Thursday, 4 September 2014

Matcha Financiers with Redcurrants

Following on from my newly discovered love for baking financiers, I decided to do a little experimentation with the basic recipe and these are the initial result. This is essentially the same recipe as the one that I have previously given, the only difference being that I have substituted green tea powder for some of the plain flour and have used vanilla in place of the almond extract. I felt that the almond extract might be too assertive against the delicate almost herbaceous taste of the matcha green tea. I decided that vanilla would complement the flavour of the matcha much more effectively.
 
Green tea and in particular Japanese matcha green tea is lauded as possessing great health giving properties and restorative qualities. In many ways, matcha is an acquired taste, but luckily it is one that I have acquired and I love its taste. Ironically, I rarely drink it as a beverage, but do use it quite regularly in my baking.

The challenge facing the cook when using it in recipes is to use enough so that it imparts its beautiful vibrant almost artificial-looking green colour into those dishes in which it is used, but without using too much so that the food tastes ‘grassy’ or bitter. For this reason, I have given a specific weight of matcha powder which I recommend be used in this recipe, rather than giving a more vague teaspoon measurement.

Matcha can be difficult to get your hands on and Asian food stores would be your best bet in this regard. Alternatively, it can be bought online. It is expensive to buy, but provided you store it in the foil pouch that it is normally sold in, it keeps well and lasts an eternity.

To be completely honest, I made these financiers because I still had some redcurrants remaining after the original financiers that I made, but I am delighted with the result and think that the redcurrants work fantastically well with the matcha from a flavour point of view but the colour contrast is also fantastic. When my eldest daughter saw them, she declared them to be very Christmassy looking. She may have a point and if you were to substitute cranberries for the redcurrants, they would have a definite festive feel to them! This is what I love about cooking and baking… once you understand the basic principles behind a certain technique or the basic recipe, you can then adapt it to your own tastes and let your imagination run riot, substituting different nuts or fruits or other ingredients. Sometimes the results won’t be great, but you may also discover some hidden culinary gems that will then go on to be mainstays in your cooking repertoire.

The nature of writing a blog of this type dictates that in the main you will only ever post recipes that have been success and that you have tried and tested thoroughly. I can declare in absolute honesty, that everything you see on this blog has been tried out and cooked by me a number of times. What you don’t see are some of my less successful cookery and recipe experiments or the many attempts (resulting in failure) that I have made at creating notoriously technically difficult recipes like macarons, canelés, to mention a few.
 

Ingredients:

75g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
45g plain flour
10g matcha green tea powder
4 large egg whites
¼ tsp vanilla extract
75g unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool a little
75g fresh redcurrants
 

Method:

1. Using a pastry brush, butter 22-24 holes of a mini-muffin tin and then flour them, shaking out any excess. Set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the ground almonds, icing sugar flour and green tea powder. Add the egg whites and almond extract to the dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well mixed through. Next, add the melted butter and mix again until it is fully incorporated. Cover the mixing bowl with some cling film and refrigerate the cake batter for at least 30 minutes.
To bake the financiers:
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Spoon or pipe the cake batter into the prepared tins, filling each about 2/3 full. Pop 3 or 4 redcurrants on top of each financier and then bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes until well risen, slightly springy to the touch and just beginning to colour around the edge.
4. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Remove from the tins and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 22-24.