evenly between the 24 holes.
- In a small stainless steel pan, melt the butter.
- Heat on low until the butter is melted and begins to turn a golden brown.
- Be careful not to burn it, just when it begins to smell nutty and you see the milk solids turning a golden brown colour.
- Strain the butter into a heatproof measuring jug and let cool.
- Sift the flour, pinch of salt and powdered sugar in a bowl.
- Mix in the ground almonds, I sifted mine to get fine almond flour, but that's optional.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or a using a hand mixer, whip the egg whites till soft and foamy.
- You want to have soft peaks.
- Mix the egg whites and the browned butter into the flour mixture.
- Fold gently till thoroughly mixed.
- Put a level tablespoon of batter into the mini muffin tins.
- I used a skewer to gently mix the batter and cherries together in the tin so that the cherries were better dispersed.
- Once all the holes have been filled, press the reserved cherry halves on top.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.
- They should be golden brown and springy to the touch.
- Let cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then pull out the financiers and cool on a rack.
- Enjoy with a cup of Earl Grey tea.
What naughty thing do you like to indulge in, knowing quite well it’s bad for you? I have found that you can buy a “natural” version of the maraschino cherries but I have only seen them online. I haven’t tried them yet (it’s just so much easier to pop into your local market and pick up the regular ones on short notice)
Hope you have a go at making my special maraschino cherry financiers, they really do have a wonderfully, unique taste to them. They are also great for a Mother’s Day breakfast or afternoon tea.
Need something savoury for your special menu?
Have a great week everyone!