Cherry Friands

I love cherry season! Actually, I love all stone fruit and consider it one of the best things about summer. These friands are full of juicy, fresh summer cherries and even the icing sugar is black cherry flavoured. Not a necessary ingredient, you can easily make this with regular icing sugar, but well worth using. I love to try out new ingredients (despite my kitchen not being big enough for my enthusiasm)!

Cherry Friands1

Cherry Friands2

I have a cherry stoner (as I am also enthusiastic about gadgets) and this does make pitting the cherries a little easier, but if the cherries are nice and ripe, the stones should come out fairly easily by just halving them and removing the stones that way.

Ingredients:
250ml egg whites – I used Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing sugar – I used Sugar and Crumbs Black cherry flavour that I got from The Vanilla Valley
230g Cherries – pitted and halved
165g butter – melted plus extra for buttering the pan
130g Ground almonds
100g plain/all-purpose flour
Lemon zest from one small lemon
Small handful of slivered almonds

To decorate:
Black cherry flavoured icing sugar mixed with little water to make a glaze for drizzling

Cherry Friands

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the friand pan with melted butter (if anyone knows where to get friand/oval paper cases, please let me know!)

In a large bowl, mix the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar together and mix together.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the egg whites until slightly frothy/broken down and add in the melted butter until well mixed.

Fold in the dry ingredients and finally, stir in the cherries gently so as not to break them up (mine were super juicy).

Divide the batter between the holes and scatter over a few slivered almonds.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. The little cakes should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into one.

Cherry Friand2

Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes as they are very fragile when just baked. The cherries are quite moist, so it’s best to leave everything to cool and firm up before attempting to turn them out or you risk leaving half the cake behind!

Gently turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.

Cherry Friand

Mix a few tablespoons of the black cherry icing sugar (or normal icing sugar) with a teaspoon or two of water to make a simple glaze. Drizzle back and forth over the friands and leave to set.

Cherry Friand1

These were the most popular friands I have made to date and the black cherry icing sugar is really worth using as it makes the cakes extra special.

Smoky and Spicy Cheese Ball

Since I made my very first cheese ball here, it was so good, I have been needing an excuse to create new ones.

cheeseball2b

With the festive season upon us, a cheese ball is the perfect make-ahead addition to a any party or buffet table. Served with cruditiés or crackers, they are really good for feeding a crowd and delicious to eat.

This one is all about smoky and spicy flavours. Smoky cheese, smoked paprika, smoky and spicy chipotle chillies and the crust has chopped smoky almonds, smoked paprika and lots of crispy shards of smoky bacon goodness. Like my first cheese ball recipe, I haven’t used any extra salt in this at all.

cheeseball2

Ingredients:
8oz/226g room temperature cream cheese
8oz/226g room temperature Applewood smoked cheddar, grated
Small bunch of chives, very finely chopped
1-2tbs of chipotle chilli paste.
1 roasted red pepper, skinned and finely chopped. You can easily cheat and use one from a jar for this.
2tsp smoked paprika – sweet or spicy, the choice is yours
Freshly ground black pepper

Crust:
1 pack of salted smoked almonds, very finely chopped
6 thin slices of smoked streaky bacon, cooked until crisp – then cool and finely chop
Freshly ground black pepper
2tsp smoked paprika
Crackers for serving

cheeseball slice

Method:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the room temperature cheeses, peppers, paprika and chilli and mix on low speed until well mixed.  Add the chives and mix until just combined.

Place onto cling film and form into a ball. Refrigerate for at least two hours in order for it to firm up and be rolled in the crust ingredients.

On a plate, spread out the chopped almonds and bacon. Season the plate all over with freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle over the paprika so you have an even coating.

cheeseball slice2

Then just roll the cheese ball around in the crust ingredients, until fully coated. This is ready to serve immediately but will only get better if left to come up to room temperature. Otherwise you can refrigerate for up to 3 days.

cracker1

This could easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the bacon and using more of the other ingredients to coat the outside.

Christmas Spiced Mincemeat Friands

Friands are so easy to make, a Christmas themed recipe was inevitable!

Christmas Friands

These friands have the addition of ground mixed spice in both the cakes and the glaze for that unmistakable Christmas flavour.

As before, I use refrigerated Two Chicks egg whites from the supermarket. So much easier than separating egg whites and then finding something to do with all the yolks. I also used some homemade mincemeat that was given to me as a gift, but there are lots of really good jars of mincemeat in the supermarket at this time of year.

Christmas Friands2

I sometimes like to customise shop bought mincemeat with a little extra brandy, pistachios or cranberries, but as the children were going to eat this one, I kept it simple. This particular jar had slivered almonds which made it particularly good to eat.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites/250ml Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing/powdered sugar, sieved with 2tsp ground mixed spice
130g ground almonds
100g plain flour, sieved
Zest of 1-2 satsumas or clementines
160g melted butter + extra for buttering the pan
1 jar of good quality mincemeat

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the friand tin with melted butter.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy and then add the melted butter and zest.

Mix in the ground almonds and add the icing sugar and spice on low speed. Finally, fold in the flour until just combined.

Half fill a 12-hole friand pan with the mixture and add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each one. Don’t be tempted to add too much, or it will bubble out due to the high sugar content.

Using the rest of the mixture, cover the mincemeat, dividing it equally between each one. The mincemeat will be encased inside.

Christmas Friands closeup2

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before preparing the glaze.

Christmas Friand close up

Glaze:
1 cup of icing sugar, sieved with 1tsp of ground mixed spice
Juice of the two satsumas used for the cakes, plus the zest and juice of an extra one – enough to make a dropping consistency.

Simply mix together the sieved icing sugar, spice, zest and enough satsuma juice to make a dropping consistency – I used all 3 satsumas, but mine were very small ones.

Drizzle over a little of the spicy, zesty glaze and dust with a small amount of sieved icing sugar.

Christmas Friand inside

These are spicy, moist and delicious, with a juicy mincemeat filling – a really good alternative to the traditional mince pie. Serve with coffee for a festive treat.