Thursday, 9 April 2015

Rhubarb & Orange Friands

This recipe is a perfect example of how useful and adaptable certain basic recipes can be. These Rhubarb & Orange Friands are made using practically the same recipe as the one I used to make my Lemon & Raspberry Friands a few weeks ago. Friands are incredibly simple to make and, as already stated, infinitely adaptable to incorporate whatever nuts or fruits are in season.
 
I have been experimenting with custard based recipes recently and this has meant that I have had quite a few egg whites left over after using the yolks to make the custard. Although I could have used the egg whites to make meringues or pavlova which always go down a treat in my house, I decided to use some of them to make these friands instead as I had a hankering to make something that included rhubarb. Unlike many recipes that use egg whites, here they do not need to be whisked before incorporated into the other ingredients – everything can just be mixed with a wooden spoon! This recipe is truly simple and the only watch point is to make sure that you prepare your tins well before adding the batter and baking the friands.
 
I absolutely love rhubarb. It seems to thrive in my garden which is great and despite the fact that I pick it regularly, there always seems to be loads of it. I planted two rhubarb crowns about ten years ago and despite a couple of disappointing years initially, it has otherwise been a completely trouble-free crop! In fact, it seems to thrive on neglect and yet it still keeps producing.
 
I pre-roasted the rhubarb with the finely grated zest and the juice of an orange for approximately 12 minutes in the oven until it had just softened. This is a wonderful way to cook rhubarb as it retains its shape without turning into a mushy mess.
 
I was initially torn between pairing the rhubarb with orange or with ginger, both of which are combinations I really like, but, in the end, decided that I would go for the orange option as I was in the humour for something a little zesty.
 

Ingredients:

Roasted rhubarb:
200g rhubarb
50g caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
Friands:
165g butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
125g ground almonds
100g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tins
250g icing sugar
6 egg whites, lightly beaten
Finely grated zest of ½ orange
To finish:
A little icing sugar for dusting (optional)
 

Method:

Roasted Rhubarb:
1. Preheat oven to 200C/Fan Oven 180C/Gas mark 6.
2. Chop the rhubarb into 4cm lengths and place in a single layer in a roasting dish. Add the orange zest and juice and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
Friands:
3. Lightly grease the inside of each hole of the friand tin with a little of the melted butter and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes so that the butter has a chance to harden up. Set the rest of the butter aside for use later. Remove the tin from the fridge and dust the inside of each hole with a little plain flour, shaking out any excess.
4. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds and mix with a wooden spoon until well distributed.
5. Add the egg whites to the flour mixture along with the orange zest and mix with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the melted butter and mix in thoroughly.
6. Spoon the mixture evenly into the holes of the friand tin so that each is about ¾ full. Place 3 or 4 pieces of the cooled roasted rhubarb on top of each friand. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes until well risen, light golden brown and a thin skewer inserted into one comes out clean.
7. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before removing gently to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Lightly dust with a little icing sugar prior to serving, if desired.
 
Makes 12.