Saturday, 10 March 2012

Madeleines from the Mountains

Our week on the Swiss ski slopes already seems like a distant memory and now the only mountain in my life is the pile of washing!  We had a really amazing time though, with great snow and lots of skiing, blue skies and lots of laughter. 


Oscar loved it and wants to go back ‘NOW.’ He loved tobogganing, skiing, piste bashers and of course the mountain railway.  The only thing he wasn’t impressed with was the food, and despite us tucking into fondue, rosti, and all sorts of delicious things, he insisted that his holiday diet would consist only of pasta with butter, bread rolls with cream cheese and apple puree pouches!  Interestingly though he did make one new discovery in the little supermarket in the village…madeleines!  He picked out a box of 6 and ate every single one that evening.  He then worked his way through several more boxes during the week.


The other great discovery of the holiday was that he will finally drink hot chocolate, although only one teaspoonful at a time, so I’m happy that he’s tried some new things.

I hadn’t made madeleines before and most of the recipes I found looked a little complicated, but I wanted to follow my pre-holiday carrot fritter failure with something I knew would be super successful so I decided to put in the extra effort.  In the end, I turned to my trusty cookery school recipe book and found two recipes. I have taken the easiest bits of each to create the recipe below.  I’ve added orange zest too, as the madeleines in Switzerland had a yummy orange flavour. 

I must just point out, as you will no doubt have noticed, that my madeleines look suspiciously like fairy cakes and not their usual shell-like shape. This is simply because my kitchen is not yet equipped with a madeleine tray to cater for my son’s latest fancy for delicate continental patisserie! 



This makes about 24 little madeleines

Heat the oven to 200°c
Line a small muffin tray with small fairy cake cases

60g butter
2 eggs
60g caster sugar
75g plain flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small orange

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then leave to one side to cool.

2. Place the eggs and sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk over hot water until thick and creamy – approx 3-4 minutes.  You should probably do this over a saucepan of simmering water but I used the baking tray from our oven filled with boiling water from the kettle.

3. Remove the bowl from the hot water and continue whisking for another 2 minutes or until the mixture is cool.

4. Sift together the flour and baking powder and gently fold half into the egg mixture.  Then fold in half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour then the rest of the butter.

5. Finally grate in about 1tsp of orange zest and fold in to the mixture along with the vanilla extract.

6. Put the mixture into a jug and pour it into the cake cases and put them in the oven for about 8 minutes (slightly longer if you are using a madeleine tray as they will be a little bigger). 



This recipe is a bit of a faff (particularly the whisking over hot water business) which never really goes down well with me, but when I have confidence that my cooking is going to be appreciated I am happy overlook a little faff!  I actually think these are a little dry but Oscar honestly can’t get enough so this gets a very exciting 5/5. Whoop whoop!

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