Purple Carrot and Pecan Financiers with Candied Carrot Strips (GF)

  These financiers - full of shredded purple carrots and twice-toasted ground pecans - have quickly become the new family favorite. After the great success I had with the beet and hazelnut cakes I made a few days ago, I was eager to try another variation on the gluten-free French confection. For a carrot-cake like twist, I ran a few purple carrots through the food processor and added a couple handfuls to the buttery financier batter. I replaced the hazelnuts with ground pecans, which narrowly escaped being overground into pecan butter. When the dough had chilled and been scooped into my favorite little fluted molds, I topped the batter with a sprinkling of ground pecans and a coating of turbinado sugar, which baking into a delicate sugar crust. For the final touch, I made some candied carrot shavings which baked into strips of crispy caramel. These are definitely not your most conventional financiers, but are a delicious take on the traditional French treats, which have become a staple in our family diet.

Purple Carrot and Pecan Financiers
Candied Carrot Strips

Made 10 cakes
           4 egg whites (120-125 g)
           125 g granulated sugar
           1-2 large purple carrots
           40 g pecan halves, to yield 25 g ground pecans
           30 g almond flour
           60 g sweet white rice flour 
           140 g butter
           A couple tablespoons of turbinado sugar (optional) 
     Candied Carrots 
           1-2 large purple carrots (depending on how much you want to make)
           1 cup water
           1 cup sugar  
           A few tablespoons of turbinado sugar 
Cut the butter into cubes and place it in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it turns brown. The top of the butter will become foamy and it will smell distinctively nutty. Strain the butter and set it aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 350˚F and in a small pan or baking dish, bake the pecans for about 10 minutes until they begin to smell nutty. Remove the nuts from the oven and let them cool.
Pulse the nuts in the food processor until they form a coarse flour. Be careful not to over pulse.
Spread the ground pecans evenly over a baking sheet and bake again for 5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Pulse the pecans again a couple times in the food processor and measure out 25 g of ground pecans. Some of the ground pecans may be getting oily and turning in a coarse pecan butter, so try to measure out the driest ground pecans.
Peel the carrots and grate them in the food processor.  Measure out about a half a cup and set aside. Any left over carrots can be stored in the fridge for later use.
Whisk together the egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer. Add the almond flour, pecan flour, and white rice flour.
 Add the butter and mix until a homogenous batter forms. Fold in the shredded carrots. Cover the batter in saran and set in the fridge to chill for 2-4 hours.
When the batter has chilled, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease your desired baking tins (I used 6 brioche molds and baked two separate batches to get 12 cakes) and fill them about 3/4 of the way full with batter. Sprinkle the scooped batter with some left over ground pecans and cover them with a sprinkling of turbinado sugar if desired.  
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from their molds and setting them on a cooling rack.
     Candied Carrots 
Peel the carrots and use the carrot peeler to slice thin strips of carrot. I found that it was easiest to do this holding the carrot flat against the counter and pressing the peeler down against the carrot while sliding it horizontally across the carrot. It may take a couple tries to get the hang of this. I was only able to slice about half of each carrot this way, as eventually the narrow end of the carrot got too thin. 
In a small sauce pan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Place the carrot strips in the water/sugar mixture, and let them simmer for 15 minutes. While they are simmering, heat the oven to 400˚F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. 
Drain the carrots and lay them out flat on the silicone mat so that they don't touch. Sprinkle them generously with turbinado sugar.
Bake for 20-30 minutes in the oven until dark and caramelized, but not burnt. They won't be completely hard when you remove them from the oven, but should be come brittle and crispy quickly as they cool. Allow them to cool before removing them from the silicone mat. I transferred them to a sheet of parchment once they were cool.
I made them to use as a garnish on the financiers, but realized that they would be beautiful on a cake or as decorations on any kind of custard or panna cotta. Be creative!


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