Brandied Cherry Berry Friands

Cherry Berry Friands                    Makes 10 – 12

Back when I was dieting I used to buy a friand as a treat occasionally thinking it was a low fat option – sadly I was very wrong! These delectable little treats are packed full of nuts, true – but they are also packed full of butter! Making them rich, moist and a very morish indulgent treat indeed. Traditionally a little French cake, they are extremely popular in Australia and found in most cafés.

To make a true friand, you really need the distinctive oval shaped pans, but you can make them in small patty pans  too. They are amazingly easy to make, doing nothing other than lightly whisking the egg whites. All the other ingredients are just stirred in and that’s it.

Originally I made these as my daughter had made lots of things with egg yolks and I had more leftover egg whites than I knew what to do with. Friands are a great way to use egg whites, quick and less trouble than meringues. So do try making some soon and impress your friends with a friand! 

Ingredients

  •  20 frozen pitted cherries
  • 2 tb brandy/kirsch
  • 125g pecans/hazelnuts
  • 6 egg whites
  • 155g/5oz butter, melted
  • 200g icing sugar
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¼ cup frozen mixed berries/raspberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/ 180° fan forced, grease friand tins.
  2. Soak cherries in brandy for 30 minutes.
  3. Toast the nuts (can do this in a microwave) and grind finely.
  4. Place egg whites in a medium bowl, or mixer bowl and whisk just until light and frothy. Sift in the icing sugar and flour, and stir in with melted butter and ground nuts.
  5. Spoon into tins, fill ⅔ full, top each friand with two drained cherries and several frozen berries.
  6. Bake 20 minutes, stand 5 minutes in tins before turning out to cool on cake rack.

This recipe is based on one in The Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook ‘Bake’

There you have it, one of the easiest little cakes to make, yet people are always impressed! I think the richness of the butter and nuts makes them seem special and therefore somehow difficult. But trust me they are ridiculously quick and easy and very delicious. Alas.

Serbian Apricot Torte

WEEK 12 – SERBIA

Apricot Layer Cake

Torta Praska – Apricot Layer Cake

Hi everyone it’s Roma here, so last week I got Serbia out of the box.

Country Information:

Serbia is a land-locked country in south-east Europe. It’s got expansive mountains which are spread through-out the nation. Belgrade is its capital city and over 2 million people live there. Serbia has produced some very famous people such as Nikola Tesla who contributed to the invention of modern electricity and Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Novak Djokovic who are all world-renowned tennis players.

It is well-known for its beautiful Orthodox monasteries around the mountain Fruska Gora, in the north of the country. Also it is one of the ten countries in which the Danube River (Europe’s longest river known as an International Waterway) runs through, which crosses the top half of the country.tur-fruska-gora

 

Cuisine:

Serbia has a diverse cuisine taking influences from a number of other countries cooking techniques and styles such as; Mediterranean, Central European (especially Hungarian and Austrian) and Turkish. Food is important in all social and family gatherings or celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.

Bread is a staple food like many other European countries along with milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat. Serbia has made quite a name for its self with an alcoholic drink – Slivovitz, a plum brandy and also claims it’s the birthplace of Rakia, a highly alcoholic beverage primarily distilled from fruit.slivovitz_white

What I made:

I chose to make a dessert this week for a change, and I found a delicious sounding recipe for an Apricot Torte. The cake has three layers of a soft buttery dough, then crunchy cinnamon sugar and nuts, the second layer is spread with freshly made apricot puree and then topped off with a nutty baked meringue. This cake was a good choice to make as this is apricot season here in Australia. I found the recipe here apricot-torte

Apricot Puree

I changed the recipe by making my own apricot mixture for in the cake. I did this by cutting up 7 fresh apricots and put them in medium saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of sugar and cooked that mixture for 15-20 minutes until the apricots were soft and had thickened. I also changed the quantities in the recipe, as it made a huge cake serving 12!

And we found that on the day we didn’t have enough walnuts so I used some flaked almonds instead. This cake takes quite a long time to make but it was worth it, it was especially good when served warm with whipped cream. This cake scored 9/10.

Apricot Torte

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  •  ⅛ cup warm water
  • 165gm softened butter
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts/slivered almonds
  • ½ rounded cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup of apricot jam or fresh apricot puree (see above)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds/finely chopped walnuts

Method 

  1. Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Grease a cake tin 26cm x 16 cm x 3.5cm deep. Heat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a processor or mixer, blend the butter and flour. Mix the egg yolks, sour cream and add to the yeast. Add to flour mixture and blend until a ball of dough forms. Do not knead.
  3. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. On a lightly floured board, roll 1 part into rectangle and place in prepared pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough in pan. Roll out second piece of dough and place on top.
  5. Spread with apricot filling or jam. Roll out remaining piece of dough and place on top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and is cooked.
  6. Just before ready, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add castor sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form. Remove torte from oven and spread meringue over top. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup nuts.
  7. Bake until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool a little, serve warm.