Despite the French-y name, I first came across friands in Australia. They seemed to be in every cafe and bakery: lemon friands, blueberry friands, pistachio friands, cherry friands, peach friands, all kinds of them.
In fact, there is a daintier French version of this cake called a financier. To be honest, both seem to be made with the exact same base ingredients and in the exact same way. I'm guessing Oz adopted the financier somewhere along the line and personalised it to be bigger and with more variety. Don't quote me on that, it's just my best guess.
I'm going to break the rules and do the footnotes right here, because it makes more sense to explain myself before I give you the recipe (* and ** in the ingredients list):
*I actually used self-raising flour here: this was a rooky kitchen accident (everyone makes this mistake, eventually!) All other friand recipes seem to call for plain flour, and I think using self-raising flour is what caused the slightly uneven rise and bake of my friands. However, as you can see, they were okay on the whole: so I'd recommend using plain flour if you want more consistent results, but self-raising will still give you good enough results.
Makes 8 large friands.
125g unsalted butter, melted
125g icing sugar
25g plain flour*
100g ground almonds
pinch of salt
4 egg whites
1tsp vanilla (I used bean paste, but the regular extract is fine)
zest of 1 lemon
1) preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and lightly grease the insides of your friand mould.
2) Sift the dry ingredients into one bowl (add in the tiny bits that don't go through the sieve too, these won't hurt your friands- you just want to break up the large clumps of stuff).
3) In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites until foamy, but not until they form peaks like a meringue.
4) Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients and dump the fluffy egg whites in the middle, mixing from the middle to avoid lumps.
5) Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and lemon zest until just incorporated.
6) Spoon the mixture evenly into your friand mould, and pop a raspberry on the top of each, only poking them in a little so you still have an alluring flash of red on top.
7) Pop them in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the cakes are set.
8) Leave to cool for 10mins, then take the cakes out of the mould to cool complete on a wire rack.
9) Dust with icing sugar to serve, or (like me), dig straight in!