Little shell-shaped Madeleine cakes are a tradition in France, usually made with finely ground almonds. Here Chef Daniel Galmiche shares his recipe for the oh-so delicate little cakes using pistachio nuts instead saying: “This makes for a perfect combination. You may also like to serve the madeleines with a simple vanilla ice cream or even a dessert pear. They go well with strawberries too. So many flavours seem to be made for madeleines – vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, hazelnut, orange, honey – but, for me, the one thing you certainly can’t beat is when they are served warm straight out of the oven.”
Served with a delicious chocolate sorbet – we bet you can’t wait to try them!
Serves: 4; Preparation time 30 minutes, plus overnight resting and making the beurre noisette; cooking time: 15 minutes
For the Pistachio Madeleines
Unsalted butter, for greasing
140g/5oz/heaped 1 cup plain flour
3⁄4 tsp baking powder
90g/31⁄4oz/heaped 1∕3 cup caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
25g/1oz light clear honey
145ml/43⁄4fl oz/scant 2∕3 cup warm Beurre Noisette
25g/1oz/scant 1⁄4 cup pistachio nuts, toasted and chopped
For the Chocolate Sorbet
125g/41⁄2oz/heaped 1⁄2 cup caster sugar
50g/13⁄4oz/scant 1⁄2 cup good-quality dark cocoa powder
125g/41⁄2oz dark chocolate, 60% cocoa solids, broken into small pieces
1. First, prepare the madeleines. Lightly grease a 12-hole madeleine tray. Sift the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl and leave to one side. Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, for about 10 minutes until the mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume.
2. Heat the milk and honey together in a small saucepan until just melted. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture, then pour in the milk and honey, stirring until combined. Add the warm beurre noisette (basically heated butter until it just turns brown). Mix slowly until fully incorporated, then fold in the pistachios. Spoon the mixture into the prepared madeleine tray, half-filling each hole. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge overnight.
3. To make the sorbet, pour 300ml/101⁄2fl oz/scant 11⁄4 cups of water into a small saucepan. Mix together the sugar and cocoa powder, then add to the water and bring to the boil, whisking continuously. It’s very important not to let the cocoa powder sink to the bottom of the pan and burn.
4. Put the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl. When the cocoa mixture has reached a boil, pour the hot liquid onto the chocolate pieces and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve into a 500ml/17fl oz/2 cup freezer proof container and freeze until hard.
5. When the sorbet is hard, cut the mixture into pieces and blitz in a food processor until smooth. Return to the freezer container and freeze for at least 3 hours until firm.
6. The next day, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Bake the madeleines for 5 minutes, then turn the tray around in the oven, front to back, even if you have a fan oven, and cook for a further 5 minutes until light golden and slightly firm to the touch. Insert a skewer into a madeleine and if it comes out clean, they are ready. If not, bake for a further 2 minutes and check again. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes until lukewarm before turning out and serving with the chocolate sorbet.
You can find this and lots of other fabulous recipes in Daniel Galmiche’s book Revolutionary French cooking.
Madeleine cakes in France – the little cake with a royal history