Have you ever heard of or tasted the smallish almond cakes called friands? From what I’ve read (and as evidenced that they’re not common in bakeries in the U.S. and try to find a friand pan!), they are quite popular in Australia and New Zealand.
At first sight, you may mistaken a friand for an oval or rectangular shaped muffin. They’re sometimes almost visually indistinguishable from a cupcake or muffin if baked in a traditional muffin-shaped pan. However, once you’ve experienced a friand…
One of the many things I really enjoy about reading and discovering new sites and blogs of interest, is the vast amount information there is out there and the self-educating process. With regards to food sites/blogs, I’m always learning about new methods, cultural foods, customs, ingredients, and regional favorites. Of late, I’ve been especially fond of Australian cookbooks and food publications. The previous sentence is not to insinuate I wasn’t fond of Australian cookbooks or food publications before, but rather that I hadn’t “discovered” them yet.
About a month ago I received my first Australian-based publication that was written in 2001. It was one of those small pamphlet-type cookbooks we used to see at the supermarket checkout aisles. Enjoying every page I turned and giddy with inspiration, I had about freaked out when I realized the temperature settings for each recipe read something like “moderately slow”, “moderately hot”, “very hot”, etc. WHAT THE…!? After getting over the initial shock at these oven temperature values, I quickly skimmed through the book looking for some type of conversion or key to translate that into a Fahrenheit scale I could relate to.
Reason for that story: A further inspiration of friands (pronounced [free ya(n)] ).
What Is A Friand?
Friands are small almond cakes typically made with almond meal, egg whites, and confectioner’s sugar (like French macarons). They usually include some type of fruit and maybe another complimentary ingredient (like chocolate, coconut, etc.). Other type of nut meals can be used, like pistachios and hazelnuts.
They are baked in oval/rectangular-shaped molds or pans, but cupcake/muffin pans are used too. What sets them apart from being a muffin is the tender, airy texture the nut meal and egg whites lend. They’re as effortless to make as their look-alike cousin, the muffin, but nothing in comparison with regards to its tender cake texture.
I’ll share more about friands in future posts. I have some variations and flavor combination brewing.
Summer raspberries and a toss of coconut were used in my TC’s first post on friands. I was really happy how they turned out – so much so that I think I’m hooked. Now, I will work on Hubbs that he refers to these tender cakelets as friands and not muffins.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll give these friands a try. You’ll have an extra 5 egg yolks to find something to do with (custards or homemade ice cream, anyone?).
- No need to buy special pans, use your regular-sized muffin tins. If making mini, start by baking for 15 minutes and gauge time from there.
- If you must, must have an oval-shaped pan, silicone molds are readily available in the U.S.
- No need to whip the egg whites in a mixer before using. Just slightly whisk before adding to mixture (optional).
- Watch and gauge the baking time.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (4 ounces)
1 cup almond meal/flour
1 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shredded coconut
5 egg whites
fresh or frozen raspberries (about 2-4 raspberries per friand)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 8 regular sized muffin wells with baking papers, or spray with nonstick spray (Note: If using silicone molds, you can omit this step).
Melt butter in microwave, set aside.
Place egg whites in a bowl and slightly whisk, set aside.
Combine almond meal/flour, confectioner’s sugar, flour, baking powder and coconut in a bowl. Add egg whites and stir until combined. Add the slightly cooled butter and stir until thoroughly combined.
Fill muffin cups/wells to about 2/3 full. Push 2-4 fresh or frozen raspberries into each cup/well.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden and springy and a toothpick test comes out clean. The center should still be moist but not wet.
Remove from silicone mold when cooled; if using a muffin pan or tins, remove promptly from pan and allow to cool before serving.