These fluffy, buttery little French sponges will always remind me of long car journeys across France during our family camping holidays. We’d buy them by the bagful from French hypermarkets, and my sister and I would chomp our way through them while listening to our Walkman cassette players and poring over puzzle books. In my adult life, I’ve eaten rather more refined versions at wonderful restaurants like St. John in Clerkenwell or my pal James Lowe’s restaurant Lyle’s in Shoreditch. My favourites though, were those I ate straight from the oven at Thierry patisserie in Vancouver, where I helped out for a few days. This warming version is flavoured with orange and stem ginger.
Check out the ingredients below and the video above...
Makes 12 madeleines
100 g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
2 medium eggs
100 g (3 ½ oz/scant ½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
80 g (3 oz/⅔ cup) self-raising flour, sifted
20 g ( ¾ oz/ 1/3 cup) ground almonds
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Pinch of salt
2 balls preserved stem ginger in syrup, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon orange juice
12-hole madeleine tin
Grease the madeleine tin with butter then sprinkle with a light dusting of plain flour.
Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk by hand or in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale and fluffy, and then fold in the remaining ingredients until you have a smooth batter.
Leave the batter to sit for 30 minutes, and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).
Spoon (or, if you have a piping bag, pipe) just under 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each hole in the madeleine tin – being sure not to overfill each hole (you need less mixture than you might think because it will puff up).
Bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until golden brown.
Once baked, remove the madeleines from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack. Or just scoff them while they’re warm. I would.
A Lot on her Plate by Rosie Birkett (Hardie Grant, £25.00) Photography: Helen Cathcart.