My dear, poor, non-French people,
No chichi between us : I won’t put on airs, and tell you the truth just as it is…
The sentence you will hear the most in any French conversation right now is not “qu’est ce qu’on mange” (what are we having for lunch) or “où est mon carré Hermes?” (where is my Hermes scarf)…
Ok, it might be “qu’est ce qu’on mange“, because yes, we French and perfect people are a little obsessed with food, and always will. But then the second sentence would be “C’est la crise“. Times are hard…
The economy is dans les vécés, and it’s no time for big spenders…
Too bad for caviar and Champagne lovers, but not a real problem for cuisinières ! French and perfect women are so used to bad times, from the famines of the Middle Ages to the hard times of the WWII, that they have been used to inventing ways to cook with nothing.
I’ve already written about cuisiner les restes (cooking with leftovers) in the hachis-parmentier recipe. Eggs are often a problem: many recipes use only egg yolks. What to do with egg whites? (Besides boring diet omelet of course !). You can make mousse au chocolat… Or… Financiers
Financiers faciles à faire et à manger
(easy to make and to eat!)
6 egg whites
7 oz butter
2 oz flour
3,5 oz almond flour
6 oz powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla seeds
At first, these mini-cakes where called Visitandines, just as the catholic nuns who invented them. In the Middle Ages, the sisters used to paint a lot with egg yolks, and didn’t want to throw the whites : gâcher c’est pécher! (To waste is a sin). They started to bake with the whites, and noticed a sudden rise in the number of pilgrims coming to their monastery !
But as any fashion, the trend for Visitandines ended up fading. Ah, la mode!
It wasn’t until the beginning of the 19th century, when a clever parisian boulanger decided to reinvent them. His shop was close to la Bourse, the Stock-exchange, and it was an instant hit : men working there loved these small cakes they could eat on the go at the Stock Exchange, without ruining their nice clothes.
And that’s how Visitandines became Financiers.
I guess it tells a lot about how French interrests have changed, from religion to finances…
But the main point of Financiers is elsewhere: they are delicious and cheap and easy to bake!
Financiers are most of the time rectangular (some people say it’s to make them look like gold bars!), but here in the US I find it easier to make them with a muffin pan.
- Whip the egg whites
- Mix the flours and the sugar
- Melt the butter very very slowly, with the vanilla seeds
- Slowly mix the egg whites to the flours and sugar mix
- Add the butter
- Leave 10 minutes in a 450F preheated oven
Et c’est tout!
I baked this batch before going on a road trip, and I can tell you they make a very French and perfect snack on the road!
They are also great with tea.
And, they are so inexpensive that even your banker would approve!
Bon appétit les amis!