Pistachio financiers are so deliriously good and delightfully rich that they make a great recipe for the holiday season. Heftier and more indulgent than a simple almond tea cake, it's a good thing they’re just bite-sized snacks.
The first time I thought about baking classic French financiers, I had more questions than the cake tins in my pantry. What are financier cakes? Do I need a financier pan to make French financiers?
So, when I did make them, I included all the answers in my first financier cake recipe post (click that link to know why they are called so). While those came out picture-perfect, these classic pistachio financiers are more rustic.
But don’t let the unassuming look of these tiny almond cakes hoodwink you. They are no less delicious, with crisp edges, and a moist interior.
My husband and son had no idea what they were eating but that floral taste of saffron, the mild sweetness of pistachio, and that nutty aroma was instantly familiar. With each bite, I could see their sense of comfort and the feeling that festivities were around the corner.
Great reasons to make a pistachio financier
Ring in the holiday season
With a sweetened-just-right treat
And spread smiles with the perfect edible gift
Using an easy recipe that doesn’t demand much of your time
How to make pistachio financiers?
The base of these pistachio financiers is almond flour, but the essence of pistachio still shines through. Think of them as almond French cakes, rich and tender from the brown butter and full of nutty nuances from the pistachios.
Step 1: Start by browning the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Keep cooking till it's deep brown, smells wonderful like hazelnut, and the milk solids have separated from the fat.
Step 2: Add threads of saffron, a hefty dose, to the brown butter and then take it off the heat. Unlike a typical French financier recipe, I did not strain the butter. The tiny brown bits add so much nutty deliciousness to these pistachio saffron financiers.
Step 3: Sift together flour, icing sugar, and almond flour, and then whisk in egg whites.
Step 4: After the egg whites, stir in the saffron-infused brown butter, which should have cooled by now, in increments till you have a soft, dropping consistency.
Step 4: Finally, fold in 2 to 3 tablespoons of pistachios and a few saffron strands.
Bake the pistachio almond cake
Step 5: Cover the batter and refrigerate for an hour. While it rests, grease your financier pan or the regular mold you use.
Step 6: I chose to spoon the batter into each cavity. But if you’re looking for a smoother top, use a piping bag.
Step 7: Sprinkle more chopped pistachios on top of the almond French cakes and bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
Final step: Let them cool and then serve as-is.
Tips for an easy French cake
- A mini muffin pan can be used to make these easy pistachio financiers if you don't have a financier pan. What is really important is that you butter it well, so they slide right out after being baked.
- Don’t overfill the mold. If you don’t finish a classic financier in two bites, then you’re not doing it right.
- To check if a pistachio financier is done, insert a toothpick in the center. It should come out clean.
Alternatives to financier ingredients
There are not very many substitute ingredients for French financiers, but you can play around with them.
Saffron: Leave it out if you don’t enjoy how the spice accents the flavor of these almond cakes. Instead, use lemon zest. It would pair rather well with pistachio, giving them zing.
Egg whites: I haven’t found an egg white substitute for the financier cake recipe. Yet. I know a lot of bakers use aquafaba (leftover water from cooked chickpeas), but I’ve not tried it.
I promise I’ll find a good one soon since I’m just getting started with these drenched in brown butter French financiers.
Serve the pistachio saffron financiers
To be honest, these easy pistachio financiers need no adornment. No icing sugar. No chocolate dip. But let your cravings be your guide. Give them a fancy décor, if that’s what you want. Try:
- A sprinkle of icing sugar
- A dusting of fine pistachio powder for the pop of green
- A touch of pink with rose petals (or any edible flower you love)
More recipes with pistachio, saffron, and almonds
Pistachio Financiers Recipe
- 1/4 cup ( 60 gms) Butter
- 1/4 tsp Saffron strands
- 3 tbsp ( 35 gms) All-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ( 50 gms) Icing sugar
- 3/4 cup ( 80 gms) Almond flour
- 2 Egg whites
- 2-3 tbsp Pistachio, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Saffron strands
- Pistachio slivers for topping
- To make saffron-infused brown butter - Heat the butter in a small saucepan, on low heat. The butter will be bubbly and foamy, and then will start to change color. Once its brown in color, take the pan off the heat and add saffron strands. Let it cool. This process will take about 4-5 minutes.
- You can also strain the brown butter, then add the saffron. I chose to keep the browned butter bits and not strain the butter.
- In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, almond flour, and icing sugar.
- Now whisk in the egg whites. When your dry ingredients are moistened, slowly add the saffron-infused brown butter in 3 -4 increments, stirring well after every addition.
- Fold in the finely chopped pistachios and saffron strands.
- Cover the bowl with a tight-fitting lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180C and liberally butter the cavities of a mini muffin pan.
- Place 1 -1.5 tablespoons of the batter into the cavities.
- Sprinkle with some pistachio slivers.
- Bake at 180 C ( 356 F) for 15-18 minutes, or until the financiers are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the financiers cool in the pan for a few minutes before taking them out on a cooling rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!