24 August 2017

Financiers and Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com

Financiers (fee-nahn-see-AY) are probably familiar to afternoon tea aficionados since they are frequently seen on the three-tiered stand at posh hotel teas. Visitandines (vee-zeet-ahn-DEEN) are a bit more obscure; I only learned about them recently when I was perusing the new-to-me blog As Strong As Soup.

It seems visitandines are named after the order of nuns in France who came up with the cakes in the seventeenth century. It is said egg yolks were used in their painting and the teacakes were a way to use up the leftover egg whites. Various shaped molds have been used for them, including barquettes.

Then in the nineteenth century a baker near the financial district of Paris began making the cakes in the shape of gold bars and calling them financiers in honor of his wealthy financier customers. Since I have no rectangular (gold bar-shaped) or barquette (boat-shaped) molds, I used my mince pies/jam tarts tin.

Of all the many sources of recipes and information I've read on the subject, most are in agreement that almond flour (or ground almonds) and beurre noisette, brown butter, are the signature ingredients of both of these classic French teacakes. Dorie Greenspan was the only source whose visitandines recipe did not include almonds and was baked as one cake and sliced.

As my regular readers might guess, I'm going to go with the individual teacakes that look so cute on a three-tiered stand for afternoon tea! I formulated the recipe to make just enough batter for 12 teacakes using 2 tablespoons of batter each.

You might also want to check out my Madeleines, another classic French teacake.

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com
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Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes


(Makes about 1 1/2 cups batter*)

6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 firmly packed cup (3 ounces/85 grams) unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 firmly packed cup (2 ounces/57 grams) almond flour
1/3 dip-and-sweep cup (1.67 ounces/47 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites (about 90 grams)
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, optional
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract, optional

* The number of teacakes it makes depends on the size. If your pan holds the #40 scoop I used (or a 1/8 cup measure), it will make precisely 12.

1 In small saucepan,* melt butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring or swirling frequently, until butter gets foamy and bubbly and just starts to turn tan. It just takes a few minutes, so you cannot take your eyes off it; it goes from browned to burned in a flash! Remove from heat; set aside at room temperature. No need to strain it. It should be still warm, but not hot, when you add it to the batter at the end.

* Use a saucepan with a light colored interior, like my little All-Clad stainless steel 1-quart saucepan, so you can judge the color of the butter as it browns.

Financiers and Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes - made with beurre noisette, brown butter / www.delightfulrepast.com


2 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, vigorously whisk together powdered sugar, almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt. There is no need to sift any of the ingredients; the vigorous whisking will do the "sifting" for you.

3 In small bowl, whisk egg whites with a fork just until frothy, about 30 to 60 seconds. (Don't panic if you got a drop of yolk in your whites; you are not beating them.) Whisk the egg whites into the flour mixture, just to combine; do not over-mix. The batter will be very thick at this point. Add zest, if using, extract(s) and brown butter. Whisk lightly, just until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter for 2 to 3 hours.

Financiers or Visitandines - Classic French Almond Teacakes / www.delightfulrepast.com


4 Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Lightly spray pan with cooking spray (or brush with melted butter and chill to firm before filling). Set pan in a rimmed baking sheet. My mince pies pan fits perfectly inside a 13x9x1-inch quarter-sheet pan. Scoop batter into pan. Bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden with nicely browned edges and spring back when touched lightly. Baking time will depend on the size of the teacakes.

5 Turn out the teacakes onto a pristine kitchen towel. You will likely need to give the pan a couple of sharp raps to loosen the stubborn ones. Place them on wire rack to cool. I love them best when they are still warm and crusty on the outside, but they are also good later when the crispy edges have softened.

61 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

I would go for the individual servings too...so much cuter and easier for portion control too. Your tea cakes look lovely!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Angie. I'm definitely into portion control as well as cute! :-)

Louca por porcelana said...

Hummm,They look yummy!Have a lovely day,Jean!

Margie said...

Ooh la la! Another interesting teacakes! Do you eat them as is or do you put butter and/or clotted cream, etc. on top?

Margie said...

P.S. The Soleil teapot pours well.

Cranberry Morning said...

This second message is because Google sent me a note that said there was a conflict. Oh well. ANYway, thank you. They look delicious and I'll be making them soon - after the severely nut-allergic grands leave. Thanks especially for the pronunciation guide and the bit of history!

Pom Pom said...

Yummy! Time for fika! I have a sweet four year old grand here. We made pink cooked play dough but we might have to make something for tea first.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Maristella, thank you. Wishing you a wonderful day, too!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. Yes, you eat them as is. It's a tender little cake, no "frosting." It would also be a good base for strawberries and whipped cream.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, perfect for fika (I had to look that up!). The dough rests for 2 or 3 hours in the fridge, so start now! It's such an easy thing to mix up - your little grand will enjoy helping.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Judy, glad you like them. Though they are "tea"cakes, they'll go great with your coffee!

Mrs Shoes said...

Yum, fancy-schmancy!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Yup, Mrs Shoes, fancy-schmancy ... BUT easy-peasy!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I'm very pleased to have introduced you to visitandines and I'm happy to see such fine little cakes in whatever shape you might choose. I must admit that, unlike the financier, visitandines are not a very widely known French cake. They seem to have remained something of a regional speciality. But I'm very tenacious in my cake eating so I come across a few rarities now and then.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Yummy, Jean! I want to come have tea at your house! Those look like the perfect little teatime treats.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, thanks again! I've added As Strong As Soup to my Blogs I Visit page and look forward to visiting regularly.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kitty, thank you. I'd love to have you over for afternoon tea!

Pauline Wiles said...

What a fascinating story behind these! Love the idea of nuns making them...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Pauline. I was intrigued! Who knew there was a baked good out there I'd never heard of!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I love the history lesson behind these lovely tea cakes, Jean. I must add this recipe to my "must bake" list. ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Martha Ellen, thank you. I just love a food with a story behind it!

Anonymous said...

These sound and look wonderful. And yes, so perfect for a tea tray. I will be making them as soon as I decide which pan to use. Although I may just use a couple of different shapes and see what seems to work best. This is a really fun and exciting recipe for me. Makes my day to have something completely new to try. Thank you, Jean. Have a great weekend!
Love,
Lily

Laura Lane said...

How very interesting! You made a recipe into a delightful story. ~pun intended~

I answered your comment on your blog. I couldn't find your email to reply directly.
Thank you. I will take a look like the article, Jean. I really appreciate it. You are very kind to share it.
God bless you!

Please drop by and say hello!
ஐღLaura ღஐ
Harvest Lane Cottage
...doing what I can with what I've got where I am
on a short shoestring budget!
~~~~~

ellen b said...

Love the story and those cakes are calling to me!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lily, thank you. Yes, I feel the same way - love to have something completely new to try. I might use mini muffin tins next time. Let me know what pans you use and how they turned out. Hugs, Jean

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Laura! I do love a delightful story! :-) I'll be checking back for your reply and to check out some of your frugal tips.

Bernideen said...

You have some amazing features and recipes! Thanks for sharing - yummy!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Ellen! They really are good - we gobbled them right down!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Coming from a tea pro like you, Bernideen, that means a lot!

organicgardendreams said...

Hi Jean, thanks for the wonderful recipe! I have never heard of these french teacakes, but I am very tempted to try them out for my next tea time.
Warm regards,
Christina

Rhyming With Wine said...

Oh wow Jean these look amazing. I love almond flavoured treats and I found the history of these really interesting. I'm baking on Thurs next week with the littles so I think we'll give these a try. I'll send you a pic if we do. Thanks for sharing with #DreamTeam x

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

I wish we had tea time here. What a wonderful custom. I guess people could have a coffee in the afternoon but a tea sounds so much better. I've moved from coffee to tea as my morning beverage. I've really become sensitive to caffeine. Perhaps I should have a special tea with wonderful goodies for just hubby and me. I'm pinning the recipe.

Lauren @ My Wonderfully Made said...

I have not heard of these but they look yummy - I love anything almond. They don't look all that difficult to make. Could you use a muffin pan (I know that would make them an odd shape)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Christina, thank you. I hope you will try them. They're especially easy for teatime because you prep them ahead and then just bake and serve.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Dawn, that would be great! And it can be a double activity. They can help you stir up the batter, then pop it in the fridge for 2 or 3 hours, then they can help you scoop the batter into the tin and pop them into the oven.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marisa, I grew up with tea (English on my mother's side) and seem to have inherited a tolerance for the caffeine in tea. But the caffeine in coffee wrecks me - at any time of the day! But if the caffeine in tea bothers you, I think all the tea companies I've reviewed (check out my Reviews index page) offer decaffeinated teas as well.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Lauren, thank you. And, yes, do use a muffin pan. I think next time I make them, I'm going to use a standard muffin tin and a mini muffin tin and see which I prefer.

Marisa G Thermofan said...

Hi, Jean. I love financiers and its history. Your financiers look delicious. I baked them and I've also have a recipe in my blog.
Have a nice day.

Tony Grant said...

Great one, Jean. I must find Visitandes when I go to Paris next. Marilyn and I were in Paris for three days the week before last. EWe stayed in a small boutique hotel in a street about a hundred yards from the Follies Berger.I love the feel of Paris.I love the French. What would have excited your culinary mind was a small restaurant, a mere few yards from our hotel. It is called Chartier. I noticed every night there was a queue down the street trying to get in. Door men let a few people in at a time. I asked our hotel manager about it. He said it was a local restaurant that had been there since 1860. The same family has owned and run it for generations. They cook basic French dishes at a very cheep price. I asked what price. You can get a full course meal for about 10 euros. That is cheep, believe me. A bottle of wine would cost extra. I asked if it had a Michelin star. It hasn't. The restaurant is famous amongst locals and Parisians in general. All the French want to go there, many of them having eaten there all their lives. What is amazing too is that the waiters and waitresses wear the costumes you see in the Impressionist paintings. I'm going back to Paris just to eat there. Can I invite you out for a meal Jean? Mr Delightful won't mind I am sure.!!! Ha! Ha!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marisa, thank you. Yours look wonderful, too. I just found the post and commented on it.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tony. Your time in Paris sounds great. I'd definitely want to check out that restaurant. I'm not sure you'd find visitandines in Paris; they seem to be a regional Lorraine thing, but financiers should be easy to find.

Harriet Taylor-Yardley said...

These look delicious, and I will give them a try. It's funny, you stopped by my blog saying you haven't done much gardening lately, at the same time I was thinking I really must do more cooking, and look for new recipes! Thank you for stopping by.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

That *is* funny, Harriet! And these are perfect for tea in the garden, where you can enjoy your cooking and I can figure out where to start with gardening! Let me know how they turn out for you.

Cocoa and Lavender said...

These look fabulous, Jean! Vistadines are new to me, as well. Silly me – I've never made financiers because I didn't have the right pan. It never occurred to me just to use my mini muffin pan… Oh well, I can try it now!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, David! I have quite enough specialty pans as it is, I don't need to be ordering any more! Any shape will do, it's the size and texture of the cakes that matter.

April J Harris said...

I so enjoyed reading this post, Jean, and what lovely cakes! I had heard of Financiers, but never Visitandines. I was so interested to learn about them and also the history behind these cakes. Your little individual versions really are lovely - so perfect for afternoon teas! Thank you so much for sharing, and ofr being a part of Hearth and Soul. Pinning and sharing around. Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, April! I thought I'd seen it all when it comes to teatime treats, but never visitandines! Thanks so much, too, for the social media shares - much appreciated.

FABBY'S LIVING said...


Thank you for this great recipe pretty lady! I'm loving it already.
I can't wait till I try them myself.
Have a great week.
Fabby

Miz Helen said...

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful post with us at Full Plate Thursday this week. Please keep our great state of Texas in your thoughts and prayers as we are struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Hope you have a good week.
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Fabby, thank you. I hope you'll try them soon and let me know how you liked them!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Miz Helen, yes, of course - I can think of little else when so many people are suffering. Thank you so much.

Christine Graves said...

Those cakes look wonderful.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Christine. I really like almond flour a lot.

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

I have made these before and they are addictive. I love your mincemeat pan. I am kind of addicted to bakeware also. :)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Madonna. Is your bakeware addiction genetic like mine? I got it from my mother, it's not my fault! :-)

Jeanie said...

These look delish and I even have the ingredients! (Almond flour isn't a regular in my pantry!) Question -- would mini-muffin cups work?

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Jeanie. And, yes, mini-muffin cups would be great for these. Let me know how they turn out for you.

Ruth W said...

I love anything almond, so have just pinned this to save the recipe. A perfect teatime treat! Posting on my Facebook Antiques And Teacups page too! I apologize for being late visiting! The last few weeks have been a whirl with birthday, sinus problems, friends visiting and then a smoke escape with a last minute cruise…only to return to more smoke…causing a sinus infection! Oh well…but I am almost up to speed…yay!
Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
Ruth

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Ruth. You have had a whirl, haven't you! Hope that smoke and your sinus problems clear up soon.

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

I've been thinking Jean, you claim to be an INFJ, yet you have all the makings of an ISFJ or ESFJ--your attention to detail and making everything look so attractive and inviting; your passion for history and providing historical context for the foods; your classic and more formal China; and your upholding of traditional values. I don't think there's anything you present that isn't beautifully displayed and inviting to eat.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sue, thank you so much! A very close friend, an ESTJ who is really into the whole MBTI thing, too, has also commented on my food/china/traditions being out of type for me; but I'm definitely INFJ! I'm glad Mr Delightful, an ESFJ, appreciates meals at the table, nice dishes, presentation, etc. If he were one of those "food is merely fuel" types, I would not be happy! :-)

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