Monday, June 1, 2009

We Have Celebrated


My goodness people, did we ever have a birthday weekend around here. So. Fun. Out of town guests bearing presents from Maine and a dog that could charm the socks off of a doorknob. A hike out to a stunning waterfall and swimming hole just east and south of Asheville. Music. Summer beers. The giving of many excellent birthday gifts, including a massage table for the acupuncturist-in-training from my mum, B's mum and dad, and me. Meals outside on our new backyard table and chairs; meals like waffles with blueberries, barbecue, over easy eggs with garden greens, refreshing summer salads, salmon baked with ume paste, garlic, garlic scapes, and basil...


Oh, and some carrot cake cupcakes, with pecans and dried apricots. And, in a fit of ambition I decided to try my hand at Pecan Financiers, our absolute favorite thing to eat from our favorite bakery in our most favorite town of Portland, Maine. Risky, giving it a go at something someone else has already perfected. And so many recipes to choose from! Yeesh. So I held my breath and picked one. Lucky break, because this recipe, with a few modifications, pretty much baked up spitting images of our beloved Portland goodies. I could hardly believe it, and you should have seen the husband's face when I pulled a plate of these out. For anyone who has never indulged in a Financier, they are traditionally a browned butter (swoon), ground almond, sugar, and egg white affair, with various fruit or chocolate embellishments. I'm sure that almonds are quite tasty, but we fell in love with a pecan version, so that's what I made; I just toasted roughly chopped pecans and then ground them in the food processor (no blanching). Also, the benchmark Financiers are baked in a brioche pan, rather than a Madeleine style or bar style baking mold. Lastly, chocolate, dark, plopped right in the center midway through the baking. This recipe did have one of the worst descriptions of how to brown butter, so go here if you are giving this a try for the first time. Also, since the brioche pans are bigger than a traditional mold (this recipe will only make four of them), the baking time must be adjusted, but definitely get them brown and toasty on the edges. Oh! Also, I didn't strain the browned butter because I like things Very Brown Buttery.

6 comments:

judith said...

sounds so rich and sweet, this party, this life, these friends.... any chance of pics of outdoor furnishings? xoxo j

The Sorry Gardener said...

Nice picture, yet again. And now I have to go to bed craving yummy things to eat.

Zarah Maria said...

If that is not a weekend to treasure, I don't know what is :)

machinelf said...

Those things look delish!

So when are we going to get a chicken update? :-)

dig this chick said...

wow you little baker. congrats! always so satisfying to attempt replication of a favorite and succeed. I always get to learn new culinary words when I come to your blog. fun. happy birthday to your b!

cake said...

i love the photo of the garlic scapes! we made some soup out of ours.

i can't bring myself to get a special pan to make those gorgeous treats you describe, but if i see one at a thrift store or garage sale, i'll back here for that recipe. i trust you on the browned butter, after trying those chocolate chip cookies you mentioned!wow.

i have a memory of a cookie i used to get from an italian bakery when i visited st.louis a few times in college. i'd love to find a way to re-create those. looks like you made you dreams come true (not to mention B's).