Updated: Nov 14, 2020
I love making madeleines so much and experimenting with flavours. These orange-blossom-scented madeleines with lemon and cardamom are EXQUISITE. I have a mini-Madeleine tin which was a gift from a gorgeous friend in NYC so the yield is huge, but each one is only one bite-worth so I don’t feel too bad after eating five. I’ve added ground almonds for extra substance too. I love them feathery-light with just honey or rose petals, but these flavours need to be carried by a more robust sponge and the ground almonds work perfectly. They’re still light as anything!
80g caster sugar
2 tsp honey
8 cardamom pods, crushed in pestle and mortar to open them, the husks removed and the seeds then ground finely, OR 1 tsp ground cardamom
zest of two unwaxed lemons (grated finely)
3 tsp orange blossom water (I use this one)
95g unsalted butter, melted
90g plain flour
100g ground almonds/almond flour/almond meal
½ tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 Tbsp milk
Extra melted butter for greasing
Beat the eggs and caster sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes, until it's very pale and thick - a bit like mayonnaise. An electric beater is best for this! Add the cardamom, lemon zest, honey and orange blossom water and beat well. Pour in the melted butter and mix well, but gently. Then, sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in to the same bowl, then add the ground almonds, and mix the the batter to combine, but not vigorously. A bit like a muffin batter. Lastly, stir in the milk to incorporate it in to the batter. Cover the bowl and refrigerated the mixture for an hour (or you could even leave overnight - I often just use half the batter after the first hour, then save the rest for the next day because they're so good baked fresh).
When you're ready to bake, remove the mix from the fridge to allow it to get back to room temperature a bit, and preheat the oven to 200°C (180° fan). Using some more melted butter, brush the tins generously to grease them (if you're not using non-stick tins, you may also need to add a little flour but shake off the excess. You don't want to ruin your perfectly-formed scalloped side!). For the mini tins, spoon in a very scant teaspoon of mixture for each madeleine. For the regular tins, a tablespoon. You don't want it to cover the whole area - it will spread in the oven beautifully. Bake the mini madeleines for about 7 minutes, and the regular-sized for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Leave them in their tin for a few minutes so you can get a clean pattern from the tin, then cool, pattern side-up on a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter. Best enjoyed fresh and dusted with icing sugar!
I often use rose petals and rose water for these, which also works beautifully with lemon, so you could substitute the orange blossom water and cardamom with rose water and dried rose petals, but fold the petals in with the milk at the end.