#1 – 48 Recipe Challenge: Recipe 16: Lemon Drizzle Friands
This month’s recipe came about because a) I hate being wasteful with food and b) I’m currently trying to use up the contents of my freezer in order to defrost it. Since I have a bit of a spaghetti carbonara habit (which uses more egg yolks than egg whites) and can’t bear to throw food away I often find myself freezing egg whites so I can use them ‘later’. This despite the fact that the only recipe in my repertoire which requires significant numbers of egg whites in meringues and unless I’m making a big pavlova for a dinner party, it’s frankly easier just to buy the individual nests in the supermarket.
As a result, I have ended up with something of a stockpile of frozen egg whites. Nine, in fact, (which is a bit ridiculous even for me). With no dinner parties on the horizon some cooking friends helpfully pointed me in the direction of ‘friands’. I’d never heard of them before. They’re sort of like little cakes but the mix is odd. It uses lots of butter, egg whites, ground almonds and icing sugar and proportionately only a small amount of flour. Making a batch uses up six egg whites though, so it seemed a good way to deplete some of that stockpile and try something new at the same time. The theory is that friands should have a slightly chewy exterior and a lovely light centre.
My first challenge was how to cook them. Friands are traditionally cooked in small oval tins with designs on the top so when turned out they look pretty. These tins are impossible to obtain in the UK, although they’re abundantly available in Australia where apparently friands are far better known. Rather than import one from the Antipodes I made do with a muffin tin, which meant mine came out looking more like cupcakes than anything else.
Leaving aside the issue of appropriate moulds, the recipe itself was easy to follow. Melt the butter, let it cool, sift the flour and sugar into a bowl, froth the egg whites and add those, add the cooled butter and stir together. As I was making lemon flavour friands I also added lemon zest at this point. The mixture resembled batter more than cake mix and was quite heavy to mix. I think I overstirred it slightly and knocked too much air out as I don’t think my friands turned out as light and airy as they possibly should have done but they were still lighter than a traditional cake and did indeed have a glorious chewy outside.
My recipe told me to top them with lemon icing, but if I made this particular variety again I think I’d use a more traditional lemon drizzle topping with caster sugar rather than icing sugar as it’s somehow less sweet but also adds another texture.
So, my scores are:
Ease of Preparation – 8/10 (the challenges are cooling the butter without letting it get too cold and not knocking all the air out of the batter)
Flavour/taste – 9/10 (great taste, great texture)
Healthiness – 2/10 (they’re not as bad as, say, a chocolate cake but there’s really nothing healthy about this treat)
These are a keeper – quick and easy to make, tasty and a great way to use up leftover egg whites. I may have to think about how to obtain a friand tin from overseas…
If you want to give them a go, here’s a recipe for you: