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Credit: Chef Leslie Eckert
the National Culinary Review, November 2020
From the Chef
“Hazelnut Financier with Chamomile-Roasted Pears: Chef Leslie Eckert, CCE, CWPC, academic director of culinary arts at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Tampa, Florida, created a modern version of financiers while working with hazelnut flour in another dessert. Tea was also on Chef Eckert’s mind at the time, and she found the floral flavors of chamomile worked well with the sweetness of pears. Her recipe for Hazelnut Financier with Chamomile-Roasted Pears features a chamomile caramel and a crispy pear chip garnish. Because financiers are a type of sponge cake, she encourages students to master the sponge-mixing method. “Don’t over-whip the egg whites,” she says, and recommends adding the whites into the batter in three to four parts. She also warns that hazelnut flour can burn easily, so take care when toasting it for this recipe. Spread the flour evenly on a sheet pan in a 300°F or 350°F oven for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently.”
93 g hazelnut flour
174 g unsalted butter
151 g sugar
186 g egg whites
74 g pastry flour
1 g baking powder
1 g baking soda
Chamomile Caramel Sauce:
170 g water
9 g dried chamomile flowers
108 g sugar
29 g lemon juice
112 g simple syrup
148 g sugar
20 g dried chamomile flowers
5 pears, slightly ripened
84 g reserved chamomile sugar
35 g unsalted butter
226.7 g sugar
Dried chamomile blossoms
1. Toast hazelnut flour in oven until golden brown. Cool completely.
2. Brown butter in saucepot. Cool completely.
3. In mixing bowl, combine and whisk egg whites and half the sugar to soft peaks.
4. Fold sifted dry ingredients, the other half of the sugar and hazelnut flour into egg whites. Incorporate browned butter.
5. Pipe into 3-inch greased Savarin rings; bake at 350°F in convection oven for 15-20 minutes. For proper doneness, financier should spring back slightly when touched. Do not over-bake.
Chamomile Caramel Sauce:
1. Bring water to a boil. In heat-safe container, pour over chamomile flowers; cover. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Strain through coffee filter. Discard solids.
2. Pour infused liquid into small saucepan; keep covered.
3. In medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, caramelize sugar over medium heat to light brown, stirring constantly with long-handled heat-resistant spatula.
4. Meanwhile, bring infusion back to a boil. Remove caramelized sugar from heat. Carefully add small amount of hot chamomile infusion, stirring constantly. Put back over low heat. Gradually add remaining infusion while stirring.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Keep covered. Store at room temperature.
1. Slice each pear in half. Do not peel, core or remove stem.
Using mandolin or meat slicer, slice each pear half into 1/16-inch slices.
2. Dip sliced pears in syrup.
3. Place slices between two Silpats. Bake at 225°F until pears are crisp. Or, place on oiled dehydrator trays and dry according to manufacturer’s instructions.
1. In food processor, blend sugar and chamomile together thoroughly.
2. Reserve sugar mixture in airtight, sealed container at room temperature until ready to coat pears.
1. Peel, halve and core pears, keeping stem intact.
2. Toss halved pears with half the chamomile sugar.
3. Heat butter in sauté pan; sear cut side of pears until golden brown.
Transfer pears onto parchment-lined sheet pan. Continue baking at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until pears are softened.
4. Roughly 10-15 minutes into roasting process, recoat roasted pears in the remaining chamomile sugar. This improves overall golden color. Roast for remaining time.
1. Cook granulated sugar to caramelized stage (313°F-330°F).
2. With fork, spin sugar over Silpat to create fine mesh of sugar.
3. Place Silpat in 250°F oven; warm until surface of sugar is tacky.
4. While sugar is still soft, cut out with 4-inch round cutter.
5. Place rounds on Silpat; place in oven to soften again.
6. Once softened, gently curl rounds into three-dimensional shapes. Use immediately.
1. Place one financier off-center on serving plate.
2. Place half a roasted pear on top.
3. Carefully place 1 sugar garnish on pear to support 1 pear chip at an angle.
4. Draw 1 streak of chamomile jus around financier.
5. Place 3 dried chamomile blossoms on sauce streak.
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