Blackcurrant and Coconut Financier with Blackcurrant Mousse
Blackcurrant and coconut is a lovely combination. Mr. P told me a few weeks ago, perhaps more, that he has an abundance of desiccated coconut that needs using up. Strangely that has stuck in my mind, so when I received a punnet of fresh blackcurrants recently, this marvellous idea popped into my head and so I had found a use for the coconut. I’m extremely pleased with this resulting super-delicious recipe, taking the idea of making traditional financiers that usually require ground almonds, and replacing the almonds with ground desiccated coconut instead.
The financiers are made using ‘burnt butter’ (also known as beurre noisette) combined with finely ground desiccated coconut, flour and meringue. This mixture is left in the fridge overnight, then the following day it is spooned into metal moulds with some blackcurrants added and then baked until the edges are crisp and golden. When the financiers come out of the oven, the aroma of warm baked coconut lingers in the room, embraces your nostrils and makes your taste buds salivate.
The sharpness of the plump blackcurrants baked in the financiers mixture cuts through the buttery richness and sweetness of the coconut sponge cakes beautifully. For the poached blackcurrants served alongside, I have chosen to combine tarragon with the blackcurrants as I quite like the aniseed taste, not loads of it, just a subtle amount that makes you ponder what the extra flavour is. The blackcurrant mousse adds a creamy soft texture that is perfect spooned alongside the warm baked financiers. The whole dish is then decorated with shavings of fresh coconut and tarragon sprigs. The fresh coconut is optional, but if you have bought one, see Cook’s Notes for instructions on how to prepare it.
Remember you will need to start this recipe the day before you want to serve it, to allow the financiers mixture time to chill overnight and to also allow the mousse and poached blackcurrants time to set and chill overnight.
For the blackcurrant and coconut financiers
- 125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 125g desiccated coconut
- 25g plain flour
- 3 egg whites
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 50g (prepared weight) fresh blackcurrants, topped and tailed
For the blackcurrant mousse
- 1 leaf of gelatine
- 100g (prepared weight) fresh blackcurrants, topped and tailed
- 75g caster sugar
- 40ml cold water
- 1 teaspoon crème de cassis
- 2 egg yolks
- 125ml whipping cream
For the poached blackcurrants
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml cold water
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs of fresh tarragon
- 250g (prepared weight) fresh blackcurrants, topped and tailed
- fresh coconut shavings, to decorate (optional)
- fresh tarragon sprigs, to decorate
First, prepare the blackcurrant and coconut financiers mixture. To make the beurre noisette, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, swirling it around the pan to melt it evenly. Once the butter has melted, keep the pan over the heat until the milk solids in the butter start to turn brown, stirring to prevent it from browning too quickly. Continue to keep the pan over the heat until the butter turns a deep golden brown colour, being careful not to let it turn black. Once the ‘burnt butter’ is ready (it will smell quite nutty at this stage), remove from the heat, then pass it through a fine sieve and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
While the butter is cooling, grind the desiccated coconut in a blender until it forms a fine powder, then mix it with the flour. Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture forms soft peaks. Stir the cooled butter into the coconut and flour mixture, then fold in the meringue mixture until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next, make the blackcurrant mousse. Soak the gelatine in cold water until it has softened. Put the blackcurrants, 50g of the sugar and 20ml of the water in a small saucepan and cook gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes or until the fruit is completely soft and the blackcurrants have burst. Remove from the heat. Squeeze the gelatine gently to remove the excess water, then add the gelatine to the hot blackcurrant mixture and stir until dissolved. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, then pass the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the crème de cassis and leave to cool.
Put the egg yolks and the remaining 25g sugar and 20ml water into a heatproof mixing bowl and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Using a balloon whisk or an electric hand-held whisk, whisk together until pale, thick and creamy – when you lift the whisk it should leave a visible trail on the surface (this is called the thick ribbon stage or sabayon). Remove from the heat, remove the bowl from the pan and then whisk in the cooled blackcurrant purée. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the blackcurrant/sabayon mixture until combined, then transfer the mixture to a shallow plastic container, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow the mixture to set.
Meanwhile, poach the blackcurrants. Put the sugar, water, lemon zest and juice and the tarragon in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the blackcurrants. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave to cool, then cover and refrigerate until needed. Remove the tarragon sprigs before serving
The following day, bake the financiers. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Grease eight 175ml (7.5cm diameter) metal moulds with butter and dust with caster sugar. Divide the chilled financiers mixture evenly between the prepared moulds and level the surface, then divide the blackcurrants between the moulds, pushing them down into the mixture. Place the filled moulds on a baking tray, then bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until cooked and the edges are golden brown and crisp (a fine skewer inserted into the centre of each one should come out clean). Remove from the oven and dust the tops with caster sugar, then turn them out on to a wire rack and dust with more caster sugar. Leave the baked financiers to cool slightly before serving them warm.
To serve, for each serving, place a warm financier on a serving plate, place a quenelle (or spoonful) of the blackcurrant mousse on top or alongside, then spoon the poached blackcurrants around. Decorate with fresh coconut shavings, if you like, and tarragon sprigs. Serve immediately.
The fresh coconut decoration in this recipe is completely optional, but if you have bought a coconut and are not quite sure how to prepare one, then follow these instructions. The first task is to remove the water from inside the coconut. To do this you need to find a friendly persuader, such as a small hammer and a screwdriver (clean both well before use). Place the coconut on a hard, flat, non-slip surface. There are 3 holes or ‘eyes’ at the top of the coconut, 1 of which will be softer than the others. Find the soft ‘eye’ of the coconut, then use the screwdriver and hammer to make a hole through this ‘eye’ and drain the coconut water out into a bowl, shaking the coconut to remove it all. Once the water is out, then use the hammer to bang the coconut a couple of times until the hard outside shell cracks. Open the coconut, place the pieces on a baking tray and place in a preheated oven at 120°C/Gas Mark ½ for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and then use a blunt knife to loosen the coconut from the hard shell. Discard the shell and the fresh coconut is now ready to be used.
The fresh coconut can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2–3 days or it can be frozen for up to 3 months (defrost in the fridge overnight before use). Use the leftover fresh coconut in smoothies (blended with other fresh or frozen fruits and yogurt to make a refreshing drink), or use it to make a coconut sambal to serve with a Thai or Sri Lankan curry.
Either drink the coconut water as it is or use it in smoothies or when making curries. The coconut water can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.