These elegant cakes shaped like scallop shells are the perfect thing with a cup of light, floral French tea. Guillaume Brahimi’s recipe is flavoured with vanilla bean, lemon and beurre noisette – butter cooked until hazelnut brown, giving a nutty flavour. Madeleine trays are available at most good cookware stores and make all the difference to the appearance; they are worth purchasing as once you’ve mastered this recipe you’ll be making these cakes over and over. You can have the mixture ready in advance and cook the cakes when your guests arrive so you can all enjoy warm madeleines.
- 40 g unsalted butter, chopped
- 100 g (¾ cup) plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ tbsp milk
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
- 1 lemon, zested
- softened butter, for brushing
- melted butter and caster sugar for serving (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1–2 hours
Melt the chopped butter in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until nut brown.
Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. Pour this into the flour mixture and whisk until combined, then add the vanilla seeds and whisk again. Gradually pour in the browned butter and whisk well, then whisk in the lemon zest. Allow the mixture to rest for 1–2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Brush softened butter into the madeleine moulds, coating well. Spoon or pipe the mixture into the moulds and bake for 6–10 minutes, or until golden.
Tap the madeleines out of the moulds onto a rack to cool briefly. Serve dipped in melted butter and caster sugar if desired.