Baker Sweet Maker - Shirl Gard
Apple Financier Cakes
Author: Shirl Gard
These addictive little cakes come from a recipe that I developed for the chef's tasting menu when I was the pastry chef at The Old Inn On The Green in New Marlborough, MA. I recommend making the Financier Batter and the Chunky Apple Filling the day before, and if you have time, also roll out the puff pastry and cut out the rounds for the crust. Assembling and baking will go quickly if you've done some of the prep work ahead of time. Honeycrisp apples are my favorite apple for this dessert because they are crisp, tart and sweet all at the same time, but they are usually available only in the fall. A good alternative is Granny Smith apples, and because they are available year round, you can make these cakes any time.

4-oz aluminum cake pans, lined with thin puff pastry

  • YIELD: 575g (1# 4 oz)
  • 115 grams browned butter (beurre noisette), cooled (1/2 cup)
  • - Start with 150g (10 tablespoons) butter to yield 115g browned (=75% of original weight)
  • 180 grams egg whites (6 large)
  • 190 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup +3 tablespoons)
  • - Divided in half
  • 50 grams almond flour (1/2 cup)
  • 25 grams hazelnut flour (1/4 cup)
  • 75 grams all-purpose flour (1/2 cup + 1½ teaspoons)
  • ¼ teasoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • YIELD: 775g (1# 11 oz)
  • 1050 grams Honeycrisp (or Granny Smith) apples - peeled, cored, and cut into ⅜" dice
  • - About 5 large apples (2# 5 oz)
  • - Net weight of prepped apples = 750g (1# zo oz)
  • 160 grams honey (8 tablespoons / ½ cup)
  • 60 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick / 4 tablespoons)
  • 45 grams Calvados (French Brandy) (3 tablespoons)
  • 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 15 grams Instant ClearJel (2 tablespoons)
  • - One package Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed overnight in refrigerator
  • - Each sheet will yield nine 6" rounds for a total of 18. Use 10 for this recipe and freeze the balance for another use
  • 30 grams sliced blanched almonds (1/4 cup)
  1. FOR THE FINANCIER BATTER: PREP BROWNED BUTTER (beurre noisette) FIRST: Cook the 150g (10 tablespoons) butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Cover loosely with a folded piece of aluminum foil because the water content of the butter causes it to pop and splatter. After 5 minutes, the butter will be foaming. Watch closely the second 5 minutes. As the butter continues to cook, the milk solids in the butter will brown and drop to the bottom of the pan; the butter will turn a golden brown. Skimming off the foam will allow you to better see the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat after about 10 minutes when the solids in the bottom of the pan reach a nut brown. Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve. Weigh out the 115g (1/2 cup) needed for the recipe and let cool.
  2. BEAT the egg whites In the Kitchen Aid mixer on medium speed until frothy, using the paddle. Gradually add half the sugar with the mixer running. Turn off mixer.
  3. WHISK the other half of the sugar with almond flour, hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Sift the flour mixture through a tamis, then add to the egg whites and sugar in the mixer. Mix on medium speed (#5) for 5 minutes until light in color.
  4. ADD the cool beurre noisette and almond extract.
  5. MIX 1 more minute. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.
  6. REFRIGERATE until ready to bake. Tastes better after 2-3 days in refrigerator. Will keep refrigerated for up to two weeks.
  7. FOR THE CHUNKY APPLE FILLING: TOSS the prepped apples with the honey.
  8. HEAT the butter in a large 12" skillet on medium-high heat until sizzling and just starting to brown.
  9. ADD apples to the skillet, turn heat to high and bring up to a simmer. Add Calvados. Cook 5 minutes.
  10. WHISK together the sugar and Instant ClearJel and stir into apples.
  11. FINISH cooking until the apples are tender, another 5 minutes. Taste the apples for doneness; they should be tender but still have a crisp texture.
  12. TO BAKE THE FILLING AS AN ALTERNATIVE METHOD OF COOKING: Combine the apple chunks with honey, melted butter, and Calvados. Whisk sugar and Instant ClearJel together and then mix into apples. BAKE uncovered @ 350°F (176°C) in a foil-lined quarter or half sheet pan for about 35 minutes, until tender.
  13. TRANSFER filling to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
  14. USE right away or refrigerate for up to one week, if making ahead.
  15. PREP PANS: Arrange 10 4-ounce aluminum pans on a parchment-lined half sheet pan. Spray with Pam (with flour).
  16. PREP THE PUFF PASTRY: ROLL out the sheets of thawed puff pastry on floured counter. Roll each sheet to an 18" X 18" square. The pastry will be very thin. From each sheet, cut out nine 6" diameter rounds using a 6" cutter, or make a template from a cake board and cut out the rounds using a sharp paring knife. STACK the puff pastry rounds between sheets of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour before filling the pans. Or, the sheets of dough can be frozen at this point, for up to a month, if you want to make ahead.
  17. LINE THE PANS: FIT the chilled 6" rounds of thin puff pastry into the pans, pleating the top edges in order to ease in the dough, and allowing the excess dough hang over the edges of the pans.
  18. PRE-HEAT THE OVEN TO 425°F (218° C).
  19. TO ASSEMBLE FINANCIERS: THREE LAYERS PER PAN - For the first layer, scoop Financier Batter into the bottom of each pan, using a # 40 Purple Scoop (25 grams). For the second layer, add a scoop of Chunky Apple Filling to each pan, using a #16 Blue Scoop (75 grams). For the third layer, place another #40 Purple Scoop (25 grams) of Financier Batter on top of the apple filling in each pan. Spread each layer with the back of a spoon or small offset spatula until level. SPRINKLE the sliced blanched almonds on top of the cakes and fold the overhanging dough inward toward the center creating a ruffled edge.
  20. BAKE 10 minutes at 425°F (218° C). Turn oven down to 400°F (204° C) and bake another 10 minutes. Rotate pan and bake 4 to 5 minutes more, until the tops and the crusts are both golden brown. Total baking time 24-25 minutes.
  21. COOL in the pans 10-15 minutes before removing.
  22. SERVE warm, cold, or at room temperature.
  23. TO MAKE AHEAD: These cakes freeze well. If you want to make ahead, freeze in the pans placed in a plastic bag.
Recipe Ancestry Notes:
The recipe for Financier Batter was given to me 9/04/98 by Gilles Lavergne, a pastry chef from France that I worked with for a few years at Wheatleigh when I first became a pastry chef . The recipe is a winner, and even though I tried other recipes for Financiers over the years, I always returned to this one because it had the best flavor. The Chunky Apple Filling was inspired by the apple filling included in the Apple Financier Tart recipe in François Payard's [i]Simply Sensational Desserts: 140 Recipes for the Home Baker (1999).[/i]
Recipe by ShirlGard at