Monday, 9 February 2015

Lemon & Raspberry Friands

Looking back through my blog posts, I see that I have previously included a number of recipes for friands and financiers – moist little almond and fruit sponge-cakes, but this one is so good, that I felt that I had to post it despite the fact that it is a variation on the theme.

I love anything lemony and I also love raspberries, so it was inevitable that these little cakes would really find favour with me. The friands are glazed with a runny glacé icing flavoured with fresh lemon juice, which serves to really accentuate the overall lemon flavour. I find that the inclusion of raspberries is crucial, because along with the lemon they add a fruity tartness against the sweetness of the sponge cakes. I used frozen raspberries, but you could, of course use fresh raspberries. Ironically, although I generally tend to favour fresh ingredients in my cooking and baking, this is one time that I actually prefer using frozen berries as they seem to keep their shape a little better than their fresh counterparts. Ultimately, both work well and if you happen to grow your own fruit and berries, this would be a wonderful recipe to try. Also, although I have used raspberries here, this recipe also works well by substituting them for blueberries (again either fresh or frozen).
 
What really appeals about this recipe is that other than weighing out the ingredients, there really is very little technical expertise required or complex procedures involved. The only thing that is absolutely crucial is that you prepare your tins well. I used a specialist friand tin, which is like a muffin/cupcake tin but with oval shaped ‘holes’. The inside of each hole must be brushed with melted butter and then placed in the fridge for 5 minutes to give the butter a chance to harden. Then you need to lightly dust the inside of each hole with some plain flour and shake out any excess. If you don’t do this, you risk the friands sticking and being impossible to remove. Traditionally, friands are baked directly in the tins without paper cases, so it is worthwhile spending the time to prepare the tin. If you don’t have a friand tin, use an ordinary, well-greased and floured muffin/cupcake tin instead.
 
This recipe requires 6 egg whites which seems like quite a lot. Although the white are briefly whisked, you do not need to whisk them as much as you would when creating a meringue; what you really want is just to break up their almost gelatinous quality so that they mix in easily with the other ingredients. The problem with any recipe that requires a number of egg whites is that you invariable have the equivalent number of egg yolks leftover. To be honest, this is not really a problem in my kitchen as I am quite happy to use the egg yolks to make a custard base for ice cream, crème Anglaise, lemon curd or homemade mayonnaise.
 
Here are links to some of my other friend and financier recipes:
 

Ingredients:

165g butter, melted
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100g frozen/fresh raspberries
Lemon glaze:
150g icing sugar
Juice of ½ lemon
 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease the inside of each hole of the friand tin with a little of the melted butter using a pastry brush. Set the rest of the melted butter aside for later use. Refrigerate the friand tin for 5-10 minutes to allow the butter to harden up. Remove from the fridge and lightly dust with plain flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside.
2. Sift the flour and icing sugar together into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds and mix with a wooden spoon until well distributed.
3. Add the egg whites to the flour along with the lemon zest and mix well with a wooden spoon to combine. Next add the melted butter and mix in well. Spoon the mixture evenly into the holes of the friand tin so that each is about ¾ full. Place 2 or 3 raspberries on top of each friand pressing them down so that they are gently embedded in the batter without being completely engulfed. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until well risen, light golden brown and a thin skewer inserted in one comes out clean.
4. Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, before removing gently to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To finish:
5. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together to create a slightly runny glaze. Spoon this over the friands, letting it dribble naturally down the sides of each. Allow the glaze to dry and harden and then serve.
 
Makes 12.