The hardest thing in a friand recipe is melting the butter. Which isn’t hard. The difference between a good friand and a truly great one, then, lies in certain subtleties. They work best when the roasty-toasty flavour of the almonds and the butter come through – these can be amplified with a few simple tricks. The first is the ‘beurre noisette’ – this just means ‘nut butter’, and refers to the act of burning your melted butter to give it a nutty flavour. This involves nothing more than keeping your melting butter on the heat for a bit longer so that it goes dark brown (nay black). It’s definitely worth it.
The second wee trick I’d suggest is spreading your ground almonds out on a baking tray and baking them in your oven for 5 minutes whilst you gather the rest of your ingredients together. You’ll find it really amplifies the roasted nut flavour, which goes especially well with the acidic tartness of the brambles.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4. Grease any wee tins – I’d go for muffin tins if you have them. If you like, you can scatter the ground almonds over a baking tray and place them on the top shelf in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Melt the butter in a pan over a high heat. Once it has melted, keep cooking until you’ve nearly burnt it – it should go a nice dark brown colour. Then remove from the heat and leave to cool. This is your beurre noisette.
In a large bowl, mix your icing sugar, flour, toasted almonds and egg whites together, mixing vigorously to combine. Then drizzle in the butter, stirring all the time, until the mixture is amalgamated.
Spoon the mixture into your tins – you want them to be at least a centimetre thick. Top with a couple of blackberries in each one then bake for 10–12 minutes or until just golden. Leave to cool then, for a final flourish, dust with icing sugar to serve.