Cherry and Basil Friends

Makes 12

  • 125g unsalted butter, softened  
  • 150g ground almonds  
  • 175g icing sugar  
  • 5 tbsp plain flour  
  • 1 lemon, zest 
  • 4 large egg whites  
  • ¼ tsp almond extract  
  • 20 basil leaves finely shredded  
  • 250g cherries, pitted and halved  
  • Handful flaked almonds  

Preheat the oven to 180c and generously grease the holes of a 12 hole non-stick or silicone muffin tin 

Melt the butter in a saucepan
 until it starts to brown slightly and smell nutty. Don’t let it burn. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

Mix together the ground almonds, icing sugar, flour, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Stir in the egg whites, almond extract and basil, then strain in 75g of the melted butter (put the mixing bowl on the scales). Beat together until smooth.  

Put 24 cherry halves to one side. Stir the rest into the batter. Divide between the muffin tins and put the remaining cherries on top. Scatter with a few flaked almonds.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until risen, browned and just firm in the centre. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.