I have a few minutes to write as I sit on my porch, under the icicle Christmas lights I rebelliously refuse to take down, contemplating what else to do with all the cherries I swiped today from an ancient tree in someone’s front lawn. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
On a food blog site yesterday I spotted some adorable little financiers. I wanted to reach in and pull them out of my screen by their little stems. They were so cute in fact; I just had to make them! Unfortunately, little sour cherries aren’t sold around here. You have to have a tree, or find some growing on a tree.
I don’t exactly know anyone with a sour cherry tree, but I knew where there was one. A very old large one left over from what was once an orchard. I grabbed a sack, my small daughter, the newly sheared overexcited Miniature Australian Shepherd, and ran out to see about collecting a “few”. We arrive and knock on the door. No one is home, just great. So, what to do? What would you do?
Um well, the cherries were perfect, better than perfect and wouldn’t last but a couple more days on that tree. So, I started to pick everything I could reach, which wasn’t a lot as I’m a shorty, and that old tree is the cherry equivalent of a great oak.
Now the key to stealing cherries is to look like you know what the hell you’re doing. Look like you are supposed to be there, as everyone across the street in the public park is eyeballing you like the crazy thief you are. Ok I am kind of an intruder and likely crazy, but those beautiful cherries would go to waste without me.
Here’s the best part though, these delicious financiers will be eaten tomorrow by City Hall. That usually means the mayor on down, as well as the police department. Do you think they would eat them if they knew I pilfered the cherries? I’m betting they would! These little goodies are super cute and delicious! Just please don't tell them...
Maybe, just maybe, these adorable treats taste even better because of the forbidden fruit!
Sour Cherry Financiers
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup powdered or caster sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
24 sour cherries, pitted from the bottom so the stem remains attached (Or sideways with a cherry pitter)
1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease a 24ct mini muffin pan with butter. Set aside
2. Spread the almond meal in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until slightly golden. Let cool.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the solids separate and turn lightly toasted. The butter will take on a fragrant, nutty aroma, and a golden, honey color.
4. Use a fine strainer lined with cheesecloth or (in a pinch) paper towel, to strain out the solids. Reserve the clear golden butter, and let cool to room temperature.
5. In the base of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, flour, salt, and almond meal until well combined. Add the egg whites, 1/3 at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and the browned butter and beat until smooth and kind of gluey but silky. (Keep going it will get there)
6. Use a tablespoon to measure out a tablespoon of batter per muffin tin. (I used a size 60 mini cookie scoop) Gently place one pitted cherry in the center with the stem poking straight up.
7. Bake at 375ºF for 12-15 minutes each, or until slightly crisp and golden brown on the edges. Cool in the pan for ten minutes before gently pulling them out (don't hold them by the stems while they're still hot) and letting them cool on a wire rack.
Notes: The financiers are even better the next day. They're softer and the flavors mingle together in a sort of cherry almond heaven.
Recipe comes from Alejandra Ramos. Visit this great post and her beautiful blog, Always Order Dessert @ http://www.alwaysorderdessert.com/2009/07/sour-cherry-financier.html
Pictures by Laura Flowers