I am very pleased with this dessert. It is a tiny, tender, pale green cake paired with a tart, floral, pink compote. One of the many things that I love about financiers (and compotes actually) is that they taste better after a few days. You might look at this recipe and think that you ought to reduce it by half. Don’t do that. Make the whole batch and eat Pistachio Financiers with Rhubarb and Cherry Compote for tea all week long!
I adapted the recipe for pistachio financiers from the excellent book Perfect Cakes by Nick Malgieri. I added a tiny bit of cardamom because it goes so well with pistachios and it is my favourite dessert spice (Carrot Cardamom Muffins, Cardamom and Almond Berry Macaroons, Poached Pear and Cardamom Apple Butter Tart). I also tried a few different combinations of flours to make it gluten-free. I was happiest with the version posted here, which uses brown rice flour, tapioca starch and arrowroot starch to create a classic crumb and clean flavour. However, I also had no difficulty at all gobbling up a version that used almond meal in place of the 1 cup of flours and starches. The financiers made with almond meal were not so much cake as a sweet and dense nut pudding. If you can eat gluten just use a cup of white all-purpose wheat flour in place of the 1 cup of flours and starches that I used.
The first time I made these financiers, I found myself wishing that it was cherry season so that I could serve them with a sour cherry compote. Maybe it’s because of the bit of cherry brandy in the batter? But when the rhubarb showed up, I realized that a nice tart pink rhubarb compote with a handful of dried sour cherries would do the trick. I added rosewater to the compote, which is not my own ingenious idea, but one that I got from this amazing rhubarb fool recipe last spring.
The pistachios on top are important. So important that I am giving them their own paragraph. They add crunch. Don’t skip the crunchy topping. I’m only being so bossy because I am very pleased with this dessert and I want you to be pleased with it too.
adapted from perfect cakes by Nick Malgieri
- 10 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering the tins
- 2 Tablespoons Kirsch
- 2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, divided in half
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup arrowroot
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 8 room temperature eggs whites (about 1 cup)
- a pinch of salt
- Extra shelled, chopped pistachios to sprinkle on top (don’t skip this!)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 48 mini muffin tins, 24 regular muffin tins or 12 mini loaf pans.
- Melt the butter, remove it from the heat and stir in the Kirsch and vanilla extract. Set it aside to cool
- Combine the pistachios and 3/4 cup sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. The finer the grind the more green and beautiful your cake will be. Combine the nut and sugar mixture with the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot and cardamom in a large bowl.
- In another clean large bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a steady stream, beating until the mixture forms soft peaks again.
- Starting with the nuts and ending with the melted, cooled butter, alternately fold the pistachios and the butter mixtures into the egg whites, one-third at a time.
- Fill your tins 3/4 full with the batter. That is about a half cup of batter for mini loaf pans, 1/3 cup batter for muffin and 1/4 cup batter for mini muffins. Bake in the center of the oven until the cakes are firm in the center (about 20 minutes for mini muffins, 25 minutes for regular muffins, 35 minutes for mini loaves). While they are baking make the Rhubarb Cherry Compote.
RHUBARB SOUR CHERRY COMPOTE
- 1 and 1/2 pounds rhubarb
- 1/2 pound dry sour cherries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup water
- 3-4 Tablespoons rosewater (optional but highly recommended)
- Combine the rhubarb, water and sugar in a pot and bring to boil.
- Add the cherries and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and the sauce begins to thicken just a bit.
- Serve the financiers in a pool of rhubarb cherry compote and sprinkle some pistachios on top.