Plum, blackberry and bay friand bake (SIMPLE, pg 274)

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Serves six, generously


200g blackberries


4 ripe plums, stones removed, cut into 1cm wide wedges (360g)


1 tsp vanilla extract


60g caster sugar


3 fresh bay leaves


1 tsp ground cinnamon


60g plain flour


200g icing sugar, sifted


120g ground almonds


1/8 tsp salt


150g egg whites (from 4–5 large eggs)


180g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled


Friands are the light, moist almond cakes popular in Australia, New Zealand and France. Whisked egg whites and very little flour make them wonderfully light, and the ground almonds make them really moist. Traditionally they’re small cakes, but here I tip the batter into  a baking dish and cook it whole.


You can make the batter well in advance here, if you want to  get ahead – it keeps well in the fridge up to a day ahead – but don’t macerate the fruit for this amount of time as it will become too juicy.


Serve with custard, vanilla icecream or cream. The fruit can  be played around with, depending on the season. Raspberries and peaches can be used in the early summer months, for example

Method

1.    Place the blackberries and plums in a bowl with the vanilla extract, sugar, bay leaves and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside for 30 minutes. Don’t be tempted to leave them sitting around for longer than this, as the fruit will become too juicy.

2.    Preheat the oven to 190°C fan.

3.    Mix the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds, the remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt in a separate large bowl. Set aside.

4.    Lightly whisk the egg whites by hand for 30 seconds, so they just start to froth. Stir into the flour mixture, along with the melted butter, until combined.

5.    Tip the batter into a 20 x 30cm parchment-lined baking dish and top evenly with the fruit and juices. Bake for 40 minutes, covering the dish with foil for the final 10 minutes, until the batter is golden-brown and the fruit is bubbling. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

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