Some recipes that I have seen call for browned butter, and others call for softened butter. The reason given for using the softened butter in the recipe is that if you are going to use fresh berries in your financiers, the softened butter will help them to stay suspended in the batter, instead of sinking to the bottom. I have not tried using the softened butter because I love the way the browned butter gives the cakes a wonderful nutty flavor. To bake the true French Financier, you need to use the browned butter.
There are several things you can add to the recipe to make it even yummier! You can add berries or fruit such as peaches or plums, if they are cut small. You can also add lemon curd as in this recipe, or substitute the lemon curd for any type of jam that you like! So many possibilities!! The inspiration for this recipe came from here, but most of the recipe came from the Joy of Baking site here.
1/3 cup (5 tbsp) beurre noisette (made from 1/2 cup salted butter)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour (meal) or finely ground almonds
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
One jar of lemon curd (I recommend Dickinsons)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease one mini muffin pan.
Put 1/2 cup salted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted let it come to a boil, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter's surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned deep brown. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. (I just used my strainer without the cheesecloth) Let cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup of beurre noisette. Use the leftover beurre noisette to butter the molds, using a pastry brush.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, and confectioners sugar. Fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and the 1/3 cup beurre noisette. Fill mini muffin molds almost to the rim. The number of cakes you get depends on the size of your mini muffin pan. My molds were a bit larger than regular mini muffins, so I only got 9 cakes. Place one teaspoon lemon curd on top/middle of each, and swirl it lightly into the batter a bit using a toothpick or chopstick. Bake for about 15 minutes or until Financiers have become light brown on top and are springy to the touch. Keep an eye on them because like I said before, everyone's oven is different! Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.