Pear Friands – Dani Valent

A dainty cake that is perfect for picnics

Friands are small, delicate oval-shaped cakes made with a batter based on almond and egg white. My rustic version starts with natural almonds, rather than traditional blanched almonds or snowy white almond meal. I am enjoying the last of the pears at the moment so I’ve used them, but classic friand additions include raspberries and blueberries so feel free to use those instead.

If you don’t have any friand moulds, you can use muffin tins. Even though the name sounds French, friands are most popular in Australia and New Zealand. A similar batter is used to make financiers in France, bar-shaped moulds that resemble gold ingots.

At the moment in Melbourne, we are locked down and not allowed to eat in restaurants or gather at other people’s homes. However, the rules have eased recently and we are now allowed to have picnics with up to five people from two households. So on Sunday I did something really special: I went on a picnic with my two daughters and my parents. It was the sweetest, warmest, shiniest and most deliciously idyllic occasion. And I brought these friands. They are a small and simple pleasure but sometimes you don’t realise how precious the small, simple things are until you can’t have them anymore. That’s what eating with my parents and children felt like. I savoured every moment and every crumb.

Makes: 8
Time: 30 minutes


  • 80 grams (2.8 oz) natural almonds, or use almond meal
  • 4 egg whites
  • 160 grams (5.6 oz) caster sugar
  • 120 grams (4.2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 80 grams (2.8 oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch fine salt
  • 1 small pear, peeled and diced (you may not need all of it)


1. Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F). Place almonds in mixing bowl and grind 10 sec/speed 8. Without a Thermomix, use a food processor. Otherwise, start with almond meal!

2. Add other ingredients. Mix 30 sec/speed 4. Without a Thermomix, use a food processor, cake mixer, or wooden spoon and bowl.

3. Grease friand moulds and pour in mixture. Add six or so pear cubes (or a few berries). Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until cakes just spring back to the touch. Eat warm or later the same day – they are so good fresh!


  • These are great for picnics. 
  • Use muffin tins instead of friand moulds.
  • Friands can be frozen and warmed back up in a low oven.


  • You can brown the butter and allow it to cool before adding to mixture for a nutty, caramelised flavour.
  • Add a few tablespoons of chopped pistachios along with the fruit.
  • Use almond meal and icing sugar for a more refined finish.
  • Frozen fruit is fine to use.

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