Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lemon Friands

Man, it's been ages since my last post. I have been busy since school started and other stuff. I have created many things since last time, but I only photographed a few, as circumstances weren't suitable for others. Because we eat desserts at night (like normal people) I rarely get the chance to shoot a slice of cake or a cross-section, due to bad lighting. But this Anzac long weekend has granted me the time to try out many new recipes. I have made Coconut Panna Cotta, Zucchini Slice, Apple Tarte Fine, Friands, Orange Self-saucing Pudding, Vanilla Bean Ice cream, Apple Tart, and Caramel Croissant pudding. It's a huge list for four days, but we had guests over for dinner so it gave me an excuse.

I received some vanilla beans a few weeks back, thanks to a good friend, and have been aching to make vanilla ice cream. Vanilla beans are the second most expensive spice, and though they look wrinkly and unappetising, they are great in desserts. The first thing I did with them was make my own vanilla essence. In Australia, vanilla essence/extract/anything is very expensive. That's why ever since I heard you could make your own vanilla essence, I wanted to. Homemade vanilla is simply split vanilla beans seeped in alcohol. Vodka is recommended, but I didn't have any so I used Cognac, a kind of brandy. And don't worry, I did not drink a drop of it (as of yet). You shake the bottle every few days to let the flavour seep out, and it is ready to used in 8 weeks. Once a quarter of the essence is used up, you simply fill with more alcohol. This is much cheaper than buying vanilla from the shops, and they make great presents for other foodies. I will be posting about the vanilla ice cream in a short while.

Now, onto friands. I have read about friands, and I knew they were little cakes made with almond meal and egg whites, quite like macarons, but are much simpler and have, obviously, a different taste and texture. Traditional friands have blueberries in them, but I did not have any, so I searched for a lemon flavoured one instead. It is another recipe obtained from Taste - man I love that website. The leftover egg whites from making ice cream convinced me to make them, plus the woman who was coming over asked me if I knew how to make friands the last time she visited.

I do not have friand moulds, so I used a muffin tray. The mixture is very easy to mix together - no whipping egg whites, no heavy machinery needed - which was great. Do not fret if the mixture is lumpy and/or thick, it is the way it is meant to be. Although I filled 3/4 full, I only got ten friands, opposed to the 12 advertised. Though that did not matter at all. The friands were not overly sweet, with just the perfect lemon flavour and aroma. Every body enjoyed them, and the light dusting of sugar helped with presentation and taste.

Friands are ridiculously easy, and are a welcomed change to cupcakes and muffins. They are not as complex as other recipes which require egg whites - you need not whip the egg whites. So try them when you have leftover egg whites.


Obtained here.

Makes 12 (or 10 in my case)

190g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
1 1/3 cups (200g) icing sugar, plus extra to dust
120g almond meal
5 egg whites
Grated zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Melt butter and use a little to grease a 12-hole friand pan. Dust with a little flour, shaking out excess.

2. Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl, then stir in the almond meal.
3. Place egg whites in a small bowl and lightly froth with a fork. Add to dry ingredients with melted butter and zest, stirring until completely combined.

4. Fill each friand hole two-thirds full. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven, leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

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