Brown butter pecan financier

Last year I canned for the first time.  It was a peach conserve out of Hilaire Walden’s Perfect Preserves.  It was so delicious that come next peach season, I wanted to make a dessert to feature it.  Now that summer is in its final throes and peaches will soon be put to sleep for another year, I have my chance with a most delicious brown butter and pecan financier (we all know how much I love brown butter).

Brown Butter Pecan Financier

Since I am always making ice cream, I always have egg whites on hand.  Angle food cakes are well and good for using up egg whites, but so are financiers.  The financier recipe I used is from Nick Malgieri’s Perfect Cakes, which is one of my go to cookbooks (so much so that it is falling apart).  Instead of his hazelnut and rum financier, I use pecans and bourbon.

Brown Butter Pecan Financier
makes a 10-inch round cake
4 oz pecans, toasted
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
5 oz butter
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup egg whites
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar

In a food processor, finely grind the pecans and first sugar.  Pour into a bowl and combine with the flour.  In a saucepan, melt and brown the butter, stirring often to avoid burning the milk solids.  Set the butter aside to cool, and then stir in the bourbon and vanilla.

Whip egg whites and salt to very soft peak and then slowly add the second sugar and beat until they hold a soft peak again.  Alternately fold in the dry ingredients and butter one-third at a time.  Pour into a greased and parchment-lined pan and smooth the top.

Bake at 350º for about 50 minutes or until the cake is well risen and golden.  The center should feel firm when pressed.  Cool the cake in the pan for a bit, then unmold, and continue to cool right side up.

Peach and Tuaca Conserve
makes about a quart
2-1/2 lb peaches
Juice of 2 lemons
3 cup of sugar
Half a vanilla bean
1 tbsp of butter
4 tbsp Tuaca
3 tbsp champagne vinegar (optional to cut the sweetness more)

Peel, pit and chop the peaches.  Place the peaches in a saucepan with the lemon juice, sugar and scraped vanilla bean, stir to combine and heat to a boil.  Reduce the heat and gently cook for 15-20 minutes until the peaches are tender.  Add the butter and turn up the heat to boil hard, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes until it reaches about 220º on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat and stir in the Tuaca and champagne vinegar if using.  Allow to cool and store in a container in the fridge.

For the plated dessert, I made the financier as a sheet to facilitate a more interesting plating than the usual cake slice (which I’ve done to death lately).  The recipe above will perfectly fit a half-sheet.  The financier is quite rich on it’s own and pairing it with this conserve makes for a dessert that is definitely on the sweet side.  To counter this, I serve it with some softly whipped crème fraîche rather than whipped cream and then sprinkle on some slightly salted candied pecans.