Madeleines are the daintiest of sweet treats, they deserve a quiet moment to be savoured alongside a good cup of coffee or a pot of your favourite tea.
This classic French bake would make a terrific addition to an afternoon tea in celebration of Mother's day.
Makes 24 to 40 madeleines, depending on the size of your tin.
You will need:
• 25g butter melted and cooled (plus a little extra for preparing the tin)
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tablespoon honey
• The zest of half a lemon
• 50g plain flour (plus a little extra for preparing the tin)
• 50g icing sugar
• 50g ground almonds
• Half teaspoon baking powder
• A pinch of salt
• Madeleine tin (*see top tips)
1. Pre-heat oven to 185°C/170°C fan/gas mark 4.
2. Prepare the tin by brushing with a thin coat of melted butter, then dust liberally with flour. Invert the tin and give it a sharp tap on a work surface to remove the excess flour. There should be a nice thin coating of flour, not too much.
3. Place the eggs, melted butter, honey and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl, whisk together until frothy.
4. Sift in the flour and icing sugar, add the almonds, baking powder and salt. Fold all together until smooth.
5. Spoon the mixture into the tin, filling each shell no more than two thirds full.
6. Place the tray into the freezer for 5 minutes to chill. Store the remaining mix in the fridge until needed.
7. Place the cooled tray into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown and risen.
8. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack to cool.
9. Repeat the process to use up any remaining batter.
10. Once cool the madeleines are ready to serve, they are best enjoyed on the day of baking but will last for a few days if stored in an airtight container.
• I've used a Gobel non-stick steel 20 hole mini madeleine tin here, there are plenty available online - Lakeland have a good range. If baking larger madeleines you may need to adjust baking times accordingly, extend the cooking time by a few minutes and keep an eye on them. The madeleines should be golden in colour and just starting to brown around the edges.
• If you don't want the expense of buying new kitchen equipment you can bake the mixture in a muffin tin prepared to the same method as above. Scatter a few flaked almonds over the top and call them Financiers (Financiers are traditionally made with hazelnut flour, but the rules can be flexible!) Take heed of the above advice for adjusting baking times for larger Madeleines, they will take a little longer to bake.
• Get ahead by making the mix the day before you wish to bake. Store in the fridge overnight.
Once you've mastered the technique you can get creative with flavouring the madeleines. Try adding orange zest, topping them each with a raspberry or even adding some tea to the mixture before baking for your own creative twist.
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