Financiers with candied orange zest

Rachel Khoo's financiers mean business.
Rachel Khoo's financiers mean business. Photo: William Meppem

They say the name for this popular French patisserie derives from the shape of these dainty cakes, traditionally cooked in a gold bar-shaped mould. You’ll need six individual 60-millilitre moulds, available at cookware stores. Add a shimmer of edible gold dust for that extra bit of glamour.

Ingredients

For the candied orange zest

1 orange

120g castor sugar, plus 40g for dusting the zest

60ml water

Financiers

100g unsalted butter

50g ground almonds

35g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

60g icing sugar

3 eggs, separated

180g icing sugar

2 tbsp water

gold dust spray, edible gold dust and gold leaf, to decorate

Method

1. With a vegetable peeler in long strips, remove the zest from the orange. Cut into a fine julienne using a sharp knife. Place julienned zest in a small heat-resistant bowl and pour enough boiling water over the zest to cover. Let it stand for 30 minutes before draining through a sieve.

2. Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, add the orange zest and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove zest from the syrup with a slotted spoon, spread on a baking tray and toss with the castor sugar. Set aside until using.

3. Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Keep it on the heat until it begins to colour and smells nutty. Decant into a small bowl and set aside. Measure the ground almonds into another bowl,  then sift the flour, sugar and baking powder into the bowl. Give it a good whisk to combine.

4. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In a separate bowl whisk the yolks into the cooled butter and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated. Fold the egg whites into the mixture and place in the fridge to rest for an hour.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. For ease, I put the batter in a piping bag, snip off the end and pipe just about to the top of the mould, minus about half a centimetre. Do this in batches. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until the top is golden. Cool in the moulds for a couple of minutes, then run a palette knife around the edges and flip on to a wire rack to cool.

6. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the water one tablespoon at a time. You want quite a thick icing, so adjust the water accordingly. Once the financiers have cooled, smooth half a teaspoon of icing over the tops evenly, top with the candied orange then spray with gold dust and bits of gold leaf.