Little Chocolate Friands with Candied Orange
These little cakes are moist, dense and almondy mouthfuls, flavoured with a touch of cocoa. A natural partner with a shot of espresso or maybe a couple to accompany a latte. The flavourings can be changed to include lemon zest and poppy seeds, swirls of pureed raspberry or finely diced apple.
6 free-range or organic egg whites
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/2 cup rice flour
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, sifted
150 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
For the candied orange:
1 orange, washed, the zest removed
in a long strip
375 ml water
340 g caster sugar
Soak zest in cold water for two hours. Remove and dry well. Julienne.
Blanch zest in 500 ml boiling water for 30 seconds. Repeat the
blanching/boiling process three times. Drain and set aside.
Place a small saucepan over high heat. Add the water and caster sugar,
and bring to the boil. Add the blanched orange zest to the sugar syrup
and simmer over low heat until the liquid disappears. Make sure the
sugar syrup does not caramelise. Remove and place on a wire rack to dry.
For the friands:
Preheat the oven to 170 °C and grease 3 x 12 mould mini muffin tins.
In a large bowl, lightly whisk the egg whites until frothy and add the
icing sugar, rice flour, vanilla bean seeds, almond meal and cocoa powder.
Add the melted butter to the egg white mixture in a thin stream, stirring
gently to incorporate. Fill the muffin tins no more than two-thirds full
and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until firm to the touch. Remove from oven
and cool in tins for 5 minutes. Carefully turn out onto wire racks to cool
completely. Garnish each friand with some candied orange.