The blackberry season is drawing to a close here in Northern California, but there are enough berries left to bake into the birthday treat for these lovely ladies. If you have almost any kind of fruit that is fresh and ripe, check out David Lebovitz’s book Ripe for Dessert for some terrific ideas of how to make the best use of them. I was quite taken with his Financier recipe. Combining the richness and almonds of Financiers with the juicy sweetness of blackberries is a winning combination. Using muffin cups instead of the little Financier molds also makes it accessible for most bakers. Happy year gals! Enjoy the little cakes.
From Ripe for Dessert by David Lebovitz
12 small cakes
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups blanched almonds, sliced or slivered
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup powdered sugar
5 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites
½ teaspoon almond extract
one 6-oz basket blackberries
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and pre-hear to 400 degrees F. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a skillet, heat the butter until it begins to sizzle. Continue to cook over low heat until the edges begin to darken and the butter gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat. (The butter may sputter and splatter while cooking. If you want, place an overturned colander over the pan to protect yourself.)
In a food processor, grind the almonds with the granulated and powdered sugars. When fine, add the flour and the salt and pulse to mix. While the processor is running, gradually pour in the egg whites and add the almond extract. Stop the machine, and add the warm butter, pulsing as you pour until the batter is just mixed.
Divide the batter evenly among the buttered muffin cups Batter will come up about 1/3 of the way. Poke 3 or 4 blackberries into each cake.
Bake for 18 minutes, until puffy and deep golden brown. Watch so they don’t burn. (I had a little trouble with the edges being a dark brown...still tasted great.) Let stand a few minutes, then remove them from the pan and cool on a rack. Store cooled cakes in an airtight container for up to a week.
Variations: Substitute peach, nectarine, or plum slices for the blackberries, peeling first if desired. Cut the fruit into ½ inch slices and lay them over the top of each little cake before baking. You can also sprinkle the top of each cake with untoasted sliced almonds before baking.