Friands are delightful little cakes, invented by the French, that are made predominantly of ground almonds and use whipped egg whites to make them nice and light. Watch the video below to see how easy they are to make!
You can make these treats with any berry – blueberries and raspberries are traditional but currents, or strawberries also work! You can use frozen berries – just pop them into the batter frozen. My friands are completely gluten free and I make mine refined sugar free too by using honey instead of sugar. I’ve included a recipe for real vanilla custard (that’s not thickened with cornflour) – a great way to use up the egg yolks and delicious with this recipe.
- butter 100g
- sugar or honey 1/3 cup
- ground almonds/almond meal/almond flour 1 ¼ cups
- fine desiccated coconut ½ cup
- lemon zest of 1
- free-range egg whites 5 medium or 4 large
- pinch of salt
- fresh blackcurrants/raspberries/blueberries ½ cup
- icing sugar to dust (optional)
- milk 2 cups
- vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
- free range egg yolks 4
- sugar ¼ cup
- Fresh berries
Preheat oven to 180degC. Lightly grease 8 friand moulds with a little butter. If you don’t have friand moulds just use a medium muffin tray. Add 1-2 tablespoons of caster sugar to one of the moulds and move mould around so that the sugar sticks to the butter. Tip the remaining sugar into the next mould and continue until they are all done. This helps the friand batter ‘climb’ up the sides for a higher, lighter friand.
- Melt butter and honey/sugar together, stir until well combined, then leave to cool on the bench.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground almonds, coconut and lemon zest, making sure all the ground almonds are broken up.
- In a separate glass or metal mixing bowl, Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft, foamy, floppy peaks form (do not over-whisk until stiff peaks – you’re not making meringue!). Save the egg yolks to make a custard if you wish!
- Add cooled melted butter mixture and whipped egg whites to ground almonds. Use a large metal spoon to fold all the ingredients together, until a uniform batter – it will be a very light foamy batter. Do not over-mix so as to keep as much air inside the batter as possible.
- Spoon into greased pans, dividing mixture equally, and only filling two thirds to three quarters of the way up the sides (as they will rise right to the top when cooked). Top each one with a few berries and very lightly push them a little into the batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes until risen, light golden on top and just cooked through in the centre (a wooden skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean). While the friands cook is a good time to make the custard – see recipe below.
- Leave to cool in the muffin pan for a few minutes before removing with a blunt knife – they should pop out easily. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and dust with icing sugar if using.
To serve, drizzle over custard and scatter a few extra berries on top.
To make the custard, heat up 2 cups milk (or 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk) and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean pod) in a saucepan until it is very warm but not yet boiling.
In a large bowl, whisk 5 egg yolks together until combined. Very gradually add the warm milk to the egg/sugar mix, whisking continuously until it is all combined.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low gentle heat for about 20 minutes, whilst stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Never let the mixture boil or else you risk curdling it! It’s key to be patient – it will seem at first like it’s never going to thicken, however it will very gradually.
Stir in sugar or honey to sweeten to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool – it will continue to thicken as it cools down. Serve warm or cold with fresh or grilled fruit (e.g. peaches), crumble, Friands, or just about any dessert that is worthy! Can be stored in the fridge (covered) for a couple of days.