Spring and Subpar Stone Fruit

 

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When something bad happens to you and knocks you off course for a while, it’s good to try to stay busy, productive, be kind to yourself, watch copious amounts of Game of Thrones and Nashville, and avoid listening too much to the radio (because songs). Except country music. Also wine. Wine is good.

So I got these nectarines because they smelled like summer. But alas, they didn’t taste like summer, so I decided to bake them into something, because even subpar fruit will tend to get sweet and luscious in the baking. And browned butter can heal any heartache, and make anything taste heavenly.

Almond, Browned Butter and Nectarine Financiers
Adapted from hint of vanilla – yield: 8 little cakes

  • 60 g almond flour/almond meal (I had almond flakes,
    and pulsed them into almond meal in the blender)
  • 60 g flour (all-purpose)
  • 145 g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 medium-large egg whites (about 144 g)
  • 100 g butter, browned
  • 1 nectarine
  • Butter for the muffin tin

Brown the butter, by putting it into a saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir it, but give the pan a little twirl once in a while, keeping a sharp eye on when it begins to brown (it’s a matter of seconds for it to go from browned to burnt). Turn the heat down to to medium-low, the butter shouldn’t splutter, just foam. When it turns deep golden, about 5 minutes, take it off the heat, pour into a bowl (and do make sure you scrape out all the bits from the pan with a silicone spatula). Leave to cool while you prepare the rest.

Mix flour, almond meal, icing sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add your egg whites a bit at a time, whisking until just combined. Now gently stir in the browned butter.

Lightly butter 8 holes in a muffin tin; divide the batter between them.

Cut your nectarine into thin slices (cut in in half, around the pit, then cut as many thin slices as you can). Spread three nectarine slices on each financier.

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Bake at 160°C/325°F for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are nicely brown and a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

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I think next time I’ll make these with raspberries or blackberries – nothing better than a fruity, tangy berry pressed into a moist almondy cake – and I also think I’ll try making them with walnuts instead of almonds, for a bit more sharpness. Ooh and apricots!

P.s.: I have since made these with blackberries (yum!), with raspberry jam (also yum!), and my most favourite, with rhubarb compote 🙂