Friands are the light, moist almond cakes popular in Australia, New Zealand and France. Traditionally they’re small cakes, but here I tip the friand batter into a baking dish and cook it whole. You can make the batter well in advance if you want to get ahead – it keeps well in the fridge up to a day – but don’t macerate the fruit for this amount of time as it will become too juicy. Serve with custard, vanilla ice cream or cream. The fruit can be varied, depending on the season. Raspberries and peaches can be used in the early summer months, for example.
SERVES 6 GENEROUSLY
4 ripe plums, stones removed, cut into 1cm wide wedges (360g prepped weight)
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g caster sugar
3 fresh bay leaves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
60g plain flour
200g icing sugar, sifted
120g ground almonds
⅛ tsp salt
150g egg whites (from 4-5 large eggs)
180g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1. Place the blackberries and plums in a bowl with the vanilla extract, sugar, bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside for 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to leave them sitting around for longer than this as the fruit will become too juicy.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C fan (210C/gas 6½).
3. Mix the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt in a separate large bowl. Set aside.
4 Lightly whisk the egg whites by hand for 30 seconds, so they just start to froth. Stir into the flour mixture, along with the melted butter, until combined.
5. Tip the batter into a 20cm x 30cm parchment-lined baking dish and top evenly with the fruit and juices. Bake for 40 minutes, covering the dish with foil for the final 10 minutes, until the batter is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbling. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.
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