Originally published, Dec-2016, then updated by Tania, Dec-2018)
Egg whites in my fridge usually leads to Friands in my pantry, but they don’t live in there for long!..Actually they don’t even make it to the pantry!
These delightful little treats are what I make for a special occasion, like a birthday or a fancy high tea, or to thank someone for something or to show someone how special I think they are.
They’re made by whisking egg whites and adding rice flour, ground almonds, icing sugar and melted butter (in France they use browned butter). You can use normal flour but I find them a bit dense so I stick to the rice flour, which gives them the added bonus of being gluten-free!
I’ve added some strawberries to these ones, also deciding on scattering pistachios over the tops as I love them and they always seem festive. I originally wanted to add vanilla but decided on flavouring them with orange zest because orange goes so well with strawbs, pistachios and almonds. Anyway if I must say so myself these are the tastiest little Friands I’ve ever whipped up…..ever…..tea cake perfection. 🙂
Friand is the French word for ‘dainty‘ or ‘a gourmet who delights in delicate tastes’ and they originate from France where they are called ‘Financiers’. They were first created in the late nineteenth century by a pastry chef named Lasne, who had a shop on the rue Saint-Denis near the Bourse, the city’s stock exchange and he made them in the shape of gold bars/ingots (little rectangles).
I’ve made these ones in a standard-sized muffin tin but I usually use a nine-hole, (oval-holes) Friand tin that is commonly used in Australia and New Zealand.
250 g butter
3 tablespoons / 25 g pistachio nuts
4 large or 6 small strawberries
8 medium-sized eggs (at room temperature & you will only need the whites)
2 cups / 300 g icing sugar (powdered/confectioner’s sugar)
1 1/3 cups / 135 g ground almonds
2/3 cup / 110 g rice flour
Icing sugar (powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar) to dust
Optional – 1 tablespoon orange zest (from ½ large or 1 small orange)
Makes 9 or 12
For this recipe, you will need a 12 hole standard-sized muffin tin or a 9 hole Friand tin (oval holes).
First, in a small saucepan, over a low heat, melt the butter. Leaving it in the saucepan, set it aside.
Next, preheat the oven to 150°C / 300°F fan/convection oven or 170°C / 325°F conventional oven, on bake, with a rack situated in the centre of the oven.
Next, using a large knife, roughly chop up the pistachios and set them aside.
Also, hull the strawberries, slice and dice them up and set them aside also.
Lightly whisk the egg whites until they are just frothy.
- What you are doing here is just breaking them up (this shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds). If you over whisk them, your Friands will end up with a chewy, meringue texture. They won’t rise when baking, rather spread outwards and stick to the tin, making them impossible to get out (not trying to scare you, just want to spare you from making my mistakes).
After breaking up the whites, add the icing sugar, ground almonds and the rice flour to the egg-whites….don’t mix it just yet!
Start whisking it all together whilst pouring in the ‘still warm’ melted butter and…
…continue whisking until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
Next, if you are adding orange zest, zest it straight into the Friand batter and…
…also, add the strawberry pieces and use a large spoon to gently fold them through the batter.
Then liberally spray the tin with non-stick cooking spray (including the top) and…
- A little bit more spray than you would normally use is needed here as Friands are fond of sticking.
…either spoon the batter evenly into the holes or transfer it into a jug and pour it in.
- As you can see they are quite full but that’s okay, they tend to rise straight up and not so much outwards.
Working quickly (because they need to get into that oven), sprinkle the chopped pistachios all over the tops and…
…..then, place them in the oven and bake them for 30 minutes standard-size or 35 minutes, oval, Friand size or until they are golden brown and the centres spring back when you gently push them in. Also, a sharp knife or skewer inserted into the centres should come out clean and dry.
Leave them in the tin for 10 minutes (if they have overflowed a bit trim the edges with a knife).
Check that the Friands aren’t stuck (if so, loosen them with a knife) then remove them and place them on a cooling rack or if you are feeling brave, carefully flip the whole tin over onto a cooling rack and then turn them upright.
If you like, you can make them look pretty with a dusting of icing sugar.
Don’t they look delectable?! They taste as good as they look too.
These are lovely for morning or afternoon tea (especially high tea as they are a tea cake after all) served with a little natural yoghurt or whipped cream. 🙂
Keepin’ em fresh – Keep in an airtight container in the pantry up to 4 days. After the first day, to freshen them up a little, warm each one in the microwave for 20 seconds.