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baking French
Brown Butter-Hazelnut Financier

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This traditional french dessert probably got the name financier because of its richness. It is made with an unusual batter in which ground hazelnuts, sugar, and flour and a large quantity of melted butter are folded into egg whites that have been beaten with sugar. The egg whites fall and liquefy as the butter is folded in, but the cake rises well nonetheless.

Yield: Makes one 10-inch cake, about 12 servings


  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) blanched whole hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup egg whites (from 7 or 8 large eggs)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Confectioners’ sugar for finishing


  • One 2-inch-deep 10-inch round cake pan, buttered and bottom lined with buttered parchment or wax paper


1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Pulse the hazelnuts and ¾ cup of the sugar in a food processor until the nuts are finely ground. Pour into a bowl and stir in the flour.

3. Melt the butter over low heat and continue to cook for a minute or so, until it turns a light golden color. Remove from the heat and let cool, then add the rum and vanilla.

4. In the clean, dry bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt until they form a very soft peak. Beat in the remaining ¾ cup sugar in a very slow stream, and continue beating until the egg whites hold a soft peak again.

5. Beginning with the hazelnut mixture, alternately fold in the hazelnut and butter mixtures, one-third at a time. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

6. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake is well risen and golden. The center should feel firm when pressed with the palm of your hand.

7. Cool the financier briefly on a rack, then unmold and remove the paper. Turn the cake right side up to finish cooling.

8. Just before serving, dust very lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

© 2002 Nick Malgieri

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information does not include Confectioners’ sugar for finishing.

296kcal (15%)
17mg (2%)
1mg (1%)
81mcg RAE (3%)
25mg (8%)
60mg (2%)
7g (33%)
15g (24%)
1mg (5%)

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