In the So Many Fairies story “The Fairy Book,” a librarian gives Vera, a young lover of books, an adventure story. Vera takes it home and hops on her bed to read about a brave knight appointed to find the seven missing jewels of the seven fairy kingdoms. That night she dreams that she alone can find the jewels using the most powerful tool she has — a book. But when she wakes and reads the ending of the story, she wonders if it was a dream at all.
Vera uses her books to become a great explorer — but even when you're just exploring the realms of your imagination, every small traveler needs a snack now and then. Made in a mini-muffin tin, these raspberry friands are both the perfect size and have just the right amount of whimsy to travel along on a good fairy quest.
A friand is a small cake that hails from Australia and New Zealand. It's similar to a French financier in that it's typically made with almond flour and egg whites.
Below, I've subbed the traditional almond flour for hazelnut meal — because hazelnuts and raspberries are a match made in fairy-cake heaven. And while these cakes are lovely with plain old vanilla extract, if you can get your hands on some hazelnut flavoring, do use it!
Enjoy your friands with a good book and a warm drink.
Raspberry Friands (makes 33 mini-muffin-sized friands)
90 grams hazelnut meal (made from 90 grams or about ¾ cup hazelnut pieces)
5 egg whites
½ cup butter, melted (plus extra for greasing the pan)
⅔ cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ⅓ cup powdered sugar (plus extra for dusting the finished friands)
2 teaspoons vanilla or hazelnut flavoring
6 ounces raspberries
¼ cup chopped pistachios
Preheat your oven to 325° and grease a mini-muffin tin very well.
Pour the hazelnut pieces into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the hazelnuts are ground to coarse crumbs. (Do not just allow the food processor to run or you'll end up with hazelnut butter, which — while delicious — is not what you need for this recipe.)
Pour the hazelnut meal into a different bowl, then quickly wipe out the food processor.
Add the egg whites to the food processor, and whizz them for about 30 seconds — just enough to get them a little foamy. Then, add the hazelnut meal, melted butter, flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, and flavoring. Run the food processor until the ingredients are combined well.
Now, scoop the mixture into the muffin tin, filling each cavity about two-thirds full. Add one raspberry and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios to each friand, then bake them for 15-20 minutes. They won't get very brown, but you'll know they're done when the tops feel springy to the touch.
Remove the friands from the muffin tin, let them cool slightly, and dust them lightly with more powdered sugar.
Once cool, store your friands at room temperature in an air-tight container. They're best eaten within three days.
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.