New Haven is not a large city. It’s the kind of place where you really should look behind your back before you start talking about someone behind theirs. (Yes, I do realize that better still would be to not talk about people behind their backs at all. I’m working on it.) While I’m relearning what it means to live somewhere where you are never far from someone you know, this weekend I was delighted to realize again that living in a small city means you are very close to the country. It takes only fifteen minutes to drive from our apartment to an apple orchard.
I got home from Boston Friday night and told Noah I wanted to find someone to go apple picking with me. Turns out I wasn’t the only one with the idea. Before I could put my plan into action, our good friends called up to ask if we wanted to go apple picking. Noah, diligent student that he is, stayed home to work. But, the rest of us headed off to the orchard Saturday afternoon.
I came home with about 10 pounds of apples. I’m going to need to find some more apple intensive recipes stat to use up my haul, but, although it only used one apple, this was a good place to start. These homely little cakes, are a kind of New England twist on a financier. Financiers are french cookie-cakes that are made from a base of almonds and brown butter. For fancy people, there are even special financier molds. For the rest of us, there are muffin tins.
The great thing about financiers is that there are recipes out there, like this one from smittenkitchen and GlutenFreeGirl that don’t call for any gluten; you can make them entirely with almond flour. I tinkered with this recipe a few weeks ago when trying to make a gluten-free version of Melissa Clark’s fig-hazelnut financiers. The results were pretty good and very pretty, but I thought a bit too buttery.
Faced with a pile of apples, I decided to retry the recipe, cutting the butter substantially and folding in apples and grated ginger. The end result looks pretty humble–less like something you might find in a French pastry shop and more like something you would find on a breakfast table in Maine–but they taste like the beginning of fall. They aren’t heavy and dark like the almost winter deserts of Thanksgiving, but light and crisp. A gentle, warm, little cake that still has a bit of spring in it from the ginger. I think it would be good with a cup of tea or a scoop of ice cream.
Now, I just ned to figure out to do with the remaining 20 apples.
– 1 cup finely chopped tart, green apple (I used a Mutsu)
– 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger.
– 1 1/4 cups almond meal
– 3/4 cups powdered sugar
– 1/3 cup egg whites (from about three eggs)
– 4 tablespoons salted butter
* Grease muffin tins. (I ended up making 10 financiers using a standard sized muffin tin.)
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Melt butter until it just starts to brown and then turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.
* Toss chopped apple and ginger together and set aside.
* Whisk together almond meal and powdered sugar using a fork to losen any clumps of almond meal.
* Whisk egg whites into almond-sugar mixture to make batter.
* Fold apple and ginger mixture into batter.
* Fold melted butter into batter until it is completely incorporated.
* Spoon batter into prepared tin, filling each well about half way.
* Bake for 10-15 minutes until tester comes out clean and sides are golden brown.
* Allow to cool.