Light, buttery and crisp-edged, these friands are just the thing for a little mid-afternoon tête-à-tête with copious pots of tea. Peaches or feijoas can also be used. Special friand tins are available, but I use non-stick silicone bakeware.
70g (½ cup) standard flour 240g (1½ cups) icing (confectioner’s) sugar 150g (1¼ cups) ground almonds (almond meal) Finely grated zest 1 lemon 6 medium (size 6) free-range egg whites, at room temperature 150g (about 5 ounces) unsalted butter, melted 4 perfectly ripe nectarines, diced (should yield 1½ cups diced fruit), or 5-6 dark fleshed plums Icing (confectioner’s) sugar, for dusting
1 Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F).
2 Sift flour and icing sugar together into a large bowl. Mix in ground almonds and lemon zest.
3 Lightly whisk egg whites until they form a firm snow (don’t beat them as stiff as for a meringue or they will be difficult to mix into the other ingredients). Add a little more than half the beaten egg whites to the dry ingredients and mix in with a large spoon. The mixture will be stiff and it’ll be a little difficult to mix in the egg whites; this is as it should be. Pour the melted butter around the sides of the batter – not over the top of it – then put the rest of the egg white on the top. Fold everything together, until just combined; don’t beat. Carefully stir through nectarines (or plums).
4 Spoon mixture into 12 non-stick friand tins, filling them just a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until risen and a pale golden colour.
5 Cool friands in the tins for 7-10 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
Photography Aaron McLean http://www.aaronmclean.com