Chefs' Recipes

Warren Turnbull's spiced financières with poached pears and vanilla ice-cream

Warren Turnbull's take on the French cake, gussied up with five-spice.

By Warren Turnbull
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 35 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Spiced financières with poached pears and vanilla ice-cream
"Chinese five-spice works as both a sweet and savoury spice mixture, but you could use any spices in these versatile financières. Other lightly poached fruit can be substituted for the pear, such as apple or quince." - Warren Turnbull


  • 125 gm almond meal
  • 125 gm icing sugar
  • 25 gm cornflour
  • 1 tbsp Chinese five-spice
  • 110 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 110 gm eggwhites (about 4), lightly beaten
  • 55 gm caster sugar (¼ cup)
Vanilla ice-cream
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 500 ml pouring cream (2 cups)
  • 500 ml milk (2 cups)
  • 2 vanilla beans, split and seeds scraped
Poached pears
  • 350 gm white sugar
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2 beurre bosc pears, peeled, cored, halved


  • 1
    For ice-cream, whisk egg yolks and 130gm sugar in a heatproof bowl until pale. Combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, pour over yolk mixture, place over a saucepan of simmering water and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture reaches 84C and coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly (6-8 minutes). Strain into a bowl placed over a bowl of ice to chill, then freeze using an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes 1 litre.
  • 2
    For poached pears, combine sugar, cinnamon and 350ml water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, add pears and cook over low heat until pears are tender (10-12 minutes). Set aside to cool in syrup.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C. Combine dry ingredients, except caster sugar, in a bowl. Set aside. Heat a frying pan over high heat, add butter and cook until foamy and nut brown in colour (5-6 minutes). When butter is almost ready, add honey and eggwhites to dry mixture, followed by the butter, mixing between each addition. Spoon batter into eight, 10cm-diameter buttered and floured ring moulds placed on a baking paper-lined heavy-based oven tray. Bake until golden and centre springs back when lightly pressed (8-10 minutes). Remove from oven, brush with pear poaching liquor and keep warm.
  • 4
    Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat, add caster sugar, cook until just starting to caramelise, add pears and cook, stirring, until caramelised (7-8 minutes). Add 1-2 tbsp poaching liquid to pan, swirl to form a syrup. Place financières and pears on plates, drizzle with syrup and serve with vanilla ice-cream.


Drink Suggestion: Sauternes or botrytis semillon. Drink suggestion by Sharon Timms