I’m imagining a sunny day, warm enough to be without a jacket. A vast park that is of various shades of green. It’s morning, there are people, but not too many. Warm, smiling people with their heads held high, as they usually are in the English summer. People walking their dogs, people jogging, people having picnics. Then there’s me. I’m laid down on my back on the grass, not minding the dirt or the insects, looking up at the calming shade of blue. I’m there with a bucket of fresh local raspberries and a large cappuccino. I can imagine myself to be happy and at peace in this scenario.
Raspberries have always been a treat for me. As a student it always seemed so extravagant, £3.50 for a few mouthfuls of fruit. Yes, supermarkets sold them at a cheaper price but they were nowhere near as sweet or plump. So when I was feeling down, I’d go to the greengrocer and splurge on a small basket of local raspberries. Food always helps to cheer me up. Although the problem is I can have expensive taste and I don’t work in finance. Sometimes all I want is some overpriced fruit, sometimes I want lobster, crab and a nice restaurant, and then my mood can be further brought down by the heartbreaking reminder from my bank account.
Good news about these little treats is that you can use frozen raspberries. Friands are so delicate and moist, they’re one of my favorite petit fours. They are also very sweet, so you want to make them in small bite sizes if possible. Bake them in mini muffin tins or whatever little shaped tins you have. The glaze makes them even sweeter, yes, but it makes them taste and look nicer so I do recommend it. Warning: these things disappear fast, especially if you’re sad.
Recipe adapted from Ottolenghi
makes 10 mini loaves or probably 24 mini muffins
340g egg whites (10 egg whites)
100g plain flour
300g icing sugar
180g ground almonds
2 tsp star anise, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
Grated zest of 2 lemons
220g unsalted butter, melted and left to cool, plus extra for greasing
150g raspberries, frozen are fine
1/2 tbsp water
1/2 tsp lemon juice
300g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 170C.
Butter mini loaf molds – or mini muffin molds.
Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy – no more than that. Sift the flour, sugar, ground almonds, star anise and salt into the egg whites, then add the lemon zest and melted butter and mix until the batter is just smooth and uniform.
Pour into baking tins, fill them 2/3 of the way up and drop a couple of raspberry halves into the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Let them cool a little, remove form tins and leave to cool completely.
Make the icing by mashing the raspberries with the water and lemon juice in a bowl, then pass that through a sieve, pushing the pulp against the sides. Then whisk in the icing sugar. It should be uniform and quite thin. Just thick enough for you to brush it over the top of the cakes.