Friday, June 6, 2014

Madeleines with lemon curd

noun: madeleine; plural noun: madeleines
  1. a small delicious cakes of French goodness and light..

So, I am recently back from a trip. While in Paris, I bought a madeleine tray as a souvenir. (Doesn’t everyone buy cooking toys as souvenirs? No? Why ever not?)

This has lead to a spate of madeleine recipe making. Number one: random recipe from online (okay, not perfect). Two: recipe from a French cookbook I already own (dreadful, so much so I am certain there is an error in the recipe). Then I remember to check if Heston has a recipe for madeleines.

I decided to make this with the lemon curd, rather than the chocolate sauce. I may try the chocolate version at a later point.


Lemon curd:

  1. Prep lemon zest and juice
  2. Melt everything together
  3. Heat to 70 degrees
  4. Cool and sieve

  1. Grind the ground almonds
  2. Prep the tin(s)
  3. Prep the brown nut butter
  4. Mix the dry stuff.
  5. Whisk the egg whites, mix into the dry stuff
  6.  Add the honey, then add the butter
  7. Rest (for a really long time)
  8. Bake

Lemon curd

I like lemon curd. It’s delicious and good for lots of things. And, it turns out, very easy to make. 

Gather your ingredients. 

Peel off some lemon zest. Juice your lemons. Heston recommends rolling them on the bench to soften them for juicing. I have an alternate version – cut them in half and microwave for 20 seconds or so. It warms them up a bit, but you get a lot more juice out of them. 

Prep your eggs.

Whisk them.

Heat up a lot of butter with the juice, eggs and lemon zest scrolls.

Keep stirring until the sugar is melted and whisk until  it gets to 70 degree.  (This happened surprisingly quickly once the sugar was melted – almost immediately for me.)

Sieve out the zest and any lumps and done!

The flavour was good, not too sweet, not too tart. It was nicely unctuous too. Pop it in the fridge while you go to make the madeleines. Or do what I did, read the madeleine recipe all the way through, realise it is too late to make them now and resolve to make them the next night. Or.. on the weekend, when you feel up to it. Whatever works for you.


Gather your ingredients. (You might note I'm a fan of doing this before starting, as it prevents getting half way through a recipe and then realising you are out of flour/butter/ground madeupicone and need to go out to the all-nigh-very-expensive-supermarket or give up. No prizes for guessing how I gained this wisdom.)

Despite the fact that almonds come ground, you need to grind them anyway.

This makes them rather more wet, as the oils are released. It also obviously makes them a finer grind.

Make your nut brown butter.

Heston cooks may well have done this before, thus know the tricks – warm it while whisking until the butter solids make the butter turn brown, smell toasty good and foam slightly.

Strain the butter through a disposable coffee filter to get the lovely butter, and not the gritty solids left behind.

Prep your moulds. I only have an 8 madeleine mould, so used an extra muffin tin for the extra mix I was expecting.

Put the dry stuff – flour, almonds, icing sugar ...

in the mixer and whisk it up.

Put all that in a different bowl so you can whisk the eggs slightly. This was kind of a waste – given the instruction is to whisk until “just combined” next time I’d whisk them manually in a bowl, then add them to the dry ingredients, since this is what you’re going to do anyway.

Mix the eggs into the dry stuff. Yup, looks like batter.

Heston notes a trick for measuring honey  - you oil the spoon very slightly with a neutral tasting oil – I used grape seed.

This worked very well!

Add the brown butter, whisk. You now have runnier batter.

Pour it into the moulds. This makes a lot more than you’d think. I had to use two extra tray muffin trays. Maybe Heston has giant madeleine trays, but mine are standard size.

You think you can now bake them. Nope! You can’t bake them yet. These now need to be refrigerated for three hours. This seems excessive. (And felt a bit pointless. Perhaps it is resting the gluten from the almonds, I don’t know but… it is a long time, thereby preventing any chance of whipping these up for company dropping in).

Bake them until golden brown.

Following the instructions exactly, “turn the madeleines over on to a cooling rack”. Become alarmed at what a mess this creates as several break, crumble and otherwise make a mess. (The muffin tin ones were even worse).

Pick the most aesthetically pleasing one to serve artistically with a dollop of lemon curd and a cup of tea or coffee. Sit down to wonder why on earth they took so long,  while enjoying your madeleine and lemon curd.

Lessons learned

  • Whisk the egg white in its own bowl to prevent unnecessary bowl switching and cleaning
  • Make a half batch, or buy a second madeleines tray
  • Turn them out very carefully and gently. (i.e. make sure you put the rack down on the tray and then flip the two over gently).

Guest opinions

 Smaller person is not difficult to please, though she did note they were not as good as the ones from Paris. (That would be the ones from Benoit, the Michelin starred restaurant. Ahem.)

Husband was non plussed. Nice, but he’d rather have the chocolate chip biscuits please.

I thought… Nice, but nothing special really. And, in my opinion, these were friands masquerading as madeleines. Tasty, but not actually madeleines. And, with the excessively long wait time, a bit of a pain to make, and not great enough to make them worth the hassle.


While not a bad dish, and tasty enough, I wouldn’t bother making them again.

The lemon curd on the other hand was easy and tasty and will probably be made again.

Next attempt: Nigella Lawson’s rosebud madeleines from How to be a domestic goddess.  And something Heston. I want to try that 18 hour pork belly, preferably before winter is over.


  1. These look great, and I hugely envy your fine Parisian Madeleine Pan.

    There seem to be two running themes with Heston's home recipe: 1. Massive waiting times between steps (for brining, slow cooking or this recipe's batter resting) 2. Far more recipe than can be eaten - that Heston Fish Pie we made recently left us with over 1.5 litres of unused fish stock!

    Your lemon curd looks a lot more successful than mine.

    P.S. The pork belly is another project dish, but well worth it. And as far as winter recipes go I really recommend the Cauliflower and Chocolate Risotto. Full recipe here: - you can cheat with decent store-bought stock and just simmer frozen cauliflower florets. For a simple weeknight recipe no-one will know!

    Can't wait to read the report of whatever you pick next! :)

  2. I made the curd today, big success even with the kids interrupting and it nearly simmering early! - Nic