Friands are little oval cakes made with almond meal and caramelised butter. They have a lovely dense, nutty taste and, I think, are the more sophisticated friend of the cupcake. They are originally from France but seem to have become an Antipodean "thing".
My mum used to bake friands (amongst other deliciousness) for Sydney cafes and I used to help her. It feels like I've made friands hundreds of times because my mum was always making them, but (until this batch) I'd never made them myself. I think making them will always make me think of her.
Mum sent me over some of her friand tins and her recipe. She agreed to let me share it with you. (Mum tells me the recipe is based on Maureen Simpson's, but to me, it's entirely my mum's). Here it is:
Meanwhile, put the almond meal, sifted icing sugar and flour into a mixing bowl then add the unbeaten egg whites and mix together.
Pour the warm butter through a fine strainer into the mixture and mix through well.
Grease and flour (v important) the friand moulds well then spoon in the batter, filling them no more than three-quarters full.
The friands should rise up.
Turn out onto a cake rack to cool (with your hand covered with a tea towel, up turn each tin into your palm and bang the base with a knife until the friand falls out and into your hand - my mum's tins have very dented bottoms as a result!).