Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chewy Lemon Pistachio Finaniers

Chris and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen today... I baked 4 batches of cookies, Chris made marshmallows, Portuguese Sweet Bread, and beer can chicken for dinner. :) Good times. Well, at least our version of good times.

I have never had a financier cookie before in fact, I'm not even sure I've heard of one before. But, I was looking for cookies to bake and came across this recipe in my Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey book. I had lemons to use up, I had a container of egg whites waiting to be used in the fridge, and we had just bought two large bags of pistachios so I figured this would be a good way to use everything up. I didn't have a financier pan, don't even know what one looks like, but the book said you could bake them in mini muffin pans too, so that's what I did.

They're interesting little things. I'm not quite sure I would call them a cookie, but they're not really a muffin either. The texture is nice and light and moist, which I expected from all the egg whites and powdered sugar, but not "muffin-like" at all. The flavor is mostly lemon with a hint of pistachio, and just a touch too much egg flavor for my tastes. When they were warm from the oven still the egg flavor was pretty strong and gave me an immediate negative impression of them. Luckily that flavor fades to the background once they cool off and the lemon comes forward.

I can definitely see trying a different version of them, just to see what other options are out there, but if they all have the eggy flavor to them, I probably won't experiment with them too much.

1/2 cup almond meal (or ground blanched almonds)
1 cup ground shelled and toasted unsalted pistachios
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup sugar
zest of two lemons
8 large egg whites
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Combine the ground almonds, pistachios, and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar in a food processor. Grind the nuts and sugar together until the mixture is very fine and powdery.

Transfer the nut mixture to a large bowl and stir in the granulated sugar, lemon zest, egg whites and vanilla until just smooth and combined. Sift the flour and salt together onto a piece of waxed paper and gently fold into the batter.

Carefully stir in the melted butter into the batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the batter very cold and firm, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 450. Spray the mold of a financier pan, cups of mini muffin or muffin top pan, or small decorative molds with nonstick cooking spray. Fill the molds 3/4 full of batter. Place the filled pan or other pans on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 400 and bake until firm and golden, about 7 minutes longer. Remove them from the oven and unmold immediately and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

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