Yellow Plum Friands


Friands cooling on a baking tray. photo Abigail Weber


Tiny yellow plums. photo: Abigail Weber

These delicious cakey muffins scream Australian coffeehouse like no other sweet treat I know. I’d wager that most of you here in the United States have never heard of friands but if you’ve ever enjoyed a financier cake in France, you’ve got the right idea.

Made with almond meal, egg whites, and confectioners’ sugar, this cross between the muffin and the cupcake strikes the perfect balance between the two. They are light and fluffy and exceedingly moist, absolute perfection next to a latte (or a flat white for you Aussies out there). I’ve flavored these with yellow plums and a hint of cinnamon. On the day I made them, I kid you not, the full dozen was gone before 24 hours had passed.

Makes a dozen

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup almond meal*
5 large egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 small yellow plums, halved and pitted

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
  2. Sift the confectioners’ sugar, flour, and cinnamon into a medium bowl. Stir in the almond meal. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and butter. Stir to combine.
  3. Pour the batter evenly among the cups of the muffin pan.
  4. Cut each plum half into three thin slices. Lightly press three plum slices into each friand. Bake about 18 minutes**, until cooked through and lightly browned around the edges. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then gently lift out to cool on a baking rack. Serve dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

*Almond meal is also called almond flour. You can easily make your own if you can’t find it in the markets. Simply grind unblanched almonds and sift. Keep opened almond meal containers in the fridge or freezer so they don’t spoil. The oils in the almonds turn rancid quickly after opening.

**I used a dark metal cupcake tray. Light metal trays may necessitate a slightly longer cooking time.

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