Friandises are high on the list of fashionable foods at present. Foodies and cooks en masse are drooling over friand recipes - reading about the delicious little treats in gourmet mags, ordering them in cafes, and baking them at home.
As a point of clarification, my 1984 copy of Larousse Gastronomique describes a friand as 'a small puff-pastry case filled with sausage meat, minced meat, ham or cheese'. Further, a friand can also be 'a small sweet pastry, a barquette (boat shaped tart) often made with an almond paste filling and elaborately decorated'.
A friandise, Larousse explains, is the French term for a delicacy when referring to patisserie or sweetmeats. 'The word is often used for petit fours or sweets eaten between meals... and is used to mean a treat in the general sense.'
While some friands are baked in the shape of a muffin, the current trend in friands is a petite, featherlight almond cake baked in a special oval-shaped mould. These friands are gluten free. Sometimes I add some berry fruits, such as raspberries or blueberries. Sometimes I leave them plain.
My recipe is adapted from A Passionate Cook by Margaret Fulton (Lansdowne, 1998). Margaret baked them one time when she presented a class at my former cooking school. It was then that I fell in love with them! Enjoy ❤ ❤ ❤
185g unsalted butter
11/2 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
300g icing sugar, sifted
1/3 cup plus one tablespoon plain flour, sifted
5 free-range egg whites
1/2 cup raspberries or blueberries, fresh or frozen, optional
Grease the moulds or patty pans well with butter. Preheat your oven to 230 degrees C. Melt the butter in a small saucepan; cooking it gently until it is pale golden in colour. Pour into a small jug and set aside. Add the ground almonds, sifted icing sugar and sifted flour, and process until mixed. Add the egg whites and the warm butter, pouring the butter in carefully to hold back any of the browned solids that will sink to the bottom of the jug. Mix together well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared moulds or patty pans, about half filling each mould. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200 degrees C and bake for a further 12-15 minutes. If using patty pans, these could take 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the friands in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack. Makes 12.
Tell me dear readers and fellow cooks, do you bake or buy friands?
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.