“Madeleines are simple and that’s why I like them so much. They are small cakes, traditionally shaped like a seashell. Their inherent minimalism allows for the ingredients to shine through and they can be easily altered to feature whatever flour or fruits you would like to showcase (or use up, whatever the case may be).
I have been using flours from The Scottish Mill in Calgary, AB for my recent batches. They use grains from Alberta farms and can provide a variety of whole grain, stone milled flours.
You don’t have to use spelt in the batter. If you have other flours in your pantry like einkorn, emmer, buckwheat, oat, barley or red fife, feel free to substitute them in for the spelt.
Its also fun to pop a few berries on top of the batter before you put them in the oven. Saskatoon berries are a great (often local) berry to use. Once the batter is in the tray, lightly press four or five small berries on top. You can also use other berries commonly found around Alberta like blueberries, haskap berries, low bush cranberries. If you have blackberries or raspberries nearby, pop one right in the middle before baking.
You will need a Madeleine tray for the correct shape but if that proves difficult to find, a mini muffin tin will usually suffice as long as you aren’t to fussed about the shape.” – Sheena Howdle
200 g Butter
200 g Granulated or Cane sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
75 g Spelt Flour (preferably stone milled whole grain)
125g All Purpose flour
1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
For the best results, the butter and eggs should be at room temperature.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the vanilla to the eggs.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the creamed mixture slowly, incorporating each egg before adding another.
Sift the flours and baking powder into the wet mix and mix until just combined.
Spray each tray with non-stick canola oil spray. Use a heavy hand with the spray as these moulds have lots of small grooves. You can also smush butter in each mould, making sure that the moulds are evenly coated with butter, then refrigerate them for ten minutes before filling. This keeps the butter hard and makes the moulds easier to fill.
If you’re feeling fancy, put the batter into a piping bag and make a neat oval shape in each ‘shell,’ filling the moulds about half to two-thirds full. If you don’t have a piping bag lying around, you can also spoon the batter into the shells and pat it down with a lightly moistened fingertip.
Bake at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes (this depends on the type of oven you have and if you have added fruit). Remove the madeleines from the oven when the edges of the shells are starting to turn slightly brown, and the middle feels firm and bounces back when you poke it gently.
The above recipe will make around 30 madeleines. If you don’t need that many all in one go, you can refrigerate the batter for up to three days and bake them as you need them. Once baked, store in an airtight container as soon as they are cool, madeleines dry out on a day or so.
These pastries are beautiful on their own so don’t try to dress them up too much. Serve simply, dust them with some powdered sugar and pile them on a plate. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats a simple madeleine dipped in a hot coffee. Its completely wonderful and a great way to polish off any stragglers that are a few days old and might be just the tiniest bit stale.