A warm Madeleine, fragrant of butter and crumbly to the core, is the stuff of dreams. Essentially a miniature cake, this French classic can be easily modified with a myriad ingredients. As we enter the period of Ramadan and Eid, I’ve tried to incorporate some of my favourite flavours endemic to this region: orange blossom and pistachio… one floral and wispy, the other deep and complex. Together, they turn the Madeleine into a seasonal treat that can be enjoyed at home or given as calling cards when visiting friends and family.
Makes 2 dozen Madeleines
125 gm butter
½ Cup ground pistachios
¾ Cup flour
2/3 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon of orange blossom water
1. Melt the butter on low heat until it turns light brown. At this stage, you get what’s called buerre noisette – translated into hazelnut butter in reference to its colour.
2. Grind the pistachios until fine. You may use a food processor for speed, mortar and pestle if you’re old school or just buy pistachio mill for sheer convenience.
3. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pistachios with flour and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with salt until frothy. Now add half the dry mixture and buerre noisette into the eggs and beat to combine. Repeat with remaining half.
4. Finally, zest the orange and fold into the batter along with orange blossom water.
5. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge for at least two hours to overnight. It’s essential for the batter to get cold to achieve the crumbly texture of Madeleines.
6. Grease the moulds with butter and sprinkle with flour.
7. Using a piping bag (or a spoon if you’re not too fussed), divide the batter equally into 24 moulds.
8. Bake at 200 degrees Celcius for 12 minutes until the edges turn golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes.
9. Madeleines are best enjoyed within a day. Bon appétit!
** This recipe was concocted for Alef Magazine **