Pistachios friands & the journey of a future queen
Sometimes it happens that you are in a city almost accidentally and, after 10 minutes, you are completely in love. That is exactly what happened to me the first time I visited Strasbourg. Today the city is famous because is home to the European Parliament (and certainly a visit to this part of the town is interesting), but the true heart of the city is the Petit France: a medieval area (Unesco World Heritage) that has its soul in the Gothic cathedral which seems to rise up to the sky. It’s wonderful walk in these streets, breathe this so romantic atmosphere and spend time in the many shops full of culinary delights and local crafts. Then, walking near the cathedral, your eye catch something different, not a medieval building but a palace, something that recall Paris: it’s the Rohan Palace and here, with a following of 57 carriages and many cheers from the crowd, a future queen entered her new kingdom.
The Rohan Palace – Strasbourg
I’m talking about Marie Antoinette, daughter of the Holy Roman Empress Mary Theresa and future queen of France. She was only 15, a little more than a child, and was heading to a tragic fate that she was unable, like everyone else, to predict. That day, surrounded by the splendour of her court, dressed in rich fabrics and lit by magnificent jewels, she was probably just a girl, far away from home and ready to marry a man she had never seen. In all her story this is my favourite part: not the moment when she become queen (2 years later), not the pressure to make an heir or the intrigues of the court, not the hatred of the French that never accepted her and called her “the Austrian”. This moment, when a bright future seemed to lie at her feet, is so full of joy, expectation and celebration that fills my heart.
I hope you enjoyed this story and I’m sure you will like it more eating these friands! I wanted a french inspired recipe to match this post and I found inspiration, as often happen, in one of my favourite Italian blog: Sara Querzola’s Fiordifrolla. Thank you Sara!
Ingredients: (for 12 friands)
- 150 g of butter (5 1/2 oz)
- 110 g of almond flour (4 oz)
- 100 g of white flour (3 1/2 oz)
- 140 g of icing sugar ( 5 oz)
- 50 g of sugar cane (2 oz)
- 20 g of cocoa (3/4 oz)
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 5 egg whites
- 50 g of coarsely chopped pistachios
Melt the butter in a saucepan until it becomes golden then let cool. Pour the almond and the white flour in a bowl with the baking powder and the cocoa and mix. Pour the egg whites (not whipped) and mix well. Add the melted butter and the pistachios. Pour in the moulds and cook in pre heated oven at 160°C (320°F) for 30 – 35 minutes. Bon appetit!
The young Marie Antoinette