Black­berry and star anise friands

These look splen­did when iced, as in the pic­ture – but also work beau­ti­fully un-iced, stored in the bis­cuit tin, for grab­bing on a whim. Blue­ber­ries or rasp­ber­ries can be used in­stead of black­ber­ries. Don’t use straw­ber­ries, though: they are too wa­tery.

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Food Ottolenghi Sweet -

expa seethe nded mailo re­cip nline eat you MAKES 180g un­salted but­ter, plus an ex­tra 10g, melted, for brush­ing 60g plain flour, plus ex­tra for dust­ing 200g ic­ing sugar 120g ground al­monds 1½ tsp ground star anise (or 3 whole star anise, blitzed in a spice grinder and passed through a fine mesh sieve) ⅛ tsp salt

We use a reg­u­lar muf­fin tin for these, but all sorts of moulds work: large muf­fin tins, mini-muf­fin tins, rec­tan­gu­lar or oval (friand) moulds, as shown in the photo.

Pre­heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7. Brush the 12 holes of a reg­u­lar muf­fin tin with the melted but­ter and sprin­kle all over with flour. Tap the tray 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.

To brown the but­ter, place it in a small saucepan and cook over a 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 sed­i­ment 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 it 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.

While the but­ter is cool­ing, sift the flour, ic­ing sugar, ground al­monds, star anise and salt into a bowl. Place the 150g egg whites (from 4 large eggs) finely grated zest of 1 small orange (1 tsp) 18 whole black­ber­ries (about 120g), cut in half length­ways egg whites in a small bowl and use a whisk or fork to froth them up 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.

Re­move the muf­fin tin from the fridge and fill the moulds just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place three halved black­ber­ries on top, cut-side down, and bake for 10 min­utes. Re­duce the tem­per­a­ture to 210C/190C fan/gas 6 (start­ing with a high oven tem­per­a­ture and then bring­ing it down is the way to achieve the lovely brown crust you want), turn the tray around in the oven for even cook­ing and con­tinue to bake for another 8 min­utes, un­til the edges of the friands are golden brown and the cen­tres have a slight peak and spring back when gen­tly prod­ded. Set aside to cool be­fore re­mov­ing them from their moulds: you might need to use a small knife to help you re­lease the sides.

Un-iced, these will keep for up to 4 days. If the weather is warm, store them in the fridge and zap them in the mi­crowave for a few sec­onds to re­store their but­tery mois­ture. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed in the fridge and warmed through in a 170C/150C fan/gas 3 oven for 5 min­utes; this will re­store their crisp edges as well.

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