Tiger Tea Cakes: Les Tigres
- 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups ground blanched almonds
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 stick plus 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or mini-chips
- Bittersweet chocolate ganache, optional, recipe follows
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 48 mini-muffin tins. (There is enough batter to make 48 cakes in tins with a 2-tablespoon capacity or 16 cakes in standard muffin tins holding 1/3 cup.)
Working in a medium mixing bowl with a whisk, beat the egg whites just to break them up. Add the ground almonds, sugar, flour and corn syrup and stir until the batter is smooth. (If you'd like, you can cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for as long as overnight.)
Put the butter in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Remove the butter from the heat and stir it into the batter. When the batter is no longer warm, stir in the chocolate chips.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin tin. (If you are using regular-size tins, use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each muffin mold.) Bake the cakes for 15 to 18 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden; a knife inserted in the center of the cakes should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn them out onto racks to cool to room temperature.
When the cakes are cool, you can top them with ganache, if you wish.Ganache:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let rest 30 seconds, then gently stir the cream into the chocolate with a small whisk. (Stir, do not beat you don't want to beat air into the ganache.) The ganache is now ready to be used as a dip.
To dip: Place the tiger cakes upside down on a cooling rack. (To protect your counter, put a sheet of parchment or foil under the rack.) One by one, dip the bottoms of the cakes into the ganache, glazing them with ganache to about the half-way point. Return the cakes to the rack to set about 1 hour at room temperature or 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
Keeping: Tigres will keep in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days, although ganache-topped tigres are best eaten the day they are made. Packed airtight, tiger cakes can be frozen for up to 1 month.
Recipe adapted from Maison Kayser, courtesy of Paris Sweets: Great Recipes from the City's Best Pastry Shops, by Dorie Greenspan (Broadway Books, 2002)