Thursday, October 27, 2005


Dried Plum Financiers

Mr. David Lebovitz, (a man who's work I simply adore) of food writing and blogging fame, has challenged the world to create a dish with dried plums, AKA, prunes. As a matter of fact, he seems to have already completed his round-up! (Foiled by time zones again...drat!)

Well, I happen to have quite a bit of knowledge regarding said fruit, having slaved deep in the heart of the California Dried Plum Board publicity machine for what seemed like eons, but may really have been one single, life altering year.

That's right kiddies, The CDPB (then known as the Prune Board) has on retainer a top flight food marketing agency to spread the word, build the faith and keep their festive purple banner raised through good times and bad. Happily it was a snap, since not only are those dried drupe fanatics the nicest of people, but they also are all about promoting something that is tasty, nutritious, eco-friendly, an excellent fat substitute (its true!) and an amazingly versatile ingredient. (You'd think I was still on the company bandwagon with this banter, and yet...) I just love me those dried plums I tell ya!

Sure, sure, some of you feel towards dried plums the way I feel about cilantro, (In other words, "no thanks") and I am not going to try to sway you to my way of thinking, since taste is taste and whatnot. What I will tell you is pretty darned fab are these financiers. A quick to make, breathy, crumbly French cookie/cake/bite that has the heady sweet nuttiness of almonds and sugar that opens your mind and palate. The addition of rich and chewy, dense and sweet dried plums only adds to the delight, but if you are so inclined, I think dried apricots are classic, and dried cherries would be a welcome burst of tang. Any which way, this takes less than six minutes to pull off (minus baking) and are a fanciful addition to anyone's repitoire. Super-fab-a-licious.

(I have been making these beauties for years, and follow my own hand written notes, though I am compelled to say the original recipe was created by Drew Nieporent. I think.)

2 Tablespoons of butter
1 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch of table salt
5 large egg whites
2/3 cups butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400F

Liberally butter (or much better yet, spray with bakers spray, these guys stick like mad) 12 non-stick small tart molds, (such as barquettes), or a mini-muffin pan. Put the molds on a sheet pan, and set aside until ready to fill.

In a large bowl, stir to combine the almonds, sugar, pinch of salt, flour and if using, the orange zest. Add the melted butter to the almond mixture and combine completely. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until they hold a soft peak (this means they are whipped until just past frothy, and when mounded with a spoon, a small, soft tip will hold)

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half the egg whites into the almonds. Add the rest, doing your best not to deflate the whites, while mixing throughly.

Spoon batter into the molds/pan, leaving some room to rise. Top with a small dried plum.

Bake for 7 minutes at 400F. Reduce the heat to 375F and let bake another 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the financiers cool in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Makes 12

Plum is the common name for a tree of any of many species of the genus Prunus of the family Rosaceae and for its fruit, a drupe. Of the plum’s more than 100 species 30 are native to North America. It has been cultivated since prehistoric times, longer perhaps than any other fruit except the apple. Alexander the Great is said to have introduced it into Greece from Syria or Persia, where the damson plum had long been grown. -

California supplies 70 percent of the world’s supply of dried plums

The European Union's senior court yesterday granted Greece exclusive rights to produce "feta" over the protests of cheese makers from Denmark, Germany and Britain. The Court of Justice ended a legal battle stretching back over a decade and upheld Greek demands that the name "feta" should be reserved for salty, crumbly white cheese made in Greece. All non-Greek producers will have to remove all references to the word feta and will not even be permitted to spell it differently."

I am flattered as a girl can be over this post at Yogurtland. What a delightful blog!

In 2001 the FDA granted the California Prune Board (CPB) permission to use "dried plums" as an alternative name to "prunes." The CPB requested the name change after research showed that the name "dried plum" offers a more positive connotation than "prune."


got your listing and included it in the round-up. Thanks for your kinds words as well, and did you know I adore les financiers? Adding prunes, er, dried plums to them sounds delicious.
Wow Rachael, looks great! I've never made financiers, but must tackle them soon. The only thing is... do you think I could substitute something else for the, um, 'dried plums'? ;)
David - I'm so glad that worked out. Hee hee.

And Melissa - Thanks! You can use pretty much anything...nuts, dried fruit, small squares of chocolate...

Under what possible form of brain washing or torture were you subjected to find yourself (obviously against you free will) averse to cilantro?!?

Nice job on the prune thingies, by the way.
Ahhh. Don't get me started on cilantro. Foul weed.

Let me understand this, you are living in LA, you've obviously visited Los Sanchez in Aneheim, right? Olvera Street? It was alien abduction wasn't it?

Help me understand.
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