Saturday, March 13, 2010

Raspberry Almond Friands

Raspberries...almonds....YUM! I love these little oval cakes. They are sweet, but not too sweet, and chewy because of the almonds, but because of their petite size, you never feel as if you have eaten too much. (Says me, who has already eaten three today!).

I think these little cakes, called friands, first appeared in cafes in Sydney about 15 years ago. I bet they are so passé now that you can't even buy them. I love the plain raspberry ones, but you could almost use any fruit, add some zest and whatever other flavourings you like and they would turn out just as delicious. And, I have never seen them in Ottawa, or anywhere I have travelled in North America. Perhaps it's an Australian-French made-up bakery delight.

One place I used to buy them from in Sydney, baked them in a jelly-roll type of pan, cut them into triangles and dusted liberally with icing sugar. They were so good!

I used a non-stick pan which kind of looks like a muffin pan, but with oval holes in it. When I bought it in Australia, surprise surprise, it was called a friand pan. I don't know what else it could be called, or where to buy it here, but I bet mini muffin pans would work just as well. You could probably get a friand pan shipped from Peters of Kensington in Sydney.

My almonds were purchased already ground from the Mid-East store on Belfast. They are relatively cheap and if you are not planning to use them all within a couple of weeks, just wrap tightly and store in the freezer.

I don't know why I had an inkling to make these, it just felt like now was the right time. I had raspberries, I had almonds and I figured this would work out nicely.

Raspberry Almond Friands
Makes 12

1 & 1/3 cup ground almonds
1 & 3/4 cup icing sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
8 egg whites, beaten only to get the whites to a smooth consistency - not to inflate
150g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raspberries (or other fruit - blueberries, blackberries, strawberries)

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease the pan you are using.
Mix together the almonds, icing sugar, flour and lemon zest. Stir in the egg whites until just combined. Add the melted butter (and it looks like a big greasy mess at this point, but keep stirring - miraculously, it all gets mixed in) and stir until combined.
Portion the batter evenly between the holes in the pan. Top with raspberries (I used 5 per friand) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are just pale golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes. When cool, dust with icing sugar.


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