A friand is a small almond cake, similar to French financiers. In fact, friand literally means “a tasty thing” in French. They are popular in Australia and New Zealand. The main ingredients for both friand and financier are almond flour, brown butter, icing sugar, and egg whites, but a friand often has additional ingredients and flavors like chocolate, coconut, berries and.or other fruits. Truth be told, I had not heard of them until a week ago while searching online for something I haven’t baked before. And yet hea I am, wanting to make my own vegan version. Is it a crime to take away brown butter from a recipe? I love brown butter, but I love olive oil, too! And I love matcha paired with almond, so…
(*correction: Friands call for melted butter, financiers call for brown butter.)
Initially I wanted to make these nut-free, gluten-free, and vegan. That proved to be too ambitious. It’s a good thing we food bloggers are not obligated to show our mistakes and first (second, and sometimes third) attempts at a recipe. So I decided to keep the almonds and wheat flour in the recipe, but still make it vegan. Sorry to those with nut and gluten allergies and sensitivities. I tried. I failed.
What didn’t fail was the egg white substitute. I used aquafaba. It’s amazing! Aquafaba is just as it sounds. Aqua = water, faba = bean. (I’m not sure why they don’t use “agua”, but “aqua.”) It’s the water that arises from cooked beans, and also the water that is packed in with the beans in a can of beans. You can actually use it as either an egg substitute or an egg white substitute. Three tablespoons equal one egg, and two tablespoons equal one egg white. There are about 10-12 Tablespoons in one can or any bean, and it doesn’t matter from what kind of bean it’s from. I used garbanzos the first time, and cannelini beans the second time. Worked like a charm on both accounts. Sadly, the nongluten flour I used the first time didn’t. So I went back to adding wheat flour.
For the brown butter substitute, while olive oil is a poor substitute in terms of flavor, I felt that it worked for this recipe, and this recipe only, but only because of the flavor and color of matcha. I would probably use a nut oil or some sort if I were to make a non-matcha flavored friand, but still wanted to keep it vegan. Otherwise, I love brown butter.
matcha blackberry friands
1 cup and 1/4 cup icing sugar, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
2 teaspoons Matcha green tea powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
10 Tablespoons aquafaba (or 5 egg whites)
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
about 1 cup small to medium blackberries
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8-count oval friand pan with vegetable oil. You don’t need to grease it if it is a silicone one. You can use cupcake tins if you don’t have oval molds.
Sift 1 cup of the icing sugar, all-purpose flour, ground almonds, green tea, and sea salt together into a medium large bowl and stir with a whisk several times to disperse and mix all ingredients together.
In another bowl, using an electric hand held mixer or stand mixer, whip the aquafaba until foamy with soft peaks, while gradually adding the remaining 1/4 cup icing sugar to it, about 6 minutes.
Add the olive oil to the flour mixture while hand whisking. Add the almond extract and whisk more, wetting all the dry ingredients until smooth.
Fold in the whipped aquafaba.
Divide evenly among the 8 friand or financier molds (can also sub muffin or cupcake molds.) Fill to about 3/4th full.
Place two to three blackberries randomly on the top of the batter for each mold. If blackberries are large, cut in half and place cut side down on batter.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until tops no longer shiny, and firm in the middle. Toothpick test comes out clean in center.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack. Best served on the same day, but will last about 2 days if stored in air-tight container at room temperature.