This recipe for Raspberry Almond Friands is a healthy twist on a classic French pastry that is low in calories with a hint of almond and delicate crumb texture.
When I lived in France as a Parisian woman my favorite breakfast was a Raspberry Almond Friand and espresso. I sat in the local Pâtisserie savoring each delicate almond meal crumb, staring out onto the streets of Paris while incrementally sipping espresso, and watching the whimsical buzz of the city pass by in front of me, gaining inspiration from each moment.
Of course this seemingly perfect scene is truly faint memories of a whimsical past life. I frequently recollect these past experiences in a subconscious way that directly influences my daily life. More specifically, influences my decisions in cooking and baking.
The French’s attention to detail in cooking and baking is so intricate and graceful where the end result is conveniently relatable more to art than something to stuff in your mouth. Not to be mistaken, this is art you have to eat.
Friands are a delicate French pastry that is in close relation to Financiers. Appropriately named after the bankers who were always in a hurry, entering in and out of the bakeries in France, one baker decided to make a fuss-free cake that could be eaten quickly with little mess. The difference is often the shape and more notably the presence of fruit that is in Friands.
These delicate pastries are traditionally made with ample and equal amounts of European butter and icing sugar, with a small amount of great quality flour. Replacing the butter with coconut oil and beet sugar with powdered sugar immediately lowers the calorie and fat content. After using oat flour instead of regular all-purpose the noticeable difference was the extremely light and tender crumb.
Due to the nonexistent presence of leavening agents, these small almond cakes rely on softly whipped egg whites to create an airy and uncluttered texture. The air that the egg whites create in this elegant batter is substantial enough to hold the weight of fresh berries.
Of course you can always use frozen berries if they are not in season but the excess moisture will make the cake surrounding the berries slightly more moist.
The cakes are intricately scented with a hint of almond essence, if you are careful to not use vanilla extract instead of almond like I did. The almond and raspberry bind together in the most harmonious marriage of dreamy flavors that will have you savoring each and every single crumb. A delicate dusting of powdered sugar is not only beautiful but lends additional sweetness to the cake since these Friands are not overly sweetened with sugar. Allow the fruit to sweeten each bite and the slight crunch from the roasted slivered almond topping to counterbalance the airy interior.
I hope you enjoy these Raspberry Friands as much as I do. These tiny cakes make a great gift, breakfast, or dessert for Valentine’s Day. When in doubt, brew a perfect espresso and propel yourself through time to where you were once living in France white enjoy a Raspberry Almond Friand.