Friday, December 15, 2006

Where It's At

Raspberry Friands

Of all the seasons, I think it is summer that smells the best. There is the zesty chill of winter, the fresh fruity bouquet of spring, the crisp apple-scented air of autumn and then there is the sweet berry ripeness of summer. When it comes to fruit, summer is definitely where it’s at for me as I just love berries. To me, they are bite-sized bursts of summer delight, and I could probably wax lyrical about berries in the same way I do about ice cream it’s really not that hard. What’s not to love?

Raspberry Friand

Well, I have to admit that as a child I never did like berries, but nor did I like anything that came from a plant for that matter. Growing up in Asia where fresh berries were far and few to come by in those days, I was never properly introduced to the berry until we moved to Australia. And even then, as a six year-old kid my idea of tasty fodder consisted of great Australian treats like Twisties and Burger Rings, which come to think, never really tasted of burgers at all. Oh how I now envy you fortunate babes who were weaned on berries picked fresh from bushes in the countryside. Don’t you dare belittle your good fortune!

I was a city kid, weaned on
Paddle Pops and Sunny Boys and back then I was more interested in sinking my teeth into a slice of mum’s fairy bread than a biting into a succulent ripe berry, and to be honest I cannot remember when this all changed. My childhood might have been devoid of actual berry picking and frolicking in the countryside, but I don’t think I turned out too bad. Now, I could never again bring myself to place a Twistie or a Burger Ring in my mouth as my palate just won’t allow it. Perhaps my tastebuds have matured and have become too good for all that junk, but I have to say that devouring a bag of Doritos has never been beneath me. That said, I have now come to love the berry in whatever shape or form.

Making Raspberry Friands

Yesterday was an unusually nippy summer’s day; I had planned on making these berries into some sort of berry smoothie, however the weather did not permit and the smoothie had to wait another day. It was so strangely cold that where I wanted to be was next to an oven. An outrageous statement to make mid-December in suburban Sydney, although there must have been some sort of meteorological mix-up because I was fairly certain yesterday felt like a chilly winter’s day. So what became of these raspberries were fillings for some friands.

An all-time favourite at our place, mum always loved the friand and even wrote an irate letter to the Green’s Company when they discontinued their Lemon and Poppy Seed Friand mix. Apparently there just wasn’t a demand for them. Luckily for mum, I have since learned how to make them myself and she needn’t rely on the Greens company for her friand fix. We’ve now moved on from the lemon and poppy seed days and have moved to our berry phase. They lend so well to baking as when cooked the berries pop and burst open their juicy goodness into the cake. What you get are moist pockets of flavour exploding in your mouth!

So when to day turns out to a typical, muggy summer’s day in Sydney, I wish I still had those berries for a smoothie, but I guess you can’t win both ways. But do try these friands as they hit the spot no matter what season.

Summer Berry Friands
taken from
this book
(makes 6-10)

Raspberry Friand

125g unsalted butter, diced
1 cup almond meal
1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
¾ cup plain all-purpose flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
5 egg whites, lightly beaten
½ cup fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, sliced)

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Prepare a friand tin or 6 individual dariole moulds by lightly brushing them with butter.
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat until golden in colour. Set side to cool.
Place almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.
Add the egg whites to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
Then add the cooled butter and stir until thoroughly blended.
Spoon the mixture into the tin/moulds, dropping some berries halfway through.
Fill the tins/moulds 1.5cm from the top.
Place a berry on top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and springy to touch.
Cool for 10 minutes and unmould the friands by tapping the bases lightly a couple of times until they are released. Dust with icing sugar.


Yvo said...

Freudian mental slip? I read "raspberry friends", not friands. :) Sounds and looks absolutely yummy. It's so hard to read your page sometimes, not just for how hungry it makes me, but how I long for summer as we're just going into winter now. Hehehe.

bea at la tartine gourmande said...

What lovely treats. Raspberry friands or any type of friands really are high on my list of favorite cakes to eat! So cutely wrapped JenJen!

aria said...

hi jenjen, these are so perfect looking! pretty pretty!

foodiemama said...

they look delicate and beautiful...i bet they taste like that too!

Kristen said...

Oh my gosh... those are beautiful little treats. Your photos are amazing. Great presentation!

Anita said...

Thanks for sending some sunshine over to rainy San Francisco. I really like the top-down shot of the friands. Your photography is gorgeous!

Tanna said...

These look divine and since I love raspberries, I'm sure I could find places for several. Excellent job.

Matt said...

I'm going to have to make these now... I hope you're happy. My mum has been making friands for years and I've been writing them off as girl food... but these look so good. Maybe it's time to embrace my baking roots.
Beautiful photos as always Jen.

joey said...

What sweet looking friands! Living in Asia myself, I too had a childhood devoid of I get overly excited sometimes when I come in contact with them :)

fracas said...

I know I've said it before, but your pictures are really awesome. Have you some professional background? I'm always so impressed!

cforcooking said...

Where it's at should be in my tummy! :D

Brilynn said...

They look so light and, well, perfect!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Jenjen, I can see that, like me, you can't get enough of this book. :D

I thought about making these friands once, but couldn't find fresh raspberries. I'm not quite sure frozen ones would work out.

May I say your photography is stunning? :D

Anonymous said...

I've been reading food blogs since noon and this has got to be my favorite recipe of the day. Beautiful elegant and so tasty looking! Added to my Scribble list of recipes to try. No kidding, you can check!

Ari (Baking and Books)

Ellie said...

Oh so cute!! Good job - they look too good to be true!

Julia said...

hi jen,
these look so pretty and cute...and of course very delicious! amazing pictures with those berries popping out and that sugar...yum!

peabody said...

Those are so beautiful!

Arfi Binsted said...

they look really tempting, jenjen!! great photos!

Vintage Wine said...

Oh, they look so yummy :-)

It`s strange to think of summer when we`re in the middle of the winter here in Sweden :-)

jenjen said...

YVO- If you really wanted to call them that I think they very well could be your friends. Friands/Friends, there's no difference, they both make you smile!

Bea- Thanks so much! I agree, any kind of friand rates high on my list too! I just love their moist crumb and delicate texture.

Aria- Thanks, they were pretty perfect : )

Foodiemama- Oh yes, they are very delicate and moist and oh so very good to eat!

Kristen- Thanks, I'm glad you like it!

Anita- Oh I am very happy to send some susnhine over your way, anytime... and maybe you could send some of your lovely pastries in return? It's a fair exchange... : )

Tanna- I love raspberries too, and I did find a good home for these friands.. in my stomach : )

Matt- I'm sure you could "man" them up by adding some manly fruit like prunes or something. Are prunes manly? I couldn't think of other manly fruit... how about coconut?

Joey- yes, it's a shame that we never grew up with berries, living in Asia. Although we have some wonderful fruit that you can't get anywhere else too. But I think that is why I am trying to make up for it now with the berries.

Fracas- You sure know how to flatter me! No professional background, just a self-taught photographer discovering things for herself. It's quite fun and frustrating at the same time. But thanks for your kind words, it's encouraging.

Cforcooking- Indeed, that's where most of mine went... in my tummy!

Brilynn- Thanks. They were definitely very light and deceivingly so. You could eat about half a dozen and not even know it!

Patricia Scarpin- I think fresh is always better. I have never used frozen, although it seems that they might be a litlle too watery and make the cake soggy. Let me know it you ever try frozen though.
Thank you.

Ari- Thanks so much, let me know how you go with the friands!

Ellie- Thanks! They are actually so easy to make and yet look so impressive when finished. I love those kinds of foods that have the wow effect without all the fuss.

Julia- Thanks so much : )

Peabody- Thanks!!

Arfi Binsted- They are deinitely irresistable, I know I had a little bit too much. I just couldn't contain myself. Thanks.

Vintage Wine- I know what you mean, while you guys are freezing up there we are boiling down here!

Tea said...

My gosh, these look gorgeous--and delicious. Thanks for sharing!

MissK said...

I made some last night and they taste great,thanks for the recipe,i prefer friands now to muffins and today we have the perfect rainy weather to devour them.