Tuesday, March 20, 2012
My ingredient obsession of the moment: freeze-dried strawberries. Have you tried them yet? You may have had them in your breakfast cereal. They're light as a feather and seem to dissolve instantly on your tongue, and they taste like…well, imagine if you crammed an entire pint of super-ripe strawberries into your mouth along with a couple of strawberry Jolly Ranchers—that's how they taste.
Perhaps it's because strawberry season is three long months away or perhaps it's because freeze-dried strawberries really are that good, but I've been grinding them up and putting them in everything. I love how they turn buttercreams and cake batters technicolor pink. It's like when Dorothy found herself in Oz and suddenly the world was in brilliant color. But with flavor! Three quarters of an ounce of strawberry powder plus a little tinkering transformed my regular financier batter into these lovely treats.
I'm thinking of making pink angel food cake or pink yellow cake frosted with pink whipped cream next.
¾ ounce freeze-dried strawberries
5 ½ ounces sugar
2 ½ ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the tins
2 ½ ounces almond meal
5 ounces egg whites, at room temperature
5 ounces (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the tins
Grind the freeze-dried strawberries to a fine powder in a blender, spice mill, or clean coffee grinder. Whisk together the strawberry powder, sugar, flour, and almond meal in a large bowl. Whisk in the egg whites until thoroughly combined and then whisk in the butter until thoroughly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners and divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake for 24 to 26 minutes, or until golden brown and the edges of the teacakes start to shrink away from the pan. Let the teacakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks and finish cooling completely.
Makes 1 dozen teacakes. Both the unbaked batter and the finished teacakes have good keeping qualities.