Last week was a tease. A brief moment of the promise of fall, and as I do every year, I started to get ahead of myself. While I didn’t go so far as to pull the sweaters from hibernation, I did start to dream of dutch ovens and pressure cookers and all the hearty soup, stew and stocks that would soon be coming.

And of course, the beautiful week is followed up by the seventh or ninth or seventy ninth heatwave of the year, and so my dreams were set aside for a few more weeks. But since my oven is perpetually on, I thought I’d share a perfect in between season sweet, and hold a contest for the perfect baking molds for them, courtesy of the lovely people at cookware.com!

Financiers are just the most lovely of cakes. They are loaded with rich brown butter, and lightened by the addition of powdered sugar. Hearty, soft and delicate they also can pack in a lot of flavor, pretty much anything you choose. Inspired by a flavor combination I fell in love with on a trip to Belieze, these treats are bursting with coconut and bathed in a delicious banana chocolate ganache. These cakes are endlessly versatile. They can be baked in one large round or in adorable individual molds. The best part yet… extra batter can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, making freshly baked dessert available to you at a moments notice.


And to make these beautiful babies just as adorable as they can be, I’m giving away two silicone baking mold sheets from cookware.com. To enter, leave a comment under this post about your own autumn inspired culinary fantasies by 5pm Friday, September 3, 2010 and I’ll pick a winner, and announce them on Tuesday, September 7th.

Link

For the Financiers:
(Inspired by a recipe by Sherry Yard)

8 oz or 2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup coconut flour (Bob’s Red Mill is one brand)
3/4 cup cake flour
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
8 egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp natural coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium high, and cook it until the milk solids start to brown. Watch it carefully to prevent it from burning. Like caramel, its really easy to go from brown deliciousness, to burnt as you blink. Its also best to use a lighter colored pot for this, so you can see the transformation. Set the butter aside to cool for at least a half hour. If the butter is too hot it will ruin the cakes, so definitely let it sit but don’t refrigerate it either. It needs to stay liquid.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pans you’re using by spraying with pan spray, or butter and flour them. Silicone pans shouldn’t need more than a quick spray.

To amp up the flavor of the coconut flour, add it to a pan on the stove and toast it over high heat, stirring constantly to keep it toasting evenly and avoid burning it. It just takes a few moments to turn a warm toasted color. Let this cool. Sift the cooled coconut flour, cake flour and sugar and salt into the bowl of a standing mixer, and mix with the paddle attachment to combine. Combine the egg whites and extracts. Add this all at once to the flour mix and set to medium speed, mixing for 3 minutes.

Add the cooled butter all at once, scrapping down all those delicious brown bits, and mix for another 3 minutes. To make it easy to put into the individual sized pans, I transfer the mix to a pastry bag (plastic bag with the end cut off works just fine too) and fill the sections about 3/4 of the way up. Bake at 350 until just barely golden and set to to the touch… or the top bounces back when you touch the center of the cakes. I know you want times, and I’m sorry that I can’t provide them… every oven is different, pan size, type etc can all add or subtract from timing, so the best indicator to start to watch them is your nose. When you start to smell that delicious coconut flavor, its time to keep a close eye. You’ll be a better baker for it. Trust me.

When done, move them to a cooling rack, and unmold as soon as you can safely touch them.

The sauce:

4 oz heavy cream
4 oz best quality chocolate
1 large banana
1/8 tsp salt

Turn oven to 375. Poke banana a few times with the tip of a knife. Place it in the center of the oven and roast it until black…about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. If your bananas are very ripe, you can skip this step.

Heat cream in a small sauce pan till boiling. Pour boiling cream over chocolate and let this sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk this until the cream and chocolate combines fully, into a shiny chocolate mixture. Put the banana and salt into the bowl of the food processor… process until smooth, then add the chocolate and process until fully combined and smooth.

Pour the chocolate cream on the plates, and place the cake on top. If you’d like to make the garnish, take another banana, slice it and dip the slices into granulated sugar. Use a kitchen torch to brule the sugar. If you don’t have a torch handy, you can do this in a broiler, watching it carefully to prevent burning. Let them cool before touching them, then place on the tops of your cakes.