Grape and Olive Oil Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

by eat in my kitchen

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

I don’t know what drove me to come up with a grape-recipe in April, but it must have had something to do with the fact that I desperately felt like baking with fruits and there was nothing else in sight that sparked my interest. I went to the shop around the corner to find some inspiration, but there were just a few tiny baskets of unripe strawberries, I spotted plump blueberries, which seem to have become available all year round, and some very delicate – and artificial – looking raspberries. I didn’t get excited by any of them.

I usually try to follow the (local) seasons, but there was a bag full of South African grapes that seemed to fit perfectly to the bunch of rosemary that I had already picked. So they became the main flavours for my French olive oil friands. If we leave out the fact that it’s not the fruit’s season in the northern hemisphere where I live, it’s a cozy sweet treat that is just right when the weather is too moody to go outside, or there’s too much work on the desk, and you’re forced to stay inside. A nibble of this aromatic beauty and the world looks much nicer again.

In case you’ve never heard of friands before – I must admit I was one of them – they are sumptuous small cakes, a patisserie classic. They look similar to muffins but the texture is actually more fine and delicate. They are made with ground almonds and just a little flour, and a generous amount of beaten egg white that helps the batter to rise instead of baking powder or baking soda. Traditionally made with melted butter, I just followed my mood and replaced the dairy product with mild olive oil. It was a good choice, especially in combination with the sweet fruit and fragrant herb.

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

Grape and Olive Oil Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

Makes 12 friands (in a muffin pan)

For the friands

organic egg whites 6
fine sea salt 1/8 teaspoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
ground almonds (or hazelnuts) 200g / 1 2/3 cups
plain flour 80g / 2/3 cup
freshly grated orange zest 2 teaspoons
mild olive oil 140ml / 2/3 cup
small dark grapes, preferably seedless (or seeds removed), 36 (3 grapes for each friand)
icing sugar, for the topping

For the caramelized rosemary

granulated sugar 3 tablespoons
water 2 tablespoons
the ends of 12 sprigs of rosemary (with about 4-5 needles each)

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F (conventional setting). Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with olive oil, dust with a little flour, and place in the fridge. Cut 12 circles of parchment paper, large enough for the bottom of each muffin cup; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites, salt, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar for about 1 minute until it forms soft peaks.

In a second, large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, ground almonds, flour, and orange zest. In alternating batches, fold in the beaten egg whites and the olive oil, about 1/3 at a time. Stir gently until just combined.

Take the muffin pan out of the fridge, lay 1 parchment circle into each muffin cup, and divide the batter between the cups. Place 3 grapes on top of the batter in each muffin cup and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the friands cool for a few minutes, then, using a small sharp knife, cut along the sides of the muffin cups and lift the friands out of the muffin pan. Remove the parchment paper.

For the caramelized rosemary, place a piece of parchment paper on the counter top. In a small, heavy pan, heat the sugar and water on high heat, without stirring. When the sugar is golden and caramelized, stir in the rosemary until coated in caramel and transfer to the parchment paper. Let it cool for a few minutes before you peel it off the parchment paper.

Dust the friands with icing sugar and garnish with the caramelized rosemary. They taste best on the first day.

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

Grape and Friands with Caramelized Rosemary

 

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