If you have never made Friands, take note...........They are a fantastic alternative to cupcakes and they are absolutely delicious!
Originating in France, they are also popular in Australia and New Zealand, and are similar to financiers. Usually made with a base of ground almonds, icing sugar and lightly whipped egg whites, they are fluffy and airy with a wonderful nutty bite. It is the egg whites which give them their magic fairy-like lift............. you'll find no baking powder in these! They are also perfect for using up surplus egg whites, which is just as well, because I had a stash of them lurking in the fridge, begging to be used every time I opened the door.
Like cupcakes, friands can be flavoured in any number of ways. I used tangy orange zest and orange extract and beautiful red, tart raspberries which complemented the sweetness of the sponge and sat perfectly against the nuttiness of the almonds.
When I opened the oven door, the aroma was intoxicating with the citrus freshness of the orange, which left me drooling to taste them as quickly as possible. The raspberries look incredibly inviting nestling in the sponge and sprinkled with a dusting of icing sugar are pretty as a picture.
The edges are crisp and sweet, but inside, the sponge is moist and heavenly, textured with a slight coarseness from the almonds. With the arrival of spring, these little morsels - fresh-flavoured and very light, promise warmer days.
I am entering my gluten free orange and raspberry friands into March's Biscuit Barrel Challenge brought to us by Laura at 'I'd Much rather Bake Than....'. This month's theme is Spring.
Citrus and berries taste of sunshine and wake the taste-buds....... definitely the perfect way to celebrate the end of winter.......
Traditionally, friands are made using a friand pan which has oval-shaped holes a little larger than muffin moulds. As I don't have one of those, I used a standard non-stick muffin tin. I much prefer the shape of the friand moulds........ Somehow their ovalness promises something special and a little bit different from the usual offerings of cake. I may just have to invest in yet another piece of cooking equipment......
For some reason though, my daughter just can't get the hang of their name........... 'I like these friends Mummy'......... 'Can I have another one?'
Orange & Raspberry Friands (gluten free)
130g ground almonds
190g icing sugar
50g gluten free plain flour (I used mix A from this post)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
zest of 1 orange - finely grated
160g unsalted butter - melted and cooled slightly
5 large egg whites
1½ teaspoons orange extract
125g fresh raspberries
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and prepare a 12 hole muffin tin (or friand tin if you have one) by lightly greasing if it is not non-stick.
- Weigh and mix the almonds, icing sugar, flour, xanthan gum and orange zest in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are broken down.
- Lightly whisk the egg whites until they have become a light, frothy foam.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, orange extract and whisked egg whites. Gently fold to combine completely.
- Spoon/pour the mixture into the moulds (about two-thirds full) - I used an ice cream scoop to cut down the mess.
- Place 2 to 3 raspberries on the top of each friand (depending on the size of your moulds), gently pushing into the batter so that they are partly submerged.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the friands are golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool. If the friand has stuck, gently ease the tip of a silicone spatula or knife round the edge to release.
- Dust with icing sugar to serve.
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