Friands were all the rage at some point eight years ago. I remember them appearing at a cafe near my former workplace in the city and thought they were just darling little things. However, as will all fads, people soon found something else to obsess about and friands simply became another cafe food option; the also-ran to the ‘it’ items.
Actually, I don’t think friands really set the cafe & patisserie realm on fire; certainly nowhere near as much as cupcakes, macarons and even chiffon cakes. Sadly they aren’t as attractive or interesting in presentation (unless you have a penchant for oval shaped things) and in terms of taste and texture, they can lean on the bland and boring side. No one really came up with inventive flavours for them either (raspberry seemed to be the default flavour for friands…).
I was at my local cafe the other weekend and decided to have a friand with my capp. Easter had caught up to my hips and thighs so I wasn’t after a giant muffin or mud cake. I chose a friand since they’re a modest sized snack and relatively carb free (certainly not fat free but can’t win them all). It was then that I wondered why I personally had never made friands before. I bought a friand pan many years ago but it remained disused. I may have used it once to finish off overflow cupcake mixture.
My first effort was OK. Hubby enjoyed it enough but suggested that it wasn’t as light as some of the friands he was familiar with. I conceded that I was a little heavy-handed with mixing in the egg white. I also wasn’t sure how much friands would rise in the oven so ended up overfilling the pan, resulting in friands that weren’t completely baked through. I still need to learn how to restrain myself when filling :| I should have filled about 1cm less than in the photo below.
A couple more attempts saw vast improvement and I’m happy to say that I can do the friand, albeit slightly pregnant looking ones. The recipe is very simple (adapted from Kate Lamont’s recipe found online) and you can do up an easy half-dozen in a relatively short period of time. Perfect for afternoon tea :)
Dark Chocolate & Green Tea Friands
80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled (100g of butter for extra buttery friands)
20g dark chocolate
120g icing sugar
35g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1 tpsp cocoa
1 tsp green tea
3 egg whites
To make: Pre-heat oven to 180C. Sift icing sugar and flour, add almond meal and combine. If you have a Thermomix or food processor, you can throw the dry ingredients in and blitz very briefly to sift & combine at once. Place half of mixture into another bowl. Mix cocoa into one bowl and green tea into the other. Beat egg whites to very soft peak and fold half the amount gently through each of the two flour mix. I find that it’s ok to not fully combine the egg whites at this stage so if you can still see egg white, don’t worry. Gently fold in half the melted butter into each bowl so that the liquid is well combined. The mixture should seem a little moussey. Place some chocolate mix into greased friand pan, then cover with some green tea mix. Finish with more chocolate mix then use a chopstick or skewer to marble the mixture. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until skewer comes out fairly clean.