- 180g unsalted butter, plus an extra 10g, melted for brushing
- 60g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- 200g icing sugar
- 120g ground almonds
- 1.5 tsp ground star anise(or 3 whole star anise, blitzed in spice grinder and passed through a fine-mesh sieve)
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 150g egg whites (approx from 4-5 large eggs)
- 1 tsp finely grated zest of 1 small orange
- 24 whole blackberries(wild blackberries as they are small in size)
- Preheat the oven to 220 deg C Fan/ Gas Mark 7. Brush the 12 holes of a regular muffin tin with the melted butter and sprinkle all over with flour. Tap the tray gently to ensure an even coating of the flour, then turn upside down to remove the excess Place in the fridge to chill while you make the batter
- To brown the butter, place in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until melted. Continue to cook until the butter is foaming, gently swirling the pan from time to time, to allow the solids to brown more evenly. You will see dark brown sediments begin to form on the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a rich golden brown and smells of toasted nuts and caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, to allow the burnt solids to collect at the bottom of the pan. Strain through a fine-mesh(or muslin-lined) sieve, discarding the solids. Allow the browned butter to cool slightly before using. It should still be warm when folding into the mix later: it is too hot, it will cook the egg whites; if it is too cool, it will be difficult to incorporate into the mix.
- While the butter is cooling, sift the flour, icing dugar, ground almonds, star anise and salt into a bowl. Place the egg whites in a small bowl and use a whisk or fork to froth them up for a few seconds - you do not need to whisk them completely. Pour the egg whites into the sifted dry ingredients and stir until they are incorporated. Add the orange zest and browned butter and mix until the batter is smooth.
- Remove the muffin tin from the fridge and fill the moulds just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Place two whole blackberries on top (just use one if blackberry is big) and bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 210 deg C Fan/ Gas Mark 6 - starting with a high oven temperature and then bringing it down is the way to achieve the lovely brown crust you want - turn the tray around in the oven for even cooking, and continue to cook for another 8 minutes, until the edges of the friands are golden brown and the centres have a slight peak and spring back when gently prodded.
- Set aside to cool before removing them from their moulds,: you might need to use a small knife or skewer to help you release the sides, but I did not need to do this; just a gentle tap worked in my case.
These taste wonderful when iced but I prefer them to serve with dusting of icing sugar as they are quite sweet on its own.
Keywords: blackberry and star anise friands