I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. It sort of fell between the cracks, and it was only when I was going through my photos that I remembered I hadn’t actually shared this recipe with you guys. It’s a shame really, because it’s one of those recipes that I keep going back to, playing around with and making again and again. I love it because, unlike some other baking batters, you can bake as many as you need and pop the batter back in the fridge where it will keep well for up to a week. You can keep going back to it and baking more off as you need or want them and the batter seems to improve the longer it sits.
I love madeleines; they are such an utterly gorgeous little treat. Buttery and light, they match perfectly well with a cup of tea. Like many French creations, it seems the older the eggs are and the longer you leave the batter, the better the outcome will be. What’s with that anyway?
Though they look like cookies, these little shell-shaped beauties are actually little cakes. To achieve the famous ‘fluted scallop’ shape, you’ll need to get yourself a madeleine pan. I bought one after many years of resistance, but I have made excellent use of it since then. If you’re not keen to find room for yet another cake tin then it is certainly possible to bake them in mini muffin tins. I’ve found that, like the bundt cake, the secret to making the pan truly non-stick is through meticulous preparation. To prepare the pan, I spray with cooking spray and then brush the oil into all the little grooves with a pastry brush. Then I lightly flour the pan and pop in the fridge to set for about half an hour. The cold pan also seems to help with the famous ‘hump’ that madeleines get on their backs so try to resist the urge to skip this step.
I used mandarin zest in this batch, which I got from my bumper crop of mandi’s that have long since been eaten. If you can still get mandi’s then go for it, otherwise I’ve had equal success with orange, lemon, vanilla and even a dab of blueberry jam.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 1 cup plain flour
- ½ tspn baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup of caster sugar
- 2 tbspns dark muscovado sugar (or brown sugar, if you prefer)
- 1 tspn citrus zest
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Add the eggs and sugars to the bowl of your electric mixer and beat until thick and pale.
- Add the vanilla and zest and mix well.
- Sift in about a third of the flour and gently fold it in to the batter.
- Repeat until all flour has been incorporated. Make sure you don’t mix overmix the batter or it will deflate.
- Now add take 1 cup of the batter and combine it with the melted butter.
- Then add the mixture back to the main batter and fold through gently.
- Cover and pop in the fridge for an hour or so. The colder the batter is, the better your little ‘hump’ will be.
- Heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade and grease the pan as outlined above – remember to refrigerate the pan for about half an hour before baking.
- Using an ice cream scoop, drop about a tablespoon sized ball of batter into each mould.
- Pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
- They are done when the edges start to turn a golden brown colour.
- Remove from the oven and rap the tray against the kitchen bench to dislodge the cakes.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Dust with icing sugar and eat.