Dish of the Day: Lily Vanilli’s recipe for Last of the Summer Fruit Friands
These very light, airy almond cakes have a become a regular fix in the bakery and in my (long suffering) diet. They are versatile and easily adapted for all seasons. The recipe calls for egg whites for leavening, icing sugar for sweetness and ground almonds for a delicious texture that’s chewy and moist.
I love them in winter with spiced apple or dry store flavours like rose and coconut, but it’s at this time of year that they really sing, with raspberries and lemon zest, strawberries or the crowning glory that is a spray of fresh picked English currants. I’m currently staying at a friend’s in the country with bushes laden with the last of this year’s blackcurrants and could happily eat them all day.
These little cakes are delicious eaten fresh from the oven, but will keep well for 2–3 days.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
90g plain flour, sifted
200g icing sugar, sifted
Good pinch of sea salt
180g ground almonds
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
6 egg whites
200g unsalted butter, melted completely and cooled
Handful of red/blackcurrants, de-stemmed
20g flaked almonds
One 12-hole cupcake or muffin tray, greased (a silicone tray is best here)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan assisted/gas mark 6.
2. Whisk together the flour and icing sugar in a bowl, then whisk in the salt, ground almonds and lemon zest.
3. Whip up the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the dry ingredients, then lightly stir in the melted butter. It should come together into a batter.
4. Spoon evenly into your prepared cupcake or muffin tray and press a few of the berries into each one. Scatter all over with the flaked almonds and bake for 15–20 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre comes out clean (avoid skewering the fruit, as this may result in the stick coming out clean before it’s baked properly). Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth is available from Cannongate books, 2012
Follow Lily on Twitter @lilyvanillicake
For more information visit lilyvanilli.com
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