Biting The Bankers

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A while ago when I went out to dinner, the dessert menu had an interesting thing I’d not come across before – pithiviers. The last time there was a mysterious sounding thing on a dessert menu, it was at Flying Fish, where there were, intriguingly, financiers. On the menu (as well as potentially at adjourning tables).

Mystified by the idea of ordering it and having a pinstriped banker turn up huddled on my plate, I was distracted instead by an astonishing soufflé (but still had residual curiosity about the financiers). So at Monkey Magic, I swallowed my pride (takes up much less space in the stomach than swallowing dessert...) and asked about the pithiviers (after MasterChef, everybody seems alarmingly familiar with all sorts of mysterious and interesting culinary things, and while that is wonderful, it makes for feeling like a twit when you need to ask a potentially silly question...). And they were a bit like this...

Picture: Grab Your Fork

Just look at those crunchy-flaky-crackly layers... It's a bit like the appeal of a stack of identically sized folded jumpers in the sorts of beautiful shops where you want to buy one in every colour. But edible.

Picture: Novice Baker

And you can (if the mood should take you) make them with pheasants as well. The mind boggles. Although not as much as it would for pheasant financiers, the sheer alliterative value of which is just great!

But that didn’t solve the mystery of the financiers and so I went hunting. It turns out that there are quite a few more financiers turning up in various places – perhaps this is a sign that the financial crisis is abating...

Picture: Cherry hazelnut financiers from Meringue Desserts

Picture: Gluten-free chocolate financiers from Spoon With Me

The ones I’ve been seeing online seem like a bit of a cross between a muffin, a friand and a madeleine. (This has, quite surprisingly, as it was based on peering hungrily at the pictures, been borne out by Wikipedia – which means it must be true!).

Canelle et Vanille (which has some of the best combinations of really promising sounding recipes and gorgeous photos) seems to have a definite thing for financiers. But these ones also look wonderful...

Picture: Honey financiers from Dessert First

I think I'm a sucker for anything involving honey. And ginger. And icing. Hence the honey jumble obsession - perhaps I could try icing some financiers instead... oooh - bankers on ice! That could be a TV show. Or maybe something less salubrious...

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