I love trying new recipes, but like everyone else, I hate it when disaster strikes. An unreliable recipe, or a fault in technique on your part; either or both invariably send me into the doldrums. Especially when the disaster is unsaveable, like a ganache, split beyond recognition, unceremoniously tipped into the bin with a mild hint of anger and frustration. Or a cookie so sweet you can feel your teeth protesting with every mouthful. I don’t mind telling you that I’ve been trying for what seems like months now, to make from scratch, a thin Malaysian crepe-like thing called Popiah, and can’t seem to get the consistency of the batter right, no matter what recipe I’ve tried from various ones I’ve printed off the internet, or found in recipe books. The ultimate bouncey dough eludes me.
Thank goodness then for those recipes we know like the back of our hands, which we can turn to for a mid-afternoon morale booster. They are the ones that soldier on and unfailingly produce pleasing results every single time. This friand recipe is one I’ve been using for quite some time now. It started when I was asked to produce friands (small, moist almond based cakes) on a daily basis for a nearby bar/restaurant. The beauty about friands is that they are so adaptable, and welcome all kinds of flavours, like chestnut and vanilla, green tea, cinnamon, chocolate and hazelnut, with unceasing variations in toppings such as fresh, poached or candied fruit, chopped nuts, thumbnail pieces of chocolate, cocoa nibs, and coloured sugar. The sky is your limit, in other words. Once you have mastered the basic recipe, the contents of your sweet pantry are your playground, really.
The following recipe has been slightly altered from the one found in Little Cafe Cakes by Julie Le Clerc, and is my contribution to Equal Opportunity Kitchen’s Tried, Tested and True event.
Almond and Vanilla Friands :
175g butter, browned and cooled
1 cup ground almonds
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla paste
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
topping of your choice eg. fresh raspberries, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, etc
Preheat oven to 190’C. Grease 10 individual cake or muffin tins.
Place all ingredients except the topping, into a mixing bowl. Stir until just combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared tins, they should be just over 1/2 full. Top each friand with topping of choice.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Alow to stand in tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
[Note: For mini ones, like those pictured above, I used a mini muffin tin and reduced the baking time by about 10-12 minutes]