Friday 11 December 2015

Orange Cardamom Glazed Madeleines

There's one thing that no one tells you when you get involved in Food Studies --no matter where you go, no matter what you look at, Proust's madeleine will eventually find you. Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, aside from being a classic of French literature, is based around the overarching theme of involuntary memory, which of course hinges on the humble tea cake that the French know and love.

            With their delicate scalloped edges and lightly browned crusts, madeleines are an elegant addition to any dessert spread. Even better, their dense interiors and conveniently tapered bodies make them an excellent pairing for dunking into coffee or tea.
            Now the one snag with madeleines is the specialized equipment required to make them - a madeleine pan. However, don't fret quite yet. If you don't have a madeleine pan that you bought on a whim during a vacation to France (which you subsequently buried in storage upon arriving home) these pans are easily available on amazon and in quite a few baking stores as well! I can guarantee that the investment is one worth making. Madeleines, though tasty plain, can be made in a wide variety of flavours for any occasion. As of yet, my favorite recipe has been the orange cardamom ones that I'm listing here. This is the second flavour I've worked out, as my flatmates attempt to keep up with a seemingly endless deluge of multi-flavoured tea cakes.
            With everything said and done, I hope you enjoy these little mouthfuls of buttery goodness. Who knows, maybe they'll conjure up memories of your childhood...or plans of a future holiday in the city of lights.


For madeleines:
-3 Large eggs (at room temperature)
-120g salted butter, melted (feel free to brown it for a bit of a caramel taste)
-170g flour (I use AP, feel free to us cake flour for a fluffier end product)
-130g sugar
-1 pinch of salt
-zest of one orange
- 8-10 pods of green cardamom, hulled and ground
-1/2 tsp. baking powder (optional)*
For glaze:
-2 tbsps. juice from your zested orange
-1/2c. icing sugar

Purists will tell you not to add baking powder due to its tinny taste. If you whip the eggs enough you can avoid using it, but really it's up to you in the end!

David Lebowitz suggests chilling the batter for a few hours or overnight before baking. In a rush? Make the recipe with 1tsp. of baking powder and preheat the oven to 400f/200c before starting.

Melt the butter, grind the cardamom and pinch of salt until it becomes a fine powder

Whip eggs and sugar together until thick and frothy, with a consistency a tad like wet paint

Add the melted butter, by now it should have warmed enough to not risk curdling the eggs

Throw in the remaining ingredients

At this point you can choose to refrigerate the dough to develop taste and lead to more explosive baking. If you're going the refrigerated route, preheat you oven to 400f/200c about twenty minutes before baking. Otherwise, simply proceed to the next step

Brush madeleine pan with melted butter, feel free to dust with flour if your pan does not have a non-stick coating or with granular sugar for a darker, browner shell

Fill indentation until about 3/4 full - the madeleines will rise substantially while cooking

Bake for 8-10 minutes until browned

Meanwhile, whisk orange juice and icing sugar (you can also add some Grand Marnier!) together to make a thick glaze, brush onto warm madeleines or dip them in it to coat

1 comment:

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