Matcha-Red Bean Financiers

Whenever I bake a financier, I like to make a joke that I am financier(which I am, as a person who technically works in a financial role/has had prior finance/accounting experience) making a financier. Unless you’re super familiar with French cuisine, you might not even know what a financier is! And no worries, you’re not alone. I only learned what they were when I was 15, unashamedly watching Yumeiro no Patissiere(yes I know it’s a show for young girls, but I watched it for the baking, and I actually had to mute the episodes because the protagonist’s voice was so high pitched it hurt my ears), and they featured financier on an episode where they used it as the base for a mont blanc(another French dessert that we won’t go into in this recipe because we’re going off on too many tangents here). But long story short, a financier is a French brown butter-almond cake that is super soft and spongy in texture. They are traditionally baked into the shape of bars so that they resemble gold bars(hence the name, financier), but are also baked into the shapes of muffins as well(something I did in this recipe). Fun fact, but since financiers use egg whites and almond meal, whenever I would overmix a macaron batter to the point where it was so runny I could not pipe it, I would add in more almond meal, sift in some flour, fold in some brown butter, and I would make financier using the failed batter instead! Because I would screw up on macarons so frequently as a teenager learning how to bake, I made a lot of financier growing up.

In the case of this recipe, I went with a matcha financier. Green tea just pairs beautifully with butter and almond, and adds a pleasant bitterness and floral notes that give the financier a very unique complexity. I also went ahead and added red bean paste into these little spongecakes as well. The red beans add a nice contrast in both flavor and texture to the cake, and surprisingly, red bean and brown butter play off of one another beautifully! I made my own red bean paste(or in this case, had leftovers from another recipe, so wrote this recipe to use it all up), but that is a very time-intensive process, so if you don’t want to waste time soaking red beans overnight and then boiling them for about an hour and a half, just get premade paste. Though be sure to taste the paste before using it, and scale down the sugar accordingly in the financier batter so it won’t be so sweet(you can scale back the confectioner’s sugar by up to 2 tbsp depending on how sweet your red bean paste is!). These financier are the perfect treat to serve at a tea party, or just to eat when you are craving a matcha-flavored snack(unless you’re allergic to nuts, in which case, avoid this recipe at all costs). 

Makes 6 financier:

For the red bean paste:
2oz dried red beans, soaked overnight
1 cup water
1.4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

In a pot, simmer all of the ingredients together, with the lid on, over low heat until the red beans are soft, about an hour of cooking. Be sure to skim off any floating scum in the liquid while the beans are cooking down. Once the beans are soft, reduce down the liquid in the pot entirely, with the lid off, until you just have softened red beans leftover. Allow these to cool down before using in the financier batter.

For the financier batter:
2 egg whites
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp matcha powder
1 tsp green spirulina powder
1 cup almond meal, sifted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, browned, with more for baking

In a bowl, whisk egg whites with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Sift into that the matcha and spirulina and continue to whisk until incorporated. Then fold in the sifted almond meal, sifted flour, and baking powder, Lastly, mix in lukewarm(but still liquid) brown butter.

Brush 6 cupcake molds with more brown butter. Partially fill each mold with batter, then sprinkle in half of the red bean paste. Then fill the molds with the rest of your batter, then the rest of your red bean paste. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. Allow the financier to fully cool before attempting to unmold. 

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