A friand is a small cake made with almond meal. It is similar in size and appearance to a small muffin, and like a muffin comes in a variety of flavours obtained by adding fruit and nuts to the batter before baking. Friands are commonly baked in an oval-shaped tin of about 1/3 - 1/2 cup capacity.
A typical friand recipe involves mixing almond meal and icing sugar (occasionally caster sugar) with a small quantity of plain flour, then adding lightly beaten eggwhites and cool melted butter. This mixture results in a fairly dense cake that does not rise very much, but is light on the tongue. Frequently used flavours include berries, almonds, lemon zest and coconut. These are usually added to the dry ingredients. The strong flavour of the almond meal means that all friands are 'almond + something flavoured'. Some muffin flavours just won't work properly in a friand - white chocolate chips and poppy seeds and peppermint and jaffa and other nuts are all going to be lost in the almonds.
Because friands contain very little flour, and the bulk of the substance is provided by almond meal, friands are easy to convert to a gluten free recipe. You could leave the flour out altogether without much difficulty (although the friand will likely be a bit soggy and crumbly), or simply switch to your preferred gluten-free flour. A dairy free version is easily achieved by using a non-dairy butter substitute. You should also be careful about serving friands at schools and parties where there may be nut or egg sensitive people!
- Simple to make
- Don't need mixers, blenders, etc.
- Minimal washing up
- Taste good
- 'plain' friand is already full of flavour
- Keep well (lots of butter and minimal flour!)
- easy gluten free option
- Slightly posher than muffins or cupcakes