Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recipe for Friands

Imagine traveling to a new city, one you've never been to before.  You go downtown, and you walk into a random coffee shop.  There are loads of pastries in the case, but nothing looks likely to be something you can eat.  You ask anyway, out of habit.  The woman behind the register blandly replies, "We have several things that are gluten-free.  There's a chocolate muffin that's gluten-free, and we have several kinds of friands that are all gluten-free."

That is what happened on my first day in Melbourne, Australia.  And it happened almost every day after that.  My mom and I were amazed at how many gluten-free things there are to eat in Australia.  I even found gluten-free treats in several airports, an occurrence that has never happened in the US.  Here is proof that I bought a GF pastry in the airport in Hobart, Tasmania:

In honor of the great gluten-free trip I had, I bring you a taste of Australia.  Friands aren't something you find here in the US all that often, so to try them out you will have to bake some of your own.  I simplified the recipe quite a bit from its traditional form, but I think the result is close to what I tried out in practically every Australian bakery I came across.  As a bonus, this dense, moist cake is incredibly fast and easy to make with my version of the recipe.

Recipe for Friands

This recipe makes 4 small cakes, but is easily doubled.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Butter 4 muffin tins or oval friand molds.  In a medium bowl, mix together:

75 g (about 1/2 c + 1 Tbsp) almond flour
25 g (2+ Tbsp) baker's sugar
9 g (about 1 Tablespoon) white rice flour

In a small bowl, whisk thoroughly:

1 egg

In another small bowl or pan, melt:

45 g (3 Tbsp) salted butter

Add the melted butter and the whisked egg to the dry ingredients and mix together until thoroughly blended.  The batter should be almost runny.  Fill the four greased muffin cups with an equal amount of batter.  Top with:

1-3 raspberries each

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops start turning golden-brown.  Let cool slightly before eating.

If you would like to get the classic oval shape of the friands they sell at cafes everywhere in Australia, try buying oval molds like this one from Sur La Table:

Or this silicone oval-shaped mold from World Cuisine.