Sunday, 4 November 2007

Raspberry Friands

Free-whats I hear you murmur. It’s pronounced free-onds and they are delicious little almond cakes. I always feel that these are the sort of tantalising, drool-inducing gem you see in expensive cake shop windows; they are small and pretty but surprisingly substantial to eat. This is because ground almonds replace virtually all of the flour in the mix.

Such pretty little things:


I have used a friand tin to get the distinctive domed oval shape. However, you can just as successfully use a muffin pan. Friand tins are available from cook shops now (I think Lakeland Limited stock them) but please don’t think you have to get one for good results– I have one as I am an obsessive acquirer of cake tins (I have decided to name the condition caketinophilia) and only use it for the three or four times a year I make friands.

The basic friand mix produces a lovely cake; however, I always put raspberries on the top as I love the sweet/tart contrast this provides. The one down side of putting raspberries, or any other berry, on top is that you squash the dome a bit.

Personally, I find the friand at its best the day after it was baked. Something magical seems to happen overnight and the juiciness of the almonds soften the cake to make it a sticky delight. They keep for several days in an air tight container – not that they will hang around that long.

Here’s a photo of a friand aged 1 day old. Just look at that luscious texture:



While friands aren’t difficult to make, there are a couple of things I will highlight in the ‘how to make’ section. And when you make them for the first time, however many times I tell you that the raw batter is the ugliest you will ever see, you will still panic that it shouldn’t look like that. If your batter looks like lumpy wallpaper paste you’re going to get a good result - just keep chanting "the Caked Crusader wouldn't lead me astray, the Caked Crusader wouldn't lead me astray"!


Ingredients:

160g unsalted butter
90g ground almonds
40g plain flour
165g icing sugar
5 egg whites

Raspberries (or any other berry) to top

How to make:

- Preheat oven to 210°C/fan oven 190°C/415°F/ Gas mark 6-7 and grease two friand or muffin tins. I got 7 friands from the mix.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat and let it cook for a couple of minutes, just so it darkens slightly. Don’t let it boil or burn. Turn off the heat and leave to one side.
- Place the flour, almonds and icing sugar into a bowl and mix together.
- Put the egg whites into a separate bowl. Here’s one of the key things to get right: with a fork, lightly whisk the egg whites until they are combined, that’s all – then stop! Do not over whisk. Forget every other recipe you’ve ever read where you have to whisk the egg whites until they froth or start to peak. If you do that here you are destroying your friands before they’ve even begun!
- Add the egg white to the flour mix. Also add the butter but make sure you strain it first as you don’t want any of the white scummy bits in your mix.
- Mix together using a metal spoon. This is when you will start to have concerns! The mix is deeply unattractive – there will be lumps in it where the almond clumps together. It will be tricky to get the dry and wet ingredients to accept each other. Persevere. If you stir enough it will work. If your mixture looks like wallpaper paste you will succeed!
- Spoon the mixture into the friand/muffin tray and fill each mould ¾ full. Ensure that you drag the spoon to the bottom of the bowl each time as I find that the ground almond can sink a bit.
- If using, gently place the raspberries on top of the batter. I use 3 per friand but you can use as many or few as takes your fancy.
- Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Here’s the second key stage. After 10 minutes, without opening the door, reduce the heat to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/ Gas mark 4 and bake for a further 5 minutes. That’s what the recipe says. I find that after this 5 minutes my friands are still raw. After reducing the oven temperature mine took a further 15 minutes. Obviously every oven is different so use your judgement – as long as the skewer comes out clean, they are done.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire wrack.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.

11 comments:

Soo said...

Caked Crusader - you ARE a superhero. Moments ago I had the 'Sunday evening back to work on Monday' blues - bad. Then I check out your blog, think - ha I bet some of those lovely friands are going find their way to the office tomorrow morning.

And heh presto - now I can't wait for Monday morning!!

(If you are reading this and there are no friands left - remember - you ARE a superhero and people everywhere are counting on you for cake. Particularly those in the next office. It's not too late to bake more.)

Deborah said...

I love the look of the raspberries on top. These look and sound delicious!

merf said...

toptip

don't wedge 2 in your face really quickly, best wedge 1 in and let it register in your guts as they are a tad filling when they expand in your stomach and the second one can lay a tad heavy if consumed quickly after the first.

this aside though the wise words of Homer come to mind following the staff picnic/giant hogie incident - 'how can I be mad at you'

Carolyn said...

I want to eat one now - I love raspberries, they just look delicious

defientchef said...

Those sound a lot like a financier (which I LOVE). Wonder if they are the same thing but with differnt names?

The Caked Crusader said...

Thanks for the question defiantchef.

Yes - friands and financiers are exactly the same thing just shaped differently. Friands are oval, whereas financiers are ingot shaped (hence the name!)

glamah16 said...

Caketinopheilia is addiction worth having. I read somewhere about a women who stores the excess tins under her bed because shes afraid of what her husband might say.

Viknits said...

I wish I liked almonds *looks wistful* lol!

andrea said...

Oh my! Gluten FREE!!! I have a friend who will be in 7th heaven!!
How do I change your measurements to cups/tbsps???

The Caked Crusader said...

Interesting question Andrea. I put "converting grams to cups" into google and found this ace convertor site where you can convert precise quantities using the calculator. Hope this helps - the address is http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/gram_calc.htm

Fiona said...

Oh my word.... my mouth is watering, as it does everytime I come here.