Food, for me, is always an adventure.
Rather strangely, my friends ask me for advice, my opinion on things, recommendations. I get phone calls from super market aisles and in the middle of kitchen panics. This perplexes me, simply because I know nothing.
At least, I feel that I know nothing. I’m a food n00b. Though I guess I must know a thing or two by now, right?
However, the fun thing about food is, unlike say, engineering or rocket surgery; when there’s something you don’t know, it’s easily rectified.
You look it up, buy whatever you need, and try. If you follow the instructions, you’ve got a more than fair chance of success. If you fail… Well, be glad it was only food and not neuroscience.
So when the boss slides up to me late one afternoon and asks if I’m bringing morning tea the next day (Uh… I can?), I hit the internet. Madeleines. Right. I have no real idea as to what they are, but I’m about to learn.
A cafe staple, madelines are essentially teenie tiny little sponge cakes (not cookies!). They look like little shells. Winner.
Uh, they have a special pan. You need this.
Lemon and Cardamom Madelines
2 eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of flour (sift it first then measure)
1 tsp of grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp cardamom
55g unsalted butter, melted
A bit of extra melted butter to grease the tin
A bit of extra flour of dust the tin
Icing sugar for decoration
1) Preheat the oven to 190*c.
Coat the tin with melted butter, then dust lightly with flour to stop the cakes from sticking.
2) In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and salt until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
Carefully beat in the flour. Fold in half the melted butter and lemon zest. Mix well. Add the rest of the butter and cardamom, and taste. Add more cardamom if you think it needs more.
3) Drop about a tablespoon of batter into each mold. Bake for about 8 minutes, they will spring back when touched when they are ready.
Allow them to cool on a wire rack. When they are cold, dust with icing sugar.
The difference in colour is down to me leaving the first batch in the oven for the full 12 minutes (multitask fail). You should aim for the gold colour.And be warned, cardamom is a strong spice, thus the request that you taste test first. Some may like a little more, some a little less. It’s delicious though, trust me.