Sweet Madeleines

These little shell shaped cakes are synonymous with France. Originating from communes in the north East of France, Madeleines were apparently first named by Louis XV, after the pastry chef who made them, Madeleine Paulmier.

Buttery and light, they come as grande or petite and are delicious on their own or dipped in a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. They can be made with or without ground nuts, flavoured with lemon, orange or vanilla, coated with chocolate, or filled with dried or glacier fruit. They are also incredibly easy to make and once you have the pan for making the distinctive shape, this will become your easy recipe for last minute coffee mornings or teas, after-school snacks, or lunchbox/picnic treats.

This recipe comes from a favourite patisserie book by Murielle Valette. Variation ideas are my own.

Recipe for Madeleines

250g melted butter, 250g plain flour, 8g baking powder, 5 medium eggs, 250g caster sugar, tsp vanilla extract.

Melt the butter in a pan
Sift the flour and baking powder and stir together
Whisk together the eggs and sugar for approx 1 minute. Stir in the flour and baking powder until fully incorporated then slowly add the melted butter to the mix. Stir in the vanilla extract.
For a good rise, cover the mix with cling film (so in direct contact with the mix) and leave in the fridge for 4 hours. You can also use it straight away.
Grease and flour the madeleine tin and fill them 2/3s full. Bake immediately in a preheated oven 190C/gas mark 5, until they are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Turn out immediately.
Variations: coat with dark chocolate when cool, or instead of vanilla use lemon or orange zest, or perhaps finely chopped dried/glacé fruit or chocolate chips.