Thursday, 5 May 2011

Madeleines: the new macaron?

From oven to mouth in ten minutes, these barely touched the plate.

I've just acquired a new toy - a madeleine tin. It's made of silicon, so very practical though not as alluring as some of the copper or steel beauties I've seen. This was the trial run, the first of many I expect.

You could easily use normal oranges in this recipe but I these blood oranges were calling out from our local grocer's window. I think the flavour of blood oranges is more pronounced compared to, well, orange oranges. A touch bitter, but fragrant and of course they have that stunning ruby red flesh. I couldn't resist.

I foresee chocolate / vanilla / pear versions of these coming soon...They're the perfect vehicle for all sorts of flavour combinations, and like macarons they can be paired up with something delicious sandwiched in between.


Makes 40 bite-sized cakes

100g icing sugar
125g butter
40g plain flour,sifted
40g ground almonds
the grated zest of 1 large blood orange, and 1 tbsp of the juice
100g egg whites (about 3 large whites)
2 tsp clear honey

1) Heat the butter in a small pan until it turns nut brown, then pour through muslin or kitchen paper to strain off the solids. Set aside.

2) Now sieve the flour, icing sugar and almonds together, then add the orange zest. Stir in the egg whites and honey, then the warm (not hot) butter and orange juice. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator for half an hour with a piece of clingfilm resting on the surface to prevent it from forming a skin. Meanwhile, lightly oil two madeleine tins (or one tin that makes larger madeleines) then sprinkle with flour, tapping out any excess.

3) Carefully fill each mold 2/3 to 3/4 full. You can either do this with a couple of spoons and a very steady hand, but I used a piping bag as it's neater and I'm obsessive! Pop back in the fridge for another 20 minutes, then bake at 170c/325f/gas mark 3 for 13 minutes (small size). If you find that you only fill 20 molds instead of 40 (the madeleine tins vary in size) then bake for 16-18 minutes, but check with a toothpick to make sure they don't overcook.

4) Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out. Serve with a large pot of earl grey tea, with a couple of friends to help you finish the pile.

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