Here’s to a prosperous 2010!

The "Financier"

Where to begin? I’ve long wanted to write this but couldn’t find the right time or words.

I was let go from my computer job last August. I had no bitterness against the company who, as a media business, was one of those hit hardest by this recession. I was struck with mixed emotions of liberation, sadness, elation and fear. The weeks that followed the lay-off, I had not shed a tear nor expressed anger and everyone kept asking me if I was okay. I searched my feelings but it was blank. I felt like I was in a state of suspended animation. Logic would have me charging full force with growing my little pastry business but even my interest in that waxed and waned.

It took me almost a month to realize that it was fear.
I had no excuses anymore why I cannot bake this or that. I had all the time in the world, but something was holding me back.
It was fear. Fear of not realizing my business the way I envision it, fear of being too old to attempt a career change, fear…of…failure.
At first, we thought of canceling our Paris trip. After all, my fledgling business hardly made up for the lost income. We’ve booked it way back in June and it was a dream trip. Somehow "Hungry" Hubby and I knew that if we didn’t go, that might send me spiraling into depression (okay, maybe that was being dramatic but who knows?)  I needed this break to find out if I wanted to move forward with this business path or start typing up my resume to send out.

I’ll admit that there was a time when I started on my resumé when a friend said he may have a position open but then I would need to move out of Richmond. HH has a telecommuting job, so it was a non-issue. It was tempting.

But then that would be playing it safe again. A voice in my head told me “For once, Veronica, take a chance in your life to find out what you really want to do!” So I did not act on the offer.

Now it’s the end of December, but I have not done a thing to move towards my goal. I’ve learned a lot from my class at Pierre Hermé but that hardly makes me an entrepreneur. I realized that I have the attention span of a gnat and I need to organize a list of mini-goals to meet my big goal. I need to organize my days into what recipes need testing and what procedures need to be streamlined. (Sounds like I need a book for this, any recommendations?)

My journey into food began as a child in the restaurant/bakeshop that my parents started which is now under the charge of my brother and the creative direction of my sister-in-law. So I’ve decided to revisit that journey: I will go home to the Philippines to find out if this life of creating food is really for me. I will be gone for 5 weeks, I’ve never been away from HH this long! In between gathering recipes for the business and blog, I am embarking on another project: memoir-fact finding that could become reminiscent of “The Joy Luck Club” (yeh, I’m delusional). So much materials can be gleaned through oral history, but like any memoir I’ll have to weigh whether these experiences are worthy to be told with the chance that someone’s feelings may get hurt or just scrub it all together and bury the rich stories of my youth. I shall see. And yes I’ll be blogging from there. 🙂

Also today, December 31st, marks the day I’ve finally sorted through the boxes of my old life from my previous company. I felt a pang of melancholy. I did love being a DBA and it’s a life I think I can go back to in case this life in pastry did not pan out. So, I’ve carefully set aside my books on database administration and shredded all the paperwork that needed shredding. HH will take these to the basement for safe keeping just in case I find out that I do like being a geek.

And yes, that was liberating.

 I am okay, but still beset with mixed emotions and I know they will be with me for awhile, but right now I am SO full of HOPE for the New Year.

Stacks of "Gold Bars" ,great thought for the New Year, don’t ya think?

I’ve had this financier recipe tucked away for awhile not knowing what story to spin around it. I find that this popular tea sweet is so appropriate for the New Year as its traditional shape is similar to a bar of gold – a shining symbol of prosperity. The financier is on my to-do list of recipe tweaking as I am researching ways to make it taste as good 2-3 days after it is baked as they tend to be dense and dry when not reheated. Rose Levy Beranbaum’s recipe uses baking powder probably to make it less dense but this is still not the texture I am looking for but it is delicious nonetheless.

Hopefully, in 2010, my quest for the perfect Financier will be realized among other things.

So I wish all my dear friends and readers a Prosperous and Joyous New Year! May it bless us all with the beginning of good fortune and happiness for many years to come!

Gold Ingots (Financiers Classiques)

from: Rose Levy Beranbaum Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

sliced almonds   preferably 2/3 cup , 66 grams
unsalted butter (65 F to 75 F) 11 tablespoons ( 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons), divided, 156 grams
superfine sugar 3/4 cup, 150 grams
pastry flour (or Wondra flour) 1/2 cup, sifted into the cup and levelled off, 50 grams
baking powder 3/4 teaspoon
4 large egg whites, at room temperature 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces), 120 grams
pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon

Special Equipment : Financier mold(s), preferably silicone, 3 by 1 by 1 1/4 inches high, coated with baking spray with flour. If silicone, set on a wire rack and then on a baking sheet. A pastry bag fitted with a 3/8 to 1/2 -inch round pastry tube (optional)
Preheat the oven Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Toast the Almonds. Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until pale golden. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over browning. Cool completely.
Clarify and brown part of the butter (buerre noisette). Have ready a fine-mesh strainer, or a strainer lined with cheesecloth, suspended over a heatproof glass measure. In a small heavy saucepan, heat 6 tablespoons/3ounces/85grams of the butter over low heat until melted. Continue cooking, stirring constantly and watching carefully to prevent burning, until the milk solids turn deep brown. Immediately pour the butter through the strainer into the heatproof measure. Measure 4 tablespoons/1.7 ounces/50 grams into another glass measure and set it in a warm spot, or reheat the buerre noisette when ready to add it to the batter. Store any remaining buerre noisette in the refrigerator for at least a year.
Melt the remaining butter In a small heavy saucepan, melt the remaining 5 tablespoons/2.5 ounces/71 grams of butter over low heat. Pour the melted butter into a heatproof glass measure and set it in a warm spot, or reheat it when ready to add it to the batter.
Grind the almonds. In a food processor, process the toasted almonds and sugar until very fine. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides a few times to ensure that all the almonds are processed to a fine powder.
Make the batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the almond mixture, flour, and baking powder on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the egg whites and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until well mixed. Add the vanilla and beat for a few seconds to incorporate evenly.
On medium-low speed, drizzle in the hot buerre noisette and then the hot melted butter. It should take about 5 minutes to complete and process, giving the mixture a chance to emulsify.
Fill the molds. The molds should be filled about half full (1 ounce/30 grams in each for the standard size mold). If you have enough molds, it is easiest if you scrape the mixture into a bowl or cup with a spout and pour the batter into the pastry bag if using, or freezer-weight resealable plastic bag with one corner cut and refrigerate it for a minimum of 1 hour or p to overnight. If refrigerated for more than 1 hour, it will still be soft enough to pipe, and it should sit for 30 minutes in the molds at room temperature before baking. (Alternatively, you can spoon the batter into the molds, but piping is easier and quicker.)

Preheat the oven. Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375F/190C.
Bake the financiers Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and the financiers spring back when pressed lightly in the centers.
Cool and unmold the financiers. Let the financiers cool completely in the silicone molds on a wire rack before unmolding. To unmold, push out each financier with your fingers pressed against the bottom of the mold. If using a metal mold, set it on a wire cooling rack and cool 5 minutes before unmolding. Run a a small metal spatula between the sides of the molds and the financiers, pressing firmly against the molds. Invert onto a wire rack and reinvert them onto another rack. Cool completely. The financiers keep, wrapped airtight in plastic wrap in an airtight container, for 3 days at room temperature, for 5 days, refrigerated, and for several months frozen.

46 thoughts on “Here’s to a prosperous 2010!

  1. I absolutely think I’m experiencing that same thing – fear. I really hate that word but its’ there. I have this resume with an empty work experience finding it really hard to push print page. Same thoughts came to mind about take a chance in your life but what do you do when someone is in control of your life? I wonder what restaurant business you have in Manila. You are so talented and I believe that you will also receive a breakthrough his year.

  2. This post really touched my heart Veron! I love how you shared your story with us. You are and amazing strong, and smart woman. Just hang in there and bring me back some champorado! 🙂

  3. I almost cried when I read about what you’ve been going through. It was impossible to tell any of this by your posts. I can only imagine how difficult this transition has been for you. I’m so glad you have hubby and that you went to Paris had the Pierre Herme adventure (and especially glad that they upgraded you!).

    Never, ever let age hold you back. Madeleine Albright was 59 when she became Secretary of State after being a stay at home mom. Julia Child didn’t start Mastering the Art until she was in her 40’s and Baking with Julia until she was 80. Men never consider age- neither should you.

    I love your spirit, your willingness to change and your tenacity. You will get through this and come out stronger for it – with new friends and great new skills and who knows what else.

    We’re rooting for you. We support you. Have a great trip and bring on the macarons!!

    Here’s to your great New Year. Cheers to hubby too!

  4. Hey sis Veron! Great to have read your comment! I am touched to have read this post of yours. Your thoughs reminded me of us the boyz, we were in such similarity, gosh being laid off from job is tough I thought. Veron, it may feel very difficult in many ways but babe, you will be very surprise what will be install for you in comings as what had installed for us this passed one year was surely amazing, I thought I would not survive at all that last one year.

    Chasing your dream and passion in what you are faith to do will never stop you from flourishing your talent and survival.

    In my believe this little petite lady named Veron will definitely make it and she will make it in style, I have that trust in you!

    Let’s exchange email and ideal in chasing our dreams and passion! . . . . from us sunny & sid

  5. Thank you for sharing this with us. I know what you mean about fear. I often feel the same, about many different things. Sometimes paralysed that I won’t be good enough, or silly enough to try something new. But as they say, when one door closes, another one opens. You just have to find that new door. And what a wonderful opportunity you have to be able to go to the Philippines to get a feel for what could be your new life. Best of luck with your journey. Looking forward to reading what happens!

  6. Happy 2010, Veronica! Best of luck on your journey – I firmly believe that life takes you where you need to go, you just have to recognize it and shovel the coals for the ride. I’m looking forward to hearing from you in the new year!

  7. Veronica, I know you have the dedication, tenacity, and sheer talent to be a success. Your entrepreneurial spirit has always come through in your posts, and it is precisely what I admire about you. Well, that and your impeccable baked goods! Much luck to you in whatever you decide to pursue and happy New Year!

    BTW, your choice of financiers to mark the occasion is simply perfection! 🙂

  8. Hi Veron – when I think of what you’ve achieved in the last couple of years, and the experiences you’ve had, you have no reason to fear. I knew when we met in New York, that you were blessed with a sense of adventure that would take you to many places. I think your return to the Philippines will be the trip of a lifetime. Happy New Year, my friend! I think 2010 will be a milestone for you!

  9. Thanks Divina – yes, fear can paralyze us into inaction but as I thought I don’t want to get old and think of “What if”s. The restaurant is in Baguio but I’m sure to be doing some research in Manila too, I’ve heard the restaurant/bakery scene has exploded in recent years.
    Thanks Kamran! you know it , I miss champorado.
    Thanks Helen! I know, girl. You hang in there too. You and B are so strong and you’ve made the right decisions. Can’t wait to see what you all have lined up for 2010!
    Thanks El! Now you are making me cry with such a heartfelt comment. I feel fortunate that I got to go to Paris. And Julia Child, is my inspiration, I keep on telling the hubby. As he is Paul to my Julia ever supportive!
    Thanks Sunny & Sid! I am so touched! Yes, definitely exchange emails, you guys rock and I would love to learn from both of you.
    Thanks Julia! My first thought was another door has opened, and it is really up to me to step through it.
    Thanks Irene! Things happens for a reason. The timing of this just told me so, but I know I have to work hard for the fulfillment of that dream.

  10. You are a strong and a beautiful wife! I look forward to our next stage together….better leave me enough macarons and biscottis to last me 5 weeks while you’re gone though!

  11. Thanks Lucy! I am touched by your words – everyone’s support. Makes undertaking this journey so much easier.
    Thanks T.W.! You have been with me almost from the beginning, my friend. I still remember our meeting in NY, that was priceless! 😀
    Welcome tracieMoo !
    Thanks, sweetie – definitely will make you some biscotti and probably freeze some ghorme-sabzi for you too.

  12. Veron, all my love to you. I know what it’s like to be struck by fear and doubt. These days, no matter what the obstacles, I try to regard it as something that had to happen, and to try to let go of it. I hope 2010 proves to be just the year you deserve. 🙂

  13. Wow Veron. I loved this post, how honest, vulnerable, yet incredibly strong and wise you are. I KNOW 2010 will be a prosperous year for you. Have no fear…just joy and expectation for great things to come!

    Happy, happy, muy happy New Year!

  14. Hi Veron, You may not remember me for this but about a year or so ago I emailed you asking some question – maybe it was about macarons – as I had been following your blog for awhile. You were kind enough to respond and we emailed back and forth a few times as I was curious to know about your life in the Philippines. Maybe you feel like you haven’t done much this year but for people like me watching from a distance – all I can say is that you are an inspiration. Oh by the way, you’re so lucky HH comments on your blog! I can’t even get my hubby to post one little comment! 🙂

    All the best in 2010! Enjoy the Philippines!

  15. Thanks Y! That’s indeed some way to look at it that things happen for a reason.
    Thanks Sophia! It was hard to write this post, but it was kind of therapy to get it out there.
    Thanks Trissa! I remember our emails. It tickles me that I can inspire :D.
    Thanks Rosa!

  16. Veron, I was so moved reading your post. Who could ever tell you’ve been through this all when reading your Pierre Herme class stories! Looks like we’re leading similar lives, I left my IT job to pursue my baking passion. I’m going to start working for a local French Patisserie tomorrow! *fingers crossed*

  17. Wow Veronica! What a complete and total honest view into your thoughts! Thank you for sharing, it is inspiring! Safe travels to you and can’t wait to read what is next!

  18. It takes real strength and bravery just to acknowledge such fears, and especially to face them- Not to mention air them out in such a public space! It just goes to show what power of will you possess, and I’m not worried at all about what the future holds for you… I’m absolutely certain that you have the ability to work through anything, and turn it around into a blessing all the while.

    I really can’t wait to see what this new year brings for you… And don’t forget, you always have us loyal readers as a support system! If there’s ever any way I can help, please don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂

    Love and hugs for 2010!

  19. No matter how your decide to pursue your dream (continue out of your home or start a bakeshop), I can’t wait to have another macaron!!! My husband agrees too 🙂 Have fun in the Philipines.

  20. Thanks OFD Consulting – how fascinating. Congrats to you for taking that leap!
    Thanks Purple foodie – IT to baking, that’s us. good luck on your start with the French Patisserie.
    Thanks Mycookinghut!
    Thanks Liz! It’s going to be a new adventure!
    Thanks Hannah! I’m so lucky to have such great blog friends like you….like everyone here…so supportive. Love and hugs to you too!
    Thanks MMH1 – I’ll tweet my return. Would love to have a storefront but I think I found another venue for my macs.
    Thanks P. All the best to you too!

  21. As someone who has the attnetion span of a goldfish advising one with that of a gnat, I think you are making good decisions for yourself. Fear can be crippling, so one mini-goal at a time, and before you know it, your life will have changed for the better all around you! Good luck and happy new year too!

  22. Veronica,
    I am oh-so-glad you posted this blog on this day, a day when I too was feeling conflicted of where to go next with my life. I am graduating college in May and have to begin making my “now what?” plans. It is scary and I honestly cannot decide between creative writing and baking but, your own doubtful future and willful attitude to persevere have truly inspired me. These sticky forks-in-the-road’s are never fun and wouldn’t life just be grand if it was one easy straight and narrow course? However, I firmly believe what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and you, my friend, are one strong woman. You make delicate confectioneries but it takes a tough person, one who is determined and unrelenting, to create such beauties. I know you will surprise us all in your decision of what lies ahead for my personal favorite Macaron aficionado! Good luck, lovely!

  23. Veronica- what an aggressive way o pursue your dream! You are so multi-talented, I know you will be successful whichever path you choose. I look forward to your posts from the Phllipines, and I wish you and the HH much peace and prosperity in the year ahead!! While I will miss having you just up Rt 64, I am excited for you and your voyage of self-discovery!

  24. thanks Gary- funny, first time I heard that about a goldfish. I’m working on my mini-goals now.
    thanks fink- this is one of the reasons I wrote this post, I know a lot of folks are faced with my dilemma and I wanted them to know that they are not alone. And if my post inspires then all the better and I am truly happy!
    Thanks sketchy!
    Thanks Deborah – I’m so excited about my plans after the trip, that I have to stop daydreaming and start doing. I’ll be back, hopefully at the Farmer’s market in May.

  25. Veron,

    Your life changes are our life changes, we learn with and from you, I live something very similar and was paralised sometime and now am trying to move on as nothing good happens if we don’t take some risks. You are searching beautifully for solutions they you definitely come your way very soon!

    Good year for you,


  26. Forgot to mention, as soon as I saw these financiers I could tell they had baking powder in the dough. BP openly changes the texture of financiers and I personally prefer the way they look without BP.


  27. Veron – go, liberate, enjoy, dig for and respect the past – live for the future and tomorrow – what’s around the corner awaits you!!!! Have fun visiting your family.

  28. I got laid off from a job that I hated in 2001 and mustered up my courage to go do a yoga training. I found my voice as a teacher and enjoyed it so much for the 2 years that I did it. I was so afraid to make that drastic of a change but it was totally the right thing to do. I admire your courage and am excited by your journey! We will all be waiting to read what you discover.

  29. Veronica,
    What a touching post. I finally got caught up from your Paris trip! I wish you abundant blessings in 2010, finding your path and loving every minute of it. Sounds like you have a wonderful HH to support you! 🙂

  30. Thanks Claudia – risks are good. It’s what makes life interesting , that is what I am finding out.
    Thanks Betty! Living for the future!
    Thanks Dana! I found this the right time to try out different things, good for you to try that with your yoga.
    Thanks Amanda! I am blessed with a wonderful HH who puts up with a lot of my hairbrain ideas. But that’s what husbands are for, right? Seriously, i am so thankful for someone who believes in me and thank you for everyone who reads my blog and my online friends for great support!
    Thanks Caitlin! I hope so too, it’s always good to try!

  31. Veron,

    Don’t you see, someone out there thinks you’ve got talent and nudging you in a different direction. wink wink. Isn’t it interesting how and why things happen – all for a reason.

    I am in the same boat as you except you are getting a head start. Wouldn’t you rather be trying to figure out how many times a recipe can be multiplied rather than restoring a db in the middle of the night =).

    You’ve got talent and I hope to see you go after your dream. What are you waiting for?
    All the best for the new year!

    Thanks for all the wonderful posts. Don’t have time to comment, but enjoy them nonetheless.

  32. Dear Veronica,
    First, thank you for sharing such intimate feelings with us. I wish there were words I could say to make your journey less fearful but alas, the path of least resistance is sometimes shadowed by What ifs. It seems daunting but going through is always better than going around and that is what life has in store for you it would seem.

    Like Trissa, I have been so inspired by your creativity and tenacity. Fear is sometimes hidden in the webs of imperfection. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Perhaps, the book you need is yet to be written by you:)

    Enjoy your trip home. Treasure your open heart and the rest will follow…Louise

  33. I’m new to your blog and I’m addicted. This post hits home as I am going through very similar feelings of fear. Lost a good job a few years ago and have been struggling to find myself still yet at the tender age of 39. I’m a single mom and the past few years have been a real kick in the arse. A few years back I was torn between choosing a career in cosmetology or pastry. I chose the beauty industry and still find myself addicted to pastry & everything about it. So here I am a hairstylist ready to enroll in pastry school and embark on what I hope will be my destiny. I am very scared but I set a goal and hope to accomplish it by the time I’m 45. Same fears of starting so late in the game, but what the heck we only live once.
    I also swooned over your PH class post. You are very fortunate. I hate I missed his class at the French Pastry School. So close to home and I lost out. Oh well! Maybe there will be a next time.

    Good luck to you always! I’m so glad to have found your blog.


  34. Hi Veronica
    This is the first time that i visit your blog, in fact, i want to find a french bread recipe, having searching a few, your blog is drawn to my attention, esp this piece, though i don’t understand throughly, we have similar situation. I worked for my company almost five years, i though i take a great efford on working for 3 other duties. Compare other colleagues, they have promotion and increament, i got none return! i feel depressed.
    i do hope i can run my own business since i’m interested on pastry work, but i think it’s impossible, first, i don’t have enough money, second, i’m too old to change my careea! I admire you and start your new journey. May god bless you always.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s