How BBC Food Told Me to Do It
The original recipe I started with was on BBC Food and can be found here:
- 2 free-range eggs
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar
- 100g/3½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 100g/3½oz butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing
HOWEVER, once I understood the basic gist of how to prepare the batter and bake, I made a few alterations:
- I didn’t have caster sugar (only raw brown sugar), so I used the same quantity suggested and simply ground up the hard sugar crystals into something that would mix more smoothly in the batter.
- I used lime zest and lime juice instead of lemon as that was what I had on hand. And I used about 5 limes in total for zest and juice.
- I melted the butter with a few cardamom pods to add another layer of flavor.
- Also, I added in a bit of vanilla extract to the batter.
Aside from issues with maintaining a consistent temperature in the oven for baking, the final results were pretty good! As is the case with the iconic “first pancake,” my first batch didn’t come out so pretty. A little adjusting with the amount of time spent in the oven, and that was easily sorted out.
Some Tips for Next Time…
If I were to make this same batch again with the same ingredient adjustments and the same general amounts, here’s what I’d do differently:
- I might try to see how a combination of a smaller amount of vanilla extract (I’m talking less than a teaspoon) and a bit of honey instead of raw brown sugar would work to sweeten the madeleines.
- I’d use way more limes to get more of that citrusy kick I love. Or perhaps fresher ones? The ones I used had spent some time in the fridge unnoticed, so they may have lost some of their kick due to age…
- I think I’d like to try toasting and crushing the cardamom pods before adding them to the melting butter (in a cloth) to get that flavor to come out more in the final product. Maybe I’d even try grinding some toasted cardamom seeds and mixing it with icing sugar to lightly dust on top?
- Some Advice from My Failure (Reference first batch photo as evidence): Don’t go by a timer. Just watch your little madeleine babies while they bake, and when you see a slightly brown outline begin to form along the edges, take them out, let them continue to cook with the residual heat on the countertop. Also, let them cool before you pop them out of their tiny, warm beds. I was impatient in this arena and paid the price.
- A Personal Preference: Measure by weight (in grams) as suggested. This always seems to create a better balance in the ratio of ingredients than going by volume. Plus scales are super cheap and very useful to have in the kitchen!
Overall, the madeleines came out pretty tasty. I just wanted more of those citrusy-cardamomy notes to land a bit stronger in each bite. I’ll keep playing with this one to see if I can get the process down to make these flavors pop more!