These light, moist almond cakes, also known as financiers, are French in origin, but they’ve been taken up by the Australians and you’re now more likely to find them being drunk with a macchiato in fashionable cafés in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. I prefer to make small friands in mini muffin tins, but you can make larger ones – and I hardly need tell ice cream and mayonnaise-makers that these are a brilliant way of using up all those leftover egg whites in the freezer.
Makes 24 or more small friands (12 large ones)
180g unsalted butter
6 large egg whites
75g plain flour
210g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
zest of 1½ unwaxed lemons
Put two baking sheets in the oven and heat it to 200C/fan oven 180C/Gas Mark 6.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and then brush the inside of each muffin hole thoroughly with butter. Leave the rest to cool.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy (but not at the soft-peak stage as for mousse or meringue). Sift the flour and icing sugar over the egg whites and sprinkle the almonds and lemon zest on top. Pour in the cooled butter and then mix carefully until the batter is completely smooth.
Spoon into the tins and cook on the baking sheets for 13-15 minutes (or 18-20 minutes for larger ones). They should be light gold and springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for five minutes before easing out (with a knife if necessary) on to a rack to cool.