Les Madeleines de Janet
I'm really delighted to share the is recipe because we've now got some wonderful French Madeleine tins in.
If you haven’t baked a Madeleine then you missing out on one of the most delightful treats I know. The Madeleine is a light French, somewhat sophisticated small cake originating from The northwest of France, and when baked fresh they are utterly irresistible. I was taught to make Madeleine by an old lady in the village in the southwest of France called Janet. She was in her eighties and had the energy of a toddler. She'd chat ten the the dozen about anything and everything as she furiously beat the batter. Instead of of using chemical leavening such a baking powder she would beat the eggs to within an inch of their lives and as the air was suspended in the batter through mixing it would give volume to the cake. We'd eat them with strawberries and vanilla cream.
Forgive me .. because I cheat, and use half a teaspoon of organic baking powder - it guarantees success. It’s also quite a tricky recipe because this kind of cake batter is known as a Genoise sponge where the only fat in the recipe comes from the egg yolks.
My top tips to get a really light Madeleine is to use a really good quality fine flour. Mulino Marino 00 is perfect as it is milled so finely that it will give you a beautiful result. A good quality vanilla extract is essential, because there is nowhere to hide a poor quality extract in such a simple cake mix. The other key to baking the very best Madeleines is to use a really good quality Madeleine tin. A good quality tin will distribute the heat evenly where as a lesser quality tin can mean the there edges can catch which makes them dry out.
The last secret to making perfect Madeleines is to warm the eggs. By using warmer eggs the whites and yolks combine more easily when you whisk them. This means that the eggs will disperse more evenly in the batter, which again results in more even cooking and a lighter texture (because it is the eggs that trap air).
To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, soak them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes, but no longer than this as egg shells are porous.
Les Madaline de Janet
1 tbsp butter – to grease the tin with
2 large free-range eggs at room temperature
100g fair trade caster sugar
1 tbsp Ndali vanilla extract
100g Mulino Marino Type 00, plus extra for dusting
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 tsp organic baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
Melt a tablespoon of butter. Brush the madeleine tray with melted butter then dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
Warm your bowl in hot water and dry thoroughly. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl until the mixture is fluffy. Lightly whisk in the remaining ingredients. Leave to stand for 20 minutes before spooning the mixture gently into the prepared madeleine tray.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has risen a little in the middle and is fully cooked through. Transfer the Madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes to cool.