Five egg whites were burning a hole in my freezer. I had used the yolks for something (crispy cereal prawns!) and decided to try freezing the whites...as I have heard so many people do. I was quite pleased that, finally, I would not be sending some poor unused whites to the bin without a fighting chance. So I smugly tucked the whites to sleep for a bit in the deep freeze and that was that.
Much too soon, little niggling egg white thoughts began to badger me. “Must use those egg whites soon!” “What will you do with those egg whites?” “Don’t forget about those five frozen egg whites!”
I know you must be thinking of a ton of things to do with egg whites – meringue or some version of it – like a pavlova (which seems to be enjoying some kind of crazy resurgence!) – maybe an angel food cake or a canonigo. But you see, I am not an egg white kind of girl. I, sigh, do not like meringue (even though I think the making of it is pretty charming). I do not really like any (solely) egg white based desserts. I am more an egg yolk kind of girl – rich, creamy, intense, and loaded with cholesterol.
So what to do with those whites that didn’t involve something even slightly meringuesque?
Financiers and friands. Almond meal, melted butter, and unbeaten (trumpet sounding here please) egg whites. The perfect vehicle for any egg white of mine I say! Not only are they delicious, financiers have an interesting provenance involving Parisian bankers, breakfast, and gold ingots. What more could you ask for in a lovely little cake? Friands meanwhile, are pretty much the same in make-up, although I am still a bit unsure as to their origins. Some say they are the Australian versions of financiers, and I am inclined to agree since my recipe came from one of my favourite Aussie ladies :)
Chocolate Hazelnut Friands
(adapted from Chocolate Friands, page 40, Simple Essentials Chocolate by Donna Hay)
- 1 cup (110 grams) hazelnut meal
- 1 2/3 cup (250 grams) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) all purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 egg whites
- 200 grams butter, melted
- Grease mini muffin tins, or mini tart pans (I must have used over 30 over these little pans).
- Place hazelnut meal, confectioner’s sugar, flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a bowl and whisk to combine.
- Add the egg whites and stir to combine.
- Add the butter and stir until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the tins and bake for 15-20 minutes in a 160C (320F) oven (until springy to touch). Adjust the baking time to the size of your tins and check early on how it’s cooking.
I fear there may be some French bakers out there shaking their fists in the air at my mentioning financiers and then using hazelnut meal instead of the traditional almond meal in this recipe. There may even be some hissing and scratching about how a chocolate version could in no way be likened to a gold ingot – although I’ll have you know that Pierre Herme, French pastry chef extraordinaire, has also made a chocolate version. The simple fact was, I had some hazelnut meal that needed using and no almond meal in sight. Plus, as any Nutella lover would know, hazelnuts and chocolate were destined to be together.
Friand or financier, I liked how these came out! Not too sweet, very chocolate-y, with the hazelnut’s nutty flavour all throughout. They were not too heavy and their small size made them perfect for serving with a cup of coffee or tea...or as a nice hostess gift :)
I’ll need to start freezing my egg whites more often!
p.s. I got these cute little tartlet pans from a famously sweet-toothed local blogger who needed to find new homes for some of the many bits of bake ware she had accumulated (as any expert baker out there with mountains of baking stuff needs to do once in a while). I also got this pan from her. Lori, your stuff have found a good home over here :)