Thursday, 2 May 2013
Lime and Coconut Madeleines
Sometimes, I find that inspiration can be lurking in the most unexpected places.
And it strikes at the time I least expect it.
I've written recently about my singular lack of baking mojo. So this week, when I got to my day off and had thought that I'd try and get back in the kitchen, I couldn't actually bring myself to bake anything. A weird kind of procrastination had set in.
I pottered around the house suddenly finding other jobs to do.
One involved sorting through some of my latest cookbook purchases and tidying and reorganising the shelves so I could fit them on. I have a 'system' for storing like books together, and try to keep my baking books easily accessible.
In practice, this meant simply compiling piles of books and moving them around from shelf to shelf until I was reasonably happy with the arrangement. If you have ever read my post for Random Recipes on my cookbook addiction, you'll appreciate that this could take me a while.
But it also meant that I rediscovered a few gems I hadn't seen for a while. Amongst them was Bryn's Kitchen by Bryn Williams.
Thumbing through it reminded me of the Pistachio Cake that a colleague had brought in to work one day, which was so delicious I bought the book on the back of it (and it helped a little that Bryn is Welsh , too, of course).
But I also found a recipe for Madeleines.
"The madeleine (French pronunciation: [mad.lɛn], English // or //) or petite madeleine ([pə.tit mad.lɛn]) is a traditional small cake from Commercy and Liverdun, two communes of the Lorraine region in northeastern France.
"Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. Aside from the traditional moulded pan, commonly found in stores specialising in kitchen equipment and even hardware stores, no special tools are required to make madeleines.
"A génoise cake batter is used. The flavour is similar to, but somewhat lighter than, sponge cake. Traditional recipes include very finely ground nuts, usually almonds. A variation uses lemon zest, for a pronounced lemony taste." Source: Wikipedia
I've never baked Madeleines before, and intrigued by the recipe, my mind started whirling with the possibilities. So much so that I got straight into the kitchen.
These gorgeous little light cakes were the result.
I decided to use lime and coconut to flavour them, and to finish off with a dipping of dark chocolate and a dusting of some more coconut. They were easy to whip up, and tasted sensational, going down as a hit with Mike and Sam especially. They are something that I can see myself making again and again.
Here's what I did.
Lime and Coconut Madeleines
Ingredients (makes approx 16)
2 large eggs
100g caster sugar
zest from 2 limes
70g plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
15g ground almonds
15g coconut flour *
70g unsalted butter, melted
60g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
a little extra coconut flour to sprinkle
* The coconut 'flour' I used came from an Asian supermarket and I bought it to go in curries - its a very fine powder, finer than dessicated coconut. See an example here.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the lime zest, and then sift the flour and baking powder into the mix. Gently fold in. Add the coconut flour and ground almonds, along with the melted butter and gently fold these in, too. Allow to stand for about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 160 Fan / 180 Conventional / 350 Farenheit / Gas 4.
Grease and flour the shells of a Madeleine tray.
Fill each shell about three quarters full. [Mine were, I think, a little overfilled on the first batch (see below), but they still came out great. The second batch, which I didn't fill so much, were better and had the authentic 'mound' in the top - see the link to Wikipedia for a photo of what this looks like.]
Bake for about 10- 12 minutes in the centre of the oven. The Madeleines should be moist and have a lovely golden colour, without being over baked.
Turn out onto a cooling rack.
To decorate them, I gently melted the dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once it had cooled a little, I dipped the Madeleines into the chocolate and arranged to dry on a baking tray, sprinkling over a little more coconut.
Eat and enjoy.