Monday, July 21, 2008

Financiers with Lemon Cream

After my experience with the lemon millefeuille, I knew I wanted to incorporate the delicious lemon cream in another (easier) dessert.

Then a few days later, I received a mysterious package in the mail. It was quite heavy, and I thought it came from friends who recently moved to Hong Kong. When out rolled 9 or 10 of the most beautiful lemons, I was amazed. It was the mother of one of these friends who had sent them. She lives on the Côte d'Azur, and she wanted to share the lemons from her back yard. She had seen a few posts on my blog and knew I love anything lemon-flavored.

Lemons in the mail. Imagine my surprise!

These lemons, which I believe are the same as the lemons from Menton recommended by Pierre Hermé in his original lemon cream recipe, are unbelievably juicy. One small lemon can give something like twice as much flavorful juice as any ordinary lemon.

This lemon looked almost like a grapefruit once I cut it open (after zesting it)

So what to do with this lemon bounty?
I made a lemon tart and froze it, which turned out beautifully as we were surprised with a simultaneous visit by my brother and a good friend who lives in Geneva. I made Hermé's lemon cream, in two versions: one per his original recipe, for filling macarons, and the other with added whipped cream and a touch of gelatin, the same I used for the lemon millefeuille (both recipes in the millefeuille link). I froze the standard version, and looked for a dessert to showcase the lightened one. I wasn't eager to launch into the whole caramelized puff pastry adventure again, and wanted something simple.

I then remembered the recipe featured on the cover of Sherry Yard's book, The Secrets of Baking. A chocolate financier with a raspberry ganache piped in the middle.

I tried to make something similar: a regular financier, with a lightened lemon cream piped in the middle. I didn't have the cute doughnut-shaped ring molds (or mini-savarin molds), so of course I had to go purchase those right away. Financier batter is extremely easy to make, and delicious with its combined flavors of almonds and burnt butter. I baked them for 10-15 minutes, and then all I had to do was to pipe in the filling.

Which, the first time around, was harder than I had anticipated (no photos). See, I don't know the first thing about piping. But I'm beginning to discover that if you don't hold the tip slightly buried in the filling that you're piping, you end up with a worm-like shape that is anything but appetizing. Add to that the fact my cream was a little limp (I think I used too much whipped cream, or too little gelatin) and the result was not pretty. I froze the remaining financiers, as well as the cream (I freeze everything!) and forgot about the idea.

Then a few evenings ago I was alone with my mother-in-law who was visiting while my husband was away, and I wondered what to make for dessert (she has a sweet tooth so it's fun to test desserts on her). I defrosted the cream in the fridge for a few hours, defrosted and crisped the financiers by baking them for a few minutes, let them cool, threw a piping tip into a plastic freezer bag, and piped the cream in the center of the savarins.

Well don't you know, they turned out much better than the first time around! Was my cream colder? Did I overnight learn a little about piping? Who knows. But I smiled as my mother in law looked surprised I had whipped this dessert up in five minutes... So Martha of me!

Donc Florence, un grand merci pour ces citrons délicieux qui m'ont permis de gâter tous nos récents visiteurs, tout en découvrant un nouveau dessert! (I had to thank the donor of the lemons in French!)

These financiers are very easy to make. The only trick is to know how much batter to pour into the mold to make plump doughnut shapes without a rim. The ones above seem perfect to me, but the ones featured with the cream have a bit of a lip. I must have used too much batter. Not that it really matters.

Recipe: Financiers with Lemon Cream
This will be short, since I've already posted the recipes for the components of this dessert.

1. Bake the financiers (recipe here) in carefully buttered individual mini-savarin molds until they are an attractive brown color. Cool a few minutes then unmold carefully.

2. Place the cooled financiers in dessert plates. Pipe the very cold lemon cream (recipe here, follow the version that includes whipped cream and a touch of gelatin) in a spiral in the center of each financier, and serve immediately.


linda said...

Good excuse to buy new moulds ;)
Thought they sort of looked familiar (I have the book too :)
I like your version better than the chocolate one though.

That one lemon is so huge, your hand looks so tiny!
Love the way you put everything in the freezer. Easy to deal with stuff that didn't go according to plan. Can always try something else with it at another time. I guess you probably get suprised when you browse the freezer and find something you forgot about.

Anonymous said...

Hey! You can't bake when I'm not around to eat your pastries!!! JED

Cakespy said...

What a wonderful use of the lemons--oh those financiers look fantastic! Or should I say, fantastique!

Jude said...

I love making these. Browned butter in baked goods makes such a huge difference.

Sha said...

It's really beautiful ... I have to make these financiers !

Aran said...

i love baking financiers in savarin molds as well... these look lovely astrid!

Astrid said...

Linda - Any excuse is good to buy kitchen tools! And my hand does happen to be quite small, so it makes the lemon look even bigger. And I have *two* freezers so yes, lots of surprises.

JED - Not even for your mother? (-;

Cakespy - Thanks you! Or should I say, merci!

Jude - Yes, it's a wonder more recipes don't use browned butter.

Sha - Thanks! Let me know if you make them.

Aran - Now that you mention it, I remember seeing something like this on your blog. The grapefruit sorbet on top of a financier, right? Yummy.

Stephanie said...

Your blog is wickedly beautiful! A great discovery.

Gay said...

I love lemons too -
those were the most amazing looking lemons I've ever seen, even better than those in sunny southern CA! Meghan wants me to make these - I will let you know...

Rose said...

What a wonderful surprise. And I think you might be a little too modest about your piping skills - the end results look beautiful!

Tartelette said...

Gorgeous Astrid! That would be lovely with my tea right now!

Elra said...

You are one lucky daugther! Those financiers look absulutely good.

miri said...

I absolutely love financiers and yours looks delicious! The lemon cream sounds and looks divine, it totally completes the financiers!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

I love Sherry Yard's book! This recipe looks utterly delicious!

Guillemette said...

ah oui effectivement la creme citron au dessus du financier, c'est trop joli ! je note pour le prochain test-financiers !