I know, I know… this is not this week’s intended French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Ispahan Loaf Cake. While I love to read about recipes with backgrounds as rich as this one – the Pierre Hermé cachet and the Persian rose connection – procuring all the ingredients and actually getting around baking it seemed a little daunting. It didn’t help to see that the opinion was split between the group on this recipe’s success. To keep the “desserts with floral notes” and Middle Eastern twists, I chose to swap the rose syrup and essence for an orange blossom syrup. I also scaled back the recipe and the loaf cake turned into mini bundts, hence the orange blossom financiers name. Financiers, like the Ispahan loaf cake, are made with ground almonds, sugar, eggs, flour and butter.
I had orange blossom water in the house because I used some during the holidays to prepare tembleque, a traditional Puerto Rican cornstarch thickened coconut pudding. In addition to food preparations, orange flower water is also used as a mild relaxing aid. Back when I was sixteen, my driving instructor – a crazy lady who would say “I love you!” every time you did something right – told my mother to give me a little before heading out to the DMV for my drivers’ test after flunking it the first time. I had a bottle around while in college too – a little splash in a glass of water helped soothe nerves before oral presentations that required Power Point presentations and suiting up.
For the financiers, I made a syrup using 4 parts of orange blossom water to 3 parts of sugar. Since I didn’t have an actual flower extract, I used a few drops of orange extract when mixing the syrup with the milk. Instead of layering raspberries between the cake batter, I used orange segments. It took around 30 minutes to have the little cakes fully cooked. I started checking them for doneness at the 20 minute mark, taking the cue from the madeleines recipe.
The orange blossom financiers were a hit before they were even out of the oven. They smelled great, baked up quickly and were pretty tasty. The floral notes were there but did not overpower the taste of the cake. The cake was also moist, and maybe a little dense, but I blame that on an egg white beating mishap. The yolks in my eggs broke and I couldn’t salvage pure whites. Although I got some volume out of the tainted whites, they did not puff up and form peaks.
French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking club where on a weekly basis, home cooks all over the world post their interpretations of a selected recipe from Around My French Table – Dorie Greenspan‘s award winning cookbook.