"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Second Time's a Charm

Over a week has passed since the Mister's ArtWalk at Venue, and I've been mulling over whether or not to include one of the recipes I made for the show. First off, though, let me say that it was a fabulous night.  And how could it not be?  Art, wine, food, friends, and a rare evening out, sans small people, with the Mister.  An undeniably good combination.

The wave paintings, of course, and the rocks, are the Mister's.  Visit his website, StuartKingDesign, to see further examples of his, ahem, brilliance. Not that I'm biased, or anything.

So, in the end, I have decided to share one more recipe from that evening's food I made, the other being the Spiced Candied Nuts, from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert.  This, too, comes from that fine book, and had me very interested in what on earth Green Tea Financiers would taste like, and also, Could I make them successfully?  The first batch, eh, not so much.  The second? Well, that was the charmer, and it cinched the deal for me.

The reason I've been unable to decide if I should post this recipe, was that I had to tweak it a bit, after the trial run was decidedly unsuccessful.  And who am I to tweak a Lebovitz recipe?  Perhaps it was my damnable oven.  Perhaps I purchased an inferior brand of green tea powder (although that stuff was bloody pricey, and no way was I spending $22 for a couple of grams in the next price bracket).  Perhaps it is just my nature to struggle with dessert.  Life's a learning curve though, and since I'd already committed to making these financiers, I gave it another go.  I'm glad I did.

The main difficulties I had with that failed batch were that first, they weren't pretty.  I buttered the mini muffin molds, as recommended the recipe. They stuck.  And were a bit of a shambles when I managed to pry them out. Tears may have threatened, I'm not too proud to admit.  I'm rather emotional about my food, what can I say?  The second, and to my mind, bigger problem, was the taste was too strong.  After reading (the very few) words in English on the matcha (green tea powder) containers, trying to figure out which was the $7 item, and which the $40 one, I bought the one that said food grade.  I'm thinking this may have been my error.  Perhaps David used non-food grade?  I just don't know, he didn't specify.  And there are a whole lot to choose from in Uwajimaya.  After tasting the rather unremarkable first try, and being painfully aware that they were bitter and just so not good, I cut the 2 1/2 teaspoons to 2 scant teaspoons. And voila!  They were delicious.

A vivid green wee bite.  A little sweet, a tiny bit salty, and in the background (now, after I cut the dose) a lovely hint of green tea.  Delightful.

Green Tea Financiers - adapted from Ready for Dessert

Sesame Salt Mixture
2 tsp sesame seeds (white, or a mix of white and black)
1/8 tsp flaky sea salt

2/3 cup sliced almonds
5 Tbs all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
2 scant tsp green tea powder (matcha) *don't pack it down in your tsp measure, just loose*
1/4 tsp baking powder
big pinch of salt
grated zest of 1/2 large orange
1/2 cup egg whites (from about 4 large eggs)
6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat the oven to 375.  Butter, or spray, a 24 cup mini muffin tin, or similar sized mold.  I had greater success with simply using cooking spray, on my second go of this recipe.  Follow your instincts.

Sprinkle about 2/3 of the 2 tsp sesame seeds, and a few flakes of sea salt, into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup.  David mixed his sesame seeds with the sea salt, but I found it difficult to get even amounts of salt in each cup, so I altered it a bit, and sprinkled them in separately.

To make the financiers, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, or in a blender, pulverize the almonds, sugar, 1 Tbs white sesame seeds, the flour, green tea, baking powder, salt, and orange zest until the nuts are finely ground.  Add the egg whites and butter, and pulse until the mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed to ensure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups or molds, then sprinkle the tops with the remaining sesame seeds and flake sea salt.  Rap the muffin tin or molds on the counter once or twice to release any air pockets and level the batter.  Bake just until the financiers feel firm when gently pressed with a finger, about 12 minutes, rotating pan front to back halfway through baking time.

Let cool completely, then remove the financiers from the muffin cups, or molds.

If you're brave enough to attempt them, they are well and truly worth the small effort.  (Not counting the effort of attempting to decipher a language I don't speak, the first failed baking attempt, and the effort it took not to throw said failure at the wall.)

I messed up, so you don't have to.

You're welcome.


  1. well worth the effort! these were so good and such a hit at the show. Good work Mrs.

  2. yum, i love matcha! these are beautiful!