Looks like another week of high 80s here in Los Angeles. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am ready for you fall, so please hurry up and get here!! Last year, around this time, I would have been begging for a week with 80+ degree summer heat but after experiencing a few too many weeks of 90s and 100s, I'm ready for the cool, crisp mornings and brisk evenings that accompany fall. And take what I'm saying with a grain of salt, because let's be honest here, I'm living in LA, and the fall I'm looking forward to will not take the same shape or form as the fall you might experience in New York or even North Dakota. But it will hopefully bring that same chill to the start and end of each day and will most certainly bring us all those gorgeous fall fruits we look forward to every year: apples, pears, persimmons, and pomegranates.
In the spirit of fall, I decided to bake up some Apple and Fig Spiced Pistachio Financiers. The farmer's markets are exploding with every variety of apple out there and there's an abundance of gorgeous figs, so why not pair the two with some cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger to create a lovely tribute to fall in the form of a little french cake. These cakes are light and moist, packed with the nutty flavor of browned butter, pistachios, and almonds, and subtly spiced making them the ultimate pairing for your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or late night affogato. Typically made with powdered (confectioner's) sugar, these particular financiers are instead sweetened with a combination of brown sugar and baker's sugar, which compliment the fruit and nut flavors perfectly. And calling them financiers, makes them sound extra fancy, doesn't it?
Financiers were said to have been named either after their long, rectangular molds that resemble gold bars or in tribute to the financial district where they gained their popularity. I'm leaning toward the gold bar theory, as these little cakes are typically narrow and rectangular but can take many other shapes. I've chosen to make little loaves but please feel free to bake these in the vessel of your choice (just be sure to adjust the baking time accordingly (reduce the time if you use smaller molds, add more if you make them larger).
A couple of notes on these little cuties, when you're adding fruit, you're gonna have to bake your cakes a little longer to account for the moisture in the fruit, and if you want to make these sans the apple and fig and instead, maybe throw some chopped pistachios or almonds on top, please reduce the baking time by a few minutes. Also, make sure to look for that browning on the outside edges and bake them until your edges are golden brown. Those golden brown edges equal that crispy, crust that compliments the fine-crumb of the moist cake inside. These cakes are the perfect way to welcome fall and are as delicious as they are beautiful. Have a lovely week and I hope you're enjoying some early fall weather!
Apple + Fig Spiced Pistachio Financiers
Adapted from Saveur
Makes eight 2-inch x 3 1/2-inch cakes
- 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, + more for pans
- 1/2 c. flour, + more for pans
- 1/2 cup baker's sugar
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla paste
- 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 c. finely ground pistachios
- 2 Tbsp. finely ground almonds
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 4 fresh figs, thinly sliced
- 1 apple, thinly sliced (I used a green Fuji apple)
- 8 cavity mini loaf pan
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Piping bag + 1 cm, round tip
- Fine mesh sieve
- Wire cooling rack
- Sharp knife
- Cutting board
- Plastic wrap
- Grease and flour molds and set aside in freezer.
- Heat butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat; cook, without stirring, until butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl; cool.
- Whisk sugars, salt, vanilla paste, and egg whites in a bowl until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine flours, ground pistachios, almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and baking powder.
- Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until combined.
- Add browned butter and stir until smooth.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Remove pan from freezer.
- Transfer mixture to piping bag that has been fitted with tip.
- Pipe batter into each mold, filling each mold a little over 1/2 way.
- Top each cake with 3 fig and 3 apple slices, alternating.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
- Serve (warm or at room temperature) and enjoy!