Today the sun is shining again on the city we love so much. While France is in shock and mourning, some Parisian shops opened this weekend, not giving in to being terrorised.
Yesterday the skies were grey and all around was so desperately quiet. We stayed indoors, stunned, numbed by such violence, trying to digest what happened in Paris on Friday night. Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with all those who have lost their precious loved ones.
We can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel. Paris needs our solidarity and support. As we get on with our lives in hope of peace, let’s not give in to fear by continuing to enjoy its beauty, its history, and its culture.
We lost our appetite but somehow steaming hot pumpkin and leek soup were comforting hugs in a bowl. With a bit of pumpkin left roasting in the pan, I rustled up some light, savoury cakes to accompany it.
A Bit of Parisian History – Financiers
I’ve called them Financiers but the only resemblance to the sweet, traditional almond teacake is the oblong moulds used, which are also used by Ladurée in Paris for their financiers. These were the original shape of the teacake before Monsieur Lasne, a rather enterprising pastry chef in the Stock Exchange (la Bourse) area, had the gem of an idea by changing them to gold bar shapes in 1890 for his financial clientele. Recipes for financiers, including a chocolate-hazelnut one, are in Teatime in Paris!
Silicone moulds are my favourite, as there’s no need to grease them before baking and the cakes just fall out on to the cooling rack. They’re best in these financier moulds but you can use any little cake moulds that you have. The pumpkin parmesan financiers are a delicious change to holiday apéritif pre-dinner drinks and, even if they’re quick to make, they also freeze well so ideal for planning ahead.
Pumpkin Parmesan Financiers
Makes approx. 20 cakes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20+15 minutes
150g pumpkin, roughly chopped into small chunks
1 tbsp sage, finely chopped
100g olive oil
200g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g semi-skimmed milk
50g block parmesan, freshly grated
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
20g chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F (gas 4). Put the pumpkin in a roasting tin with half of the sage and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes then remove from oven to cool.
2. Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl then, using a balloon whisk, beat in the eggs, olive oil and milk until you have a smooth paste. Add the parmesan, nutmeg, the rest of the sage then gradually whisk in the pumpkin (it will break up with the whisk which is just perfect as it won’t be a purée but tiny bits) and walnuts, if using.
3. Pour into financier silicone moulds (here I used traditional oblong shapes but you can use rectangular financier moulds – or madeleine moulds too) and bake for about 20 minutes until the cakes are golden brown.
Best served on the day but can also be frozen for up to a month to help you plan ahead for your holiday baking. Or prepare the batter the day before and bake when needed.
To all my American friends – wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving from Paris!