Saturday, May 23, 2009

Living the Sweet Life in Paris: Some experiments

My mother doesn't cook, but she loves buying kitchen gear and a few years ago she gave me a very cute pan that's similar to a mini-muffin pan, except the depressions are in the shape of hearts. 

I finally found a use for this pan: untraditional financiers. A few days ago I baked David Lebovitz's chocolate-almond financiers, which were easy and wonderful and seemed like they would lend themselves to flavor variations. 

On the left is a green tea financier. On the right, an horchata financier. How were they? They were heinous. But interesting!

I know what went wrong:

a. didn't grind the almonds finely enough, which made them rough 

b. didn't compensate for the omission of cocoa powder from Lebovitz's recipe by adding extra flour, which made them sticky and gummy

More specifically, green tea financiers are just a crummy idea. Matcha may have a place in sponge cake, which is airy and fluffy, but not a dense, chewy, nutty sweet. While these didn't taste at all like seaweed, something about the color makes it impossible not to think about kelp. Altogether unappetizing. Won't proceed with this line of research.

Horchata financiers have possibilities, although these did not taste at all like horchata. They tasted like cinnamon. Is it even possible to reproduce the delicate, elusive horchata flavor in a non-liquid? Or is cold, gritty rice milk essential to the experience? Thoughts? Further research required. 


  1. Isn't your mom the one who comes over to make pasta every week? And who helped stuff the sausages? I'm confused--is it that she CAN cook, but chooses not to?

  2. My mother is more of an engineering type. If there's something that involves a machine, she's in. If it's just everyday cooking or baking, she'd rather go rewire a lamp or build some shelves.

  3. i feel compelled to jump in on the clarification here. Your/our mother is not one of those people who really can't cook- she is a totally competent cook, and in fact cooks certain things (roast chicken, tuna mousse, crepes, apple crisp) very well. She's just not the least bit interested in cooking, except as you note- when it involves some engineering, or when it's very simple, i.e. spread some guava paste on some manchego, or dip an almond in some honey.

  4. TRUE: La Mama does NOT cook---if she doesn't have to.

    She DID cook---and sow, grow, harvest, grind wheat, bake, can and freeze for many years. (The nut hasn't really fallen that far from the tree.)

    She CAN cook if necessary. (Thank you J. for pointing that out...) and she is an enthusiastic audience and taste tester.

    She loves to eat food prepared by Tipsy, is delighted to watch the process, savor the aromas.

    La Mama loves the whole concept of Tipsy Baker.

    But most of all, she loves being a mother of two cooks, grandmother to three wonderful grandchildren (including one quite accomplished cook), making pasta or whatever with them, buying cooking equipment, serving as occassional sous chef.

    The baton has been passed...

  5. La Mama? The baton has been passed? You're scaring me!!!! I'm calling right now.

  6. I don't know what most of what you're talking about is. Horchata, matcha, financiers? Huh?