Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nectarine and raspberry friand cake

First published Canberra Times 2 March 2011
Photo by Steve Shanahan
Friands are small moist cakes made from almond and flour traditionally flavoured with citrus fruits. This cake is essentially an oversized friand and originates from Provence. Any combination of seasonal fruits can be added to this mixture, although adding tart stone fruit gives the cake a beautiful sour hit that balances the crunchy sugar top. Use tinned fruit if you can’t source fresh. The think I like about this cake is that it’s difficult to get wrong and is easily mixed by hand in a large bowl with no sifting necessary.

This cake is endlessly adaptable with the addition of extra ingredients that could include, coconut, chocolate pieces or orange blossom water. I have made the cake adding dollops of plum jam that ended up with a gorgeous sticky gooey centre, although when cooked it did let out a little sigh in the centre, sinking ever so slightly which only added to the cake’s rustic charm.

Serve the cake still warm from the oven as a dessert with custard or cream, but is also wonderful as an afternoon tea cake served with cups of hot milky tea.

4 ripe nectarines, peeled
200 g fresh or frozen raspberries
1½ cups icing sugar
¾ cup of self raising flour
2½ cups almond meal
1 tbsp grated orange rind
8 egg whites
185g butter, melted
1½ tbsp milk
2 tsps raw sugar

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm spring-form cake tin. Slice the cheeks off the nectarines, removing the stones.

Sift the icing sugar and flour into a large bowl and stir in the almond meal until well mixed. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork only for a few seconds until broken up and slightly foamy. Add the egg whites, melted butter and milk to the almond mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in half of the raspberries, being mindful not to over mix.

Pour half the cake mixture into the lined cake tin and sprinkle with the remaining berries. Pour the remaining half of the cake mixture over the berries. Place the nectarine halves on the top, pushing down and sinking them slightly into the cake mixture.

Bake cake for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly place a piece of foil over the top. Leave cake in tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack. Serve with cream or mascarpone.

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