Black­berry And Star Anise Friands

Forward Magazine - - Reviews -

These friands, lit­tle French cakes, look splen­did when iced — des­tined for top rank­ing on any tiered cake stand — but also work with no ic­ing, in the cookie jar, for grab­bing on a whim. They’ll lose their slightly chewy edge after the first day or so, but still taste great. Blue­ber­ries or rasp­ber­ries can be used in­stead of the black­ber­ries. Don’t use straw­ber­ries, though; they are too wa­tery.

Makes 12

3⁄4 cup plus 2 tea­spoons un­salted but­ter, plus 1 ta­ble­spoon melted, for brush­ing

½ cup all-pur­pose flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing

1 2⁄3 cups con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar

1¼ cups al­mond meal

1½ tea­spoon ground star anise (or 3 whole star anise, ground in a spice grinder and passed through a fine-mesh sieve)

1⁄8 tea­spoon salt

5 ¼ ounces egg whites (from 4 large eggs)

Finely grated zest of 1 small or­ange (1 tea­spoon) 18 fresh black­ber­ries, cut in half length­wise

Ic­ing (op­tional)

2 ounces fresh black­ber­ries, plus 24 black­ber­ries, to gar­nish

3⁄4 ta­ble­spoon wa­ter

1 tea­spoon le­mon juice 1

1⁄3 cups con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar

1. Pre­heat the oven to 425° F. Brush the 12 molds in a reg­u­lar muf­fin pan with the melted but­ter and dust with flour. Tap the pan gently to en­sure an even coat­ing of the flour, then turn up­side down to re­move the ex­cess. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the bat­ter.

2. Place the but­ter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat un­til melted. Con­tinue to cook un­til the but­ter is foam­ing, gently swirling the pan from time to time to al­low the solids to brown more evenly. You will see dark-brown sed­i­ments be­gin to form on the sides and bot­tom of the pan. Con­tinue to al­low the but­ter to bub­ble away un­til it turns a rich golden brown and smells of toasted nuts and caramel. Re­move the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 min­utes, to al­low the burnt solids to col­lect at the bot­tom of the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh (or muslin-lined) sieve, dis­card­ing the solids. Al­low the browned but­ter to cool slightly be­fore us­ing. It should still be warm when fold­ing into the mix later. If it is too hot, it will cook the egg whites; if it is too cool, it will be dif­fi­cult to in­cor­po­rate into the mix.

3. While the but­ter is cool­ing, sift the flour, con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar, al­mond meal, star anise and salt into a bowl. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and use a whisk or fork to froth them up a for a few sec­onds — you do not need to whisk them com­pletely. Pour the egg whites into the sifted dry in­gre­di­ents and stir un­til they are in­cor­po­rated. Add the or­ange zest and browned but­ter and mix un­til the bat­ter is smooth.

4. Re­move the muf­fin pan from the fridge and fill the molds just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place three halved black­ber­ries on top, cut side down, and bake for 10 min­utes. Lower the tem­per­a­ture to 400° F — start­ing with a high oven tem­per­a­ture and then bring­ing it down is the way to achieve the lovely brown crust you want — ro­tate the pan for even cook­ing and con­tinue to bake for another 8 min­utes, un­til the edges of the friands are golden brown and the cen­ters have a slight peak and spring back when gently prod­ded. Set aside to cool be­fore re­mov­ing them from their molds; you might need to use a small knife to help you re­lease the sides.

5. To make the ic­ing, place the 2 ounces of black­ber­ries in a small bowl with the wa­ter and le­mon juice. Use a fork to mash them to­gether, then pass the mix­ture through a fine-mesh sieve to ex­tract as much fruit juice as pos­si­ble. Sift the con­fec­tion­ers’ su­gar into a medium bowl, pour in the black­berry juice and com­bine to make a light pur­ple, runny ic­ing; it should just be thick enough to form a thin glaze on the tops of the cakes.

6. Spoon the ic­ing over the cakes, spread­ing it to the edges so that it runs down the sides. Do this on a rack, if you can, as ic­ing them on a plate or sheet of parch­ment pa­per means that the ic­ing will pool at the bot­tom. Place a cou­ple of fresh black­ber­ries on each friand, set aside for 20–30 min­utes to set and then serve.

Equip­ment

We use oval molds here, but all sorts of shapes work: jumbo muf­fin pans, mini-muf­fin pans or a reg­u­lar muf­fin pan.

Stor­age

With­out ic­ing, these will keep for up to 4 days. If the weather is warm, store in the fridge and zap in the mi­crowave for a few sec­onds (lit­er­ally 3 sec­onds!) to re­store their but­tery mois­ture. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed in the fridge and warmed in a 350° F oven for 5 min­utes; this will re­store their crisp edges, as well. Once iced, they’re best eaten on the same day.

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