Friday, April 12, 2013

French Fridays with Dorie: Blood Orange Financiers - Last Stop on the Sweet Train

I've been riding the Sweet Train these past few weeks and I think it's time to get off...

I recall boarding the train when Holli gifted me with a few treats from Miette, San Francisco's 'most charming pastry shop.' Holli graciously allows me to live vicariously through her travels with edible delicacies like aged balsamic vinegar from her Italy trip and these Lavender Shortbread Cookies and Rosettes (rose geranium meringues) from her recent jaunt to SF. Take note FFwD people - if you have any rose syrup left after making your Ispahan Loaf Cake, and I KNOW you do, why not try making these little meringue kisses? They smell and taste heavenly.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies and Rosettes

Next stop was my kitchen on Easter Sunday. My chocolate craving kicked in and I was all over Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake. I don't know how I missed this one back in January 2011, but it's done and gone now.

Michel Rostang's Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

I continued on my sweet journey last Friday when I decided to prepare a very decadent dessert for Hillari's Saturday night birthday party - Nancy Silverton's Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel Sauce and Whipped Creme Fraiche served with Rosemary-Pine Nut Cookies. Sip Wine Bar tempted me with this luscious Italian pudding late last year, and I made it over the holidays, but never got around to blogging the recipe. My review of the wine bar didn't make it to Wine & Dine San Diego either, after the restaurant and wine bar closed its doors in the dark of night. I guess that's life in the restaurant business.

Butterscotch Budino at Sip Wine Bar, Del Mar

The recipe isn't complicated, but it does take time, and every bowl and pan in your kitchen. I prefer to make the budino the day before and the caramel sauce and whipped creme fraiche a few hours before serving. It helps when a pastry chef shows up at your door just as you start whipping the cream and offers to take over. Say yes.

Master Pastry Chef at work

Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies

The dessert was a hit (don't ask about the few that perished under the sprinklers) and the party was a blast, especially the photo shoot in the designated photo bed studio off the kitchen. Yes, the wine flowed freely at the party house on Ocean and I came home with over 200 fun photos ;-)

A pile of friends

The following day, the train stopped for a bittersweet Celebration of Life. About 25 years ago, Linda introduced me to the wonderful world of Newfoundlands with my first puppy, Ashley. Sadly, Linda lost her courageous battle to cancer in January and her family, friends, and fellow Newfoundland Club members gathered to share tears, stories and memories. We love and miss you, Linda. Please give my Ashley, Diver and Dooley big hugs and tell them Trapper is taking good care of me.

For the dessert buffet, I baked mini Ad Hoc at Home Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Ad Hoc Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Although I have tears streaming down my face again, for Linda, for her husband Steve, and for the three Newfs who once shared my life, I must get to my last sweet - this week's French Fridays with Dorie Financiers. I just so happened to have six egg whites left over from the budino and they happily found a home in these cute almond and beurre noisette (brown butter) tea cakes. Read all about them, and some creative variations, in this New York Times article, The Pastry Chef's Rich Little Secret...

"It's a simple almond cake, leavened by egg whites, moistened with browned butter and baked into a small mold. But such simplicity is deceiving: the classic French pastry called the financier is exquisitely refined. It is springy, sweet and nutty with an exterior that's as crisp as an eggshell."

Blood Orange Financiers

The article talks about texture and says if you use almond flour, the cake will be finer but denser. If you grind your almonds, it will be coarser and rustic. I used Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour which is fairly course and gave the cakes that rustic texture. Dorie offers bonne idees for fruit or chocolate versions. Placing raspberries in the center is common, but I choose to use blood orange triangles and supremes. I also used a mini muffin tin since I don't own the traditional rectangular financier molds.

These didn't knock my socks off, but at least I'm finally off the Sweet Train...

Best served freshly baked and warm

Sweet dreams,

     -Denise & Trapper


French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!


Cher Rockwell said...

I always enjoy your take on things - lovely roundup!

Patty Price said...

Love the blood orange slices in your financiers! Looks like a fun week of wine-ing and dining and being on the sweet train-not a bad place to hang out for awhile ;-)

HolliDe said...

What a wonderful post! I am so happy to have been part of your train ride; it was a decadent journey. Looking forward to many more culinary trips with you, my dear friend. Much love and continued success in the kitchen and the media <3

Trevor Sis Boom said...

Well I don't know. I think those blood oranges in my financiers really WOULD have knocked me socks off and they LOOK just fantastic. I'm now obsessing over that chocolate cake. I forgot how much I wanted to make that one again.

Bev said...

What a wonderful & fun blog you have! And such a fab idea to use blood oranges in your recipe- I adore those. Also, love the photos & comments about your Newfoundlands- such beautiful & majestic dogs!12703

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Denise, there are so many incredibly wonderful treats in this post that I do not really know where to start...the idea to add small pieces of blood oranges to your finanaciers is wonderful and creative, it is certainly a nice change from the usual fruit additions. The Double Chocolate Mousse Cake looks like utter perfection, so does the Butterscotch Budino but I am most intrigued by the Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies, I looked up the recipe and it graces my fridge door now - I must make these, I love the addition of herbs in my cookies.
So sorry to hear about your friend but I hope you will have a nice weekend - always such a true pleasure to visit your blog!

Liz Berg said...

Mmmmm...your blood orange version looks magnificent! As do all the other treats you've shared. Rose syrup? As a matter of fact, I have a lifetime supply ;)

Betsy said...

I skipped the berries because they're not yet in season, but I like your use of citrus. I wish I'd thought of that before I baked the last batch. Next time. I can think of worse things to be the caboose on the sweet train.

Mary Hirsch said...

I just kept reading and reading and reading and hoping your Post wouldn't ever end, Denise. Like the others, several of your posted recipes intrique me. We have an Open FFWD week in May - Your Choice - and I think I will do the Dk. Choc. Mousse Cake - I missed that and you inspired me. I lfound the financiers very tasty. The blood orange was a clever addition. I am enjoying your beautiful Cook the Cover Post and BA should be most impressed by your pictures. Losing a good friend is always so sad. I am so sorry.