- When I began looking for recipes for this little French delicacy, I could find no reference to it in any of my French cookbooks. The web was in its infancy at that time and culinary sites and chats had not yet surfaced. Finally, I did locate a single recipe for friands in Gaston Lenotre's Lenotre's Desserts and Pastries
I was surprised by the ingredients and mixing method. Basically, friands (French for small mouthfuls) are comprised of melted butter (often browned), ground almonds, a small amount of flour, and egg whites, all whisked together quickly to a consistency of a cake batter. The batter is poured into small, shallow, metal molds and then baked at high heat to develop a crunchy crust. The interior remains moist and a bit chewy.
Now that I use the web extensively for recipe research, I know that next to Madeleine's, friands ( free ya(n) ) are probably the most popular morning or afternoon snack cake in France. It's a mystery why there are so few recipes available for them in cookbooks. Thank goodness for the web! They are also called financiers (fee-nahng-syehr or fee-nahn-see-AY), so if you are searching for recipe ideas for friands, look under friand, financier, and almond cake.
Before you make your first batch of friands, you need to know that they are not likely to amaze and delight you at first bite. You will probably think that they are quite simple (true), not very sweet (true), and rather plain (also true). You must eat at least three of them to become addicted. You have been warned.
Toasted Hazelnut & Browned Butter Friands
Whether you know these rich, springy, crunchy, moist little tea cakes as friands, financiers, or almond cakes, they are the perfect, understated accompaniment to afternoon tea or espresso.
4 by 2 with a depth of
1/2 ". They hold
3-4 tablespoons of batter. If you can't find the rectangular tins, look for other shapes that are shallow and in the same size range. Don't be tempted to use deeper tins, because you won't get the proper ratio of crunchy crust to chewy interior.
vegetable oil spray (for coating the friand tins)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and browned (to make 1/2 cup browned butter)
1/2 cup whole toasted hazelnuts
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup minus
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tags: almond cake , dessert , financiers , friands , recipe , Summer Sizzle , tea cake
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010 By Susan S. Bradley
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