Borrowed from the French word meaning “Tasty Little Things”, Friands has become the English name for these deliciously buttery cakes. Ground Almonds are combined with flour and frothy beaten egg whites act as the raising agent. The addition of bright berries with a sprinkle of nuts or a pinch of lemon zest make them the picture perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea. One of the reasons I love Friands is that they can be frozen and if it’s afternoon tea for one you can still enjoy a beautiful, home-made but not over indulgent treat by removing only two or three from the freezer at a time.
200g / 7oz unsalted butter
225g / 8oz icing (confectioners) sugar
75g / 3oz plain (all purpose) flour
150g/5oz ground almonds (almond meal)
½ tsp almond extract
6 egg whites
25g/1oz flaked almonds
Lemon zest from one lemon
Icing sugar to dust
1. Heat oven to 180 C and grease three mini muffin tins (36 holes in total).
2. Melt the butter and leave it to cool a little.
3. Sift the icing sugar and flour together into a bowl and then mix in the ground almonds and the extract.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy but not stiff enough to hold peaks.
5. Add the melted butter and foamy egg whites to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a large metal spoon to gently fold the mixture together until it is just combined.
6. Spoon into the muffin tin so each hole is about ¾ full.
7. I like to place a raspberry and a few slivers of flaked almonds on the top of each of 12 muffins and a small pinch of lemon zest topped with two or three blueberries on the remaining 12 but you can choose your own combinations and quantities.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the muffins are firm in the center. Leave to cool a little then turn out onto a wirerack. When you are ready to serve the Friands dust them lightly with icing sugar. If you are not eating them straight away, let them cool completely and then you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. They will only take a couple of hours to defrost at room temperature.
Adapted from Mary Berry’s Blackberry Friands Recipe in “Mary Berry Cooks”