One Woman's Journey through Her Cookbooks
I remember a long time ago while perusing old baking magazines coming across beautiful oval buns called friands. I was quite intrigued by these French delicacies but for some reason or another, I never pursued making them. And of course, completely forgetting what was in the magazines, I donated them to charity during a mad clear out session!
Friands are a small French cake made with a little flour, lots of icing sugar and ground almonds, egg whites and butter! The result is a very light sponge that’s wonderfully moist and totally delicious.
A little online shopping spree one day last September and I found a friand pan on Amazon. Of course I had to buy it! And what a fab pan it is, non-stick and heavy gauge. Whoopee! Now where is that recipe? UGH!!!!
A search through my library and I’d only one friand recipe. Hmmm. Something about it wasn’t doing it for me. A search online and I found simply hundreds from Australia and New Zealand. What’s the story here?? Why have these little cakes become so popular there? I know that the measurements used are that bit different to ours and to be honest, I’m not that mad about having to do conversions as I inevitably get something wrong. My search continued. Then, lo and behold, I found an article from Nigel Slater on the Guardian website for a selection of picnic recipes, one of which was for BLACKBERRY FRIANDS. BINGO! And what a divine treat.
Last week I took a hankering to make friands again. I whipped out my mixer, measured ingredients, melted butter, greased the precious friand pan, preheated the oven. Everything all set to go. Yes, FOR ONCE I WAS ORGANISED! It paid off as the result was a beautifully light friand packed full of flavour. When you bite into it, the sponge melts in your mouth and the blackberry explodes on the tongue. So fabulous that my mother asked me to make more for her birthday instead of cake.
Two things to note:
1. Don’t just lightly whip the egg whites, get them really fluffy but just not to meringue status. The egg whites must be soft. And of course, the more volume, the lighter the friands. I got nine from my first batch and ten from the second.
2. Keep a very close eye on the bake when in the oven. I recently discovered that my oven is TOO hot so I’ve had to lower my temperatures accordingly as well as watching like a hawk!
If you would like to try Nigel’s friand recipe, you’ll find it here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/17/nigel-slater-recipes-picnic. I highly recommend you do!!