Brown Butter Maple Pecan Friands
185g unsalted butter, plus an extra 10g, melted, for brushing
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
230g icing sugar
120g pecan halves plus 12 extra
1/8 tsp salt
150g egg whites (from 4 or 5 large eggs)
2 tbsp maple syrup
Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan.
2. Brush the 12 holes of a friand or muffin tin with the melted butter and dust with flour. Tap the tray to get an even coating of flour and then turn upside down to remove the excess. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the batter.
3. Place the butter in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat until melted. Continue to cook until the butter is foaming, gently swirling the pan from time to time, to allow the solids to brown more evenly. You will see dark brown sediments begin to form on the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to allow the butter to bubble away until it turns a rich golden brown and smells of toasted nuts and caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes, to allow the burnt solids to collect at the bottom of the pan. Strain through a muslin- lined sieve, discarding the solids. Allow the browned butter to cool slightly before using it. It should still be warm when folding into the mix later but if it is too hot it will ‘cook’ the egg whites; if it is too cool, it will be difficult to incorporate into the mix.
4. Blitz the pecan halves in a food processer but be careful not to overdo it.
5. While the butter is cooling, sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Add the ground pecans and mix well. Lightly whisk the egg whites in a small bowl to froth them up a bit – they don’t need to be whisked completely. Pour the egg whites into the sifted dry ingredients and stir until they are incorporated. Add the orange zest, maple syrup and browned butter and mix until the batter is smooth.
6. Remove the tin from the fridge and divide the batter equally between the 12 moulds just over two-thirds of the way up the sides. Put one pecan half on top of each and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 200°C/180°C Fan – starting with a high oven temperature and then bringing it down you will get the lovely brown crust you want – turn the tray around in the oven for even cooking, and continue to cook for another 8 minutes, until the edges of the friands are golden brown and the centres have a slight peak and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool before removing them from the tin.