Although as a rule, I am not a baker (too fussy, too precise, too fiddly), I couldn’t resist the allure of a €3 madeleine tray in Auchan, one afternoon – oh yes, we know how to have a good time around here, an afternoon spent in a hypermarket!
It’s funny how one afternoon breeds another. That afternoon, we were on a mission to buy a saddle for my bike. Saddle fitted, we’ve spent many a pleasant afternoon peddling through the Dordogne’s meandering country lanes. That is completely untrue. Sorry, what I mean is, I have puffed myself and bike up the ridiculously steep Perigordine hills before capitulating half way up, muttering several swear words under my breath and kicking said bike before walking it to the top, only to discover yet another hill. Anyway, on one such torture session idyllic adventure, we came across an apple tree. It didn’t seem to belong to anyone, it was just growing on the side of the public footpath, nature’s equivalent of the vending machine. I figured no one would miss a couple of the many, many apples weighing down its bows.
And hey presto, a full cycle of afternoons as those apples made their way into my first ever batch of madeleines. A pleasant afternoon, multiplied as the family piled round to tuck into them the following day.
This recipe is adapted from Rachel Khoo’s recipe
3 medium eggs
130g granulated sugar
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp and 1 tsp honey
4 tbsp milk
200g butter, melted and cooled
2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced very finely
Beat the eggs and sugar together until pale and frothy. Mix the milk and honey into the cooled butter, and add to the eggs.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Gradually add the flour to the batter. Stir in the chopped apple. Refrigerate for a few hours. Rachel says overnight, but I am impatient.
Preheat the oven to 190C, butter and flour your madeleine tin, and spoon in a tbsp of the batter into each shell. If you are using a silicone tray, it’s a good idea to put it on a baking tray before you spoon in your mixture, so the batter doesn’t spill as you put it into the oven (yep, you guessed it, I found that out the hard way!).
Bake the madeleines for 6 minutes (Rachel says 5, but I found them too pale after just 5), then turn off the oven for one minute. Turn the oven to 160C and bake for another 6 minutes. Turn your madeleines out onto a wire tray to cool and repeat until you’ve used up all you batter. I made four and a half batches from the above in a 9-shell tray.