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Macarons, financiers, ricciarellis are all made from egg whites and almond flour.

Is there a reason why egg whites get along so well with almond flour, and why yolks do not have a place in these recipes?

It is easy to see why in macarons since macarons are meringue based cookie, but financier does not use meringue and still calls for egg whites only.

Maybe the fat in the almond suffices to make the products rich, or maybe the coarse texture of almond needs to be countered with the moistness of egg whites, but they are just wild guesses I am making up.

I would like to know if there is an 'official' reason why egg whites and almonds go together.

37

There is nothing special about the combination, you seem to have stumbled over a case of confirmation bias :)

possible combinations

Here I made a table with examples. The table is by no means complete, it contains the first things that came up in my head. As you see, all other combinations of whole eggs or egg yolks work with almonds, other nuts, or no nuts at all. If the combination you noted were somehow special, I wouldn't have been able to find examples for other, not-working categories.

So, combining almonds and meringue is the perfect combination for a macaron, and combining almonds, egg whites and flour is the perfect combination for a financier, but only because that's what makes a macaron a macaron and a financier a financier. You can use any combination out of {egg whites, eggs, egg yolks} and {almonds, other nuts} and each of them tastes good and has been used for something in the kitchen.

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    Thank you for a very illuminating table. What about frangipane? As you'll know, it's normally made with whole eggs and almonds, mixed into creamed butter/sugar. – Mark Wildon Aug 20 at 10:47
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    @MarkWildon yes, that's another great example. The table doesn't aim for completeness - it is sufficient to show that there are examples in every category, so that all categories "work" in the technical sense. – rumtscho Aug 20 at 13:38
  • The delicious "Badem pita" (almond pie) from the balkans is another example of a traditional almond cake where both the egg whites and yolks are separately used. Almonds, egg whites and sugar for the filling, butter, flour and egg yolks for pastry. Nothing is wasted. tortatorta.blogspot.com/2011/03/badem-pita-almond-pie.html – gdir Aug 21 at 11:02
  • Thank you for the answer! Actually, then, I might have another rather naive question. What is the purpose of using 'only egg whites' in financier? Is there a specific quality that needs to be achieved which will be broken upon addition of yolk? – fogeidaihok Aug 22 at 1:47
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Adding to @rumtscho's excellent answer, you can in fact substitute almond flour with hazelnut or walnut flour (those are the ones I've tried) in macarons and still end up with a very similar result. Almonds are the traditional one to use, but there is nothing magical about almonds specifically.

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