I have taken to reading quirky non-fiction books lately. The type of books that are memoir-style and take the readers on a journey through the lives of the author. In particular, I find myself drawn to books that take place in exotic locales, far away from my own city. Most recently, I finished the book Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. This lovely light read explores how Elizabeth finds love in Paris and ultimately makes this once foreign locale her home through food.
Food is one of the great binders of humanity. If we can’t find a commonality anywhere else, we can certainly find it amongst plates of steaming hot rice, tender ropes of meat, and the decadent richness of dessert. Food is love. And ultimately food can make a lasting connection to the land, leading you to call someplace home.
I absolutely loved the book Lunch in Paris. I think she did a great job narrating her emotions and experiences, and she developed an image of Paris in my mind that is quaint and melancholic. As if I were walking along the streets of Paris with her. In fact, I never understood everyone’s fascination with Paris, but after reading her book I can finally see the appeal. Hopefully one day I can add Paris to my list of places I have traveled to.
Ultimately, what makes Elizabeth’s book unique is her interweaving of personal recipes that marked important moments in her life in Paris. She does a wonderful job describing the dishes, but more importantly, she pays homage to the thought and effort that went into seeking the ingredients. After reading her book, I decided to try my hand at one of the recipes – financiers aux framboises or Raspberry Financiers since I had all the ingredients on hand.
Raspberry Financiers are small muffins made out of almond flour and butter. In the center, you place a small raspberry (or any berry) and bake them at a high temperature for a short amount of time. The end result is a sweet, slightly chewy and incredibly buttery muffin.
This raspberry financiers recipe make the perfect dish to serve with afternoon tea or coffee. In the book, she mentions how they were taken to a picnic and were devoured within minutes. They are that tasty!
These mini french muffins are best served warm from the oven with a dusting of icing sugar.
Mini French muffins made with Almond flour! This recipe is adapted from Elizabeth Bard's book Lunch in Paris.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 F degrees. Combine the flours and the icing sugar in a large bowl and set aside. Melt the butter and let cool. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl combine your egg whites with a pinch of salt and beat them on high for 10 seconds max. You just want it to be frothy.
Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture and combine gently. Add the egg yolk and the vanilla, the mixture will look a bit dense. Then add the butter. At this point, it will look like too much butter but do not panic, keep on mixing until everything is incorporated.
Spoon dollops of the financiers into mini muffin molds (either lined or unlined), and place a single berry on top. Gently push it in, so that half of the berry is in the financier but do not push it all the way in.
Bake the financiers for 7-10 minutes, or until they are brown and crisp on the outside. I found that 7 minutes was perfect while 11 minutes made them quite crispy on the outside (but still soft on the inside). Serve with a dusting of icing sugar!
* I used frozen raspberries and blueberries but I encourage you to use fresh if possible.
** At first it may seem like it is too much butter being added, but the batter will thicken and absorb it all.
*** The financiers can be left in an airtight container for up to 3 days, but they don't last that long because everyone will eat them within 1 hour!