Tag Archives: financiers

Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Grownups

30 Jan
This is not your mama's pineapple upside down cake!

This is not your mama's pineapple upside down cake!

Dear Pineapple Upside Down Cake That My Mom Used To Make,

As a kid, I loved eating you.  I loved that my mom made your batter with pineapple juice, so you were very sweet.  I loved the maraschino cherries in the centers of your pineapple rings.  I loved your caramel-y goodness.  In short, I was a huge fan.

As an adult, I sort of fell out of love with you. I am sorry, P.U.D.in’, but it’s true.  What tasted “sweet” to my kid’s palate just tasted “cloying” to my adult palate.  I saw a documentary about how they make maraschino cherries, and, frankly, it was kind of a turn-off.  Your light caramel turned bland and two-dimensional; it no longer held me in thrall. I guess I just wasn’t that into you anymore.

And while I found other lovers, I never fell out of love with the idea of you.  The nostalgic romantic in me always wanted to somehow rekindle that spark of childhood adoration.  Even though I thought I had moved on, shutting the door forever on our relationship, I wanted to find my way back to you.  That is how much I loved you.  I loved individual aspects of you, still–pineapple, cake, caramel–I just needed to find a way for the grown up me to love you again.

And then it came to me. You, my own sweet P.U.D.in’, would have to grow up, too.  As a child, I played with childish things, but as an adult, it was time for me to put away my childish things and rediscover you as an adult.  I knew that somehow I could find my way to a mature version of that childhood love.  And, beloved Pineapple Upside Down Cake, I have.  Welcome back.  Welcome back.


Friends, if you, too, have fallen out of love with your childhood friend, if you think that pineapple upside down cake is fit only for school cafeteria lines and Fourth of July picnics, let me reintroduce you to the new and improved, all grown up, sexy Pineapple Financier.

Sexy Batter (makes kind of a lot.  If this is more than you need, it will keep in the refrigerator for two or three days with no problem)

  • 375 g. powdered sugar
  • 135 g. toasted macadamia nuts, finely ground
  • 135 g. all purpose flour
  • 4 g. baking powder
  • 3 g. salt
  • 375 g. egg whites
  • 200 g. browned butter
  • 35 g. corn syrup

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.  With the mixer on low, slowly blend in the egg whites.  Scrape the bowl as needed.  Drizzle in the browned butter and the corn syrup.  Mix until uniformly blended.

Sexy Rum Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • heavy pinch of salt
  • wee splash of vanilla

Bring sugar to a boil with a little water.  Put a lid on and let boil for 2-3 minutes to wash sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.  Remove lid and bring the sugar to a dark amber caramel.  Turn off the heat and add the cream.  It will splutter and complain and foam up.  Stir the caramel over medium heat until it is smooth.  Add the alcohol and the salt.  Simmer until slightly reduced.  Remove from the heat and cool down for a few minutes.  Stir in the wee splash of vanilla.

Grown-Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  1. Grease a 9-10″ cast iron skillet or a 9-10″ round baking pan.
  2. Spread a very thin layer of caramel in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Arrange slices or rings of fresh pineapple in some sort of pleasing (or not) pattern on top of the caramel.  Add some toasted crushed macadamia nuts or even some toasted coconut, if you want.
  4. Spread another layer of caramel on top of the pineapple.  You might not use all of the caramel.  Oh, well.  Use it on ice cream or mix it into some coffee or hot chocolate.
  5. Pour and spread the financier batter on top of the caramel.  Fill the skillet/pan about 1/2-2/3 full.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until the cake is risen, is a beautiful, caramelized golden brown and is pretty firm to the touch, about 35 minutes–but keep an eye on it.  If the cake starts to get a little too brown before it is completely set, turn the oven down by 25 degrees, F, and cover it with a piece of foil.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit until warm but not hot.
  8. Run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it, if necessary.  Put a serving platter on top of the skillet/pan and carefully turn the whole thing over.  Give the pan a good whack, and lift it off.  Rearrange any recalcitrant pieces of pineapple that might have decided to stay in the pan.
  9. Serve with vanilla ice cream, coconut sorbet or maybe some of that delightful Haagen Dazs toasted coconut-sesame brittle ice cream.  And maybe some of the extra rum caramel, if you didn’t put it all in your coffee.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

Hello! Hey, guys:  you can make the financier batter with whatever nuts you want and then use a complementary fruit.  How about walnuts or pecans and pears and/or apples?  I am sure you can come up with a ton of variations.  Plus, you can make little individual cake-lets, too.  They’ll only need to bake for maybe 15-20 minutes or so.

So, hey!  Um, guys? I hope I have helped to reacquaint you with a long-lost childhood love.  Oh, okay, I will leave you two alone now.  I’ll just quietly close the door behind me…

Know Your Fat! (Part, the Third)

10 Nov
Butter melting on the stove.

Butter melting on the stove.

As I start this, I’m hoping that three parts will be enough.  There is, after all, more to baking than just fat.  But fat is such a critical ingredient that I feel like I need to take the time to explain it.  Butter is by far my favorite fat to use in baking.  It’s a natural product, it melts in your mouth.  It is rich, and it tastes good.  Plus, it is a very versatile ingredient.  You can use it at so many different temperatures–from cutting in cold butter to make tender biscuits to rubbing in room temperature butter to make a tender cookie to melting some butter into a ganache for added richness to brushing melted butter onto bread before baking for a soft rich crust.  See how long that sentence is?  That’s at least how useful butter is in the bakeshop!

Frozen butter is hard and splinters when you cut it.  Refrigerated butter is firm.  Cool butter (65-70 degrees) is plastic, malleable and extensible.  Warmer room temp butter (75-85 degrees) is very soft but still emulsified, and above 95 degrees, butter melts.  As soon as it hits 212 degrees, it sizzles and bubbles–that’s the water evaporating from the pan.  When the butter stops sizzling, that’s when you know all the water is gone.  Separate the milk solids at this point, and you’ve got clarified butter, or ghee, the Indian word for it.

Want to go farther?  Melt the butter and let the water boil out.  The next time it starts sizzling, it’s because the milk solids are frying in the butterfat.  Leave it alone, and watch the butter carefully, removing it from the heat when the solids are toasty and brown and straining out the solids, and you’ll have buerre noisette, or nutty and wonderful brown butter.

Use chilled (or even frozen) butter to make a flaky pie crust.  Use cool butter to cream together with sugar for cookies and cakes.  Use very soft butter to brush into pans or to mix with cinnamon and sugar for cinnamon rolls.  Use melted butter to brush onto bread–before or after baking.  Use clarified butter or buerre noisette in genoise and madeleines.  Buerre noisette is one of the main ingredients in the buttery-rich financier.  Oh, but you must make these.  They are incredibly rich (hence the name), but my are they tasty!

Please take a look at The Creaming Method for a discussion of creaming for cookies versus creaming for cakes.  It is riveting reading and good information.

%d bloggers like this: