I few weeks ago I was in the beautiful city of Paris, soaking up all the autumn colours of the Jardin des Tuileries, seeing inspiring art and eating lots of pâtisserie (well that is work ‘research’ after all!).
I had read about an amazing cook shop called E Dehillerin and had my heart set on finding a sea shell shaped madeleine baking tray. A usual madeleine baking tray has oval scalloped shapes, but there is something about the proportions and roundness of the sea shell shape I really love.
The kitchenware shop was amazing, an experience in itself. Not a shiny, slick, kitchen gadget store, but like a marvellous old fashioned kitchenware stockroom. There were floor to ceiling shelves with every type of pan in every size you could imagine, copper pots hanging from the beams, boxes and boxes of tiny pâtisserie cases, knives, bowls and whisks. I must have been standing in the doorway for about 5 minutes with my mouth open trying to take it all in.
I found my beloved madeleine tray and immediately bought it, it was then carefully wrapped up in brown paper, like a gift. I left the shop with a massive smile on my face and a need for a big cup of coffee.
I have been eager to bake madeleines for this blog, and now Halloween has been and gone it feels the right time. When choosing my flavour for these light buttery sponge bites, I took inspiration again from the season and chose Clementines. I am starting to see them more and more in the greengrocers and supermarkets and, for me, it is a definite nod towards winter.
This recipe is for clementine and cinnamon madeleines; Cinnamon is such an autumnal flavour to me and it compliments the Clementine perfectly.
Clementine Spiced Madeleines
90g soft brown butter (see note below) or soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs
15g demerara sugar
70g caster sugar
90g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 clementines (zest and juice)
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Grease and flour dust a madeleine pan and then place in the fridge to cool.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy add the zest and butter and whisk again until combined
In a separate bowl, sift the plain flour, cinnamon and baking powder together. Then add it to the madeleine batter and gently fold through until combined.
If you have time at this stage, for best results, chill the batter in the fridge for at least an hour, this helps with the rise. Place some clingfilm directly on top of the surface of the mixture and refrigerate. If you don’t have time then you can move straight on to the next step.
Heat oven to 180ºC and when you are ready to bake, dollop one tablespoon of madeleine batter into your prepared, chilled tin. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or as soon as they turn golden on top. Take them out of the mould and leave to cool on a wire rack.
If you have madeleine batter left over, then repeat the above step until all your madeleines are baked.
They are best eaten on the day you make them, ideally just as soon as they are cool enough to eat!
I made a quick glaze to dip them in, which is icing sugar and clementine juice mixed together until you have a runny consistency – then dip the cool madeleine in and allow to set.
Note: Brown butter adds a beautiful nutty flavour to the madeleine, in fact to any baking you do. To make it, melt the butter in a small pan and bring it to the boil. Keep and eye on it, and as it turns a light golden brown, remove it from the heat and allow to cool until it reaches a soft texture. Then it’s ready to use.
I hope you feel some Parisian inspiration to whip up a batch madeleines too!