Apple, Cinnamon and Ricotta Gluten-Free Friands

Apple Cinnamon and Ricotta Friands
If you have met a financier (the cake kind not the money kind) then you have met a friand, albeit in a different shape and from another country. Financiers hail from France and are so-called due to their rectangular shape which was thought to resemble gold ingots. They are made with sugar, ground almonds, a kiss of flour and foamy egg whites, giving a lovely light and moist sponge. The friand is made in exactly the same way, except in an Australian kitchen and baked in oval shaped tins rather than rectangles. So that’s basically why I chose to made friands instead of financiers – that’s the tin I have.

Because the recipe uses so little flour it is no effort to turn these babies gluten-free without losing anything from the original recipe. The flour is just there to bulk out the ground almonds rather than any grand alchemy taking place. I think that’s the easiest way of creating gluten-free bakes, by adapting recipes which don’t rely on flour.

Apple Cinnamon and Ricotta Friands

I have tried mixing my own gluten-free flours and experimented with different blends of sorghum flour, potato starch, rice flour and millet flour among others. However, sometimes it’s just easier to reach for the bag of ready-made stuff. When you’re using so little flour anyway like in this recipe the difference is negligible. For this purpose I am more than happy to use Dove’s gluten-free flour blend, it’s reliable and the benefit is that you don’t need to order any out of the way ingredients from Amazon as it’s more than likely that your local supermarket stocks it.

These friands are amped up from the usual recipe by dropping in a teaspoonful of lemony sweetened ricotta into the finished batter then garnishing the top with cinnamon spiked buttery apple pieces just before they go into the oven. I think I got the idea of including the ricotta in a food magazine years ago and haven’t been able to resist adding a dollop to my recipe every time since. The creamy ricotta pairs perfectly with the buttery apple topping, making this a very simple bake but one that feels luxurious, delicate and of course good for your gluten-free friends.

Apple Cinnamon and Ricotta Friands

Apple, Cinnamon and Ricotta Gluten-Free Friands
Makes 12

3 Apples, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon icing sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
squeeze of lemon juice
160g ricotta
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
250g icing sugar
160g ground almonds
100g gluten free flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
200g butter, melted
180g egg whites (about 6)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and butter a 12 hole friand tin.
  2. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter then add the icing sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice and then tip in the apple pieces.
  3. Fry for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat just before the apples turn soft and leave to cool.
  4. In a small bowl mix the ricotta with the vanilla, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon icing sugar until smooth and set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl mix the almonds with the flour, the rest of the icing sugar, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt together
  6. Then in another bowl the whisk egg whites a little until light and foamy.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the almonds along with the melted butter.
  8. Divide the batter between the friand moulds, then top with a spoonful of ricotta mixture. Finally add a few apples to the top of each one.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  10. Dust with icing sugar.