Madeleines seem to be popping up everywhere in my life – I have had them at morning teas, had them passed to me at picnics and more recently, a small parcel of them were given to me as an apology – from a waiter who split some wine down the front of my dress (a little odd but sweet nonetheless).
It is very hard to resist such a pretty thing too – these small, dainty cakes in the shape of a shell that are more often flavoured with lemon or occasionally orange-blossom water. Buttery and soft, with a lightly crisp exterior, they make the perfect small treat to have with your cup of tea or in my case to give a wine soaked patron at your restaurant.
After purchasing my first madeleine mould this morning I thought hard about what flavour I would like to make and savoury came to mind. I love the combination of brown butter and sage so that is what I went with.
These particular madeleines also have polenta and parmesan giving them a heartier texture but they still delicious, and perfect with a glass of champagne or chilled white wine.
30 grams of butter
16 sage leaves (4 large sage leaves for infusing and 12 small for decorating purposes)
⅓ cup instant polenta
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking soda, sifted
½ cup finely grated parmesan
sea salt and cracked black pepper
⅓ cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 180c/355f.
To brown the butter, melt it in a small saucepan over moderate heat until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the 4 sage leaves to the saucepan and fry until crisp, about another 1 minute. Discard the sage leaves and set the butter aside.
Combine the flour, polenta, bicarbonate of soda, parmesan, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the egg and buttermilk and finally the brown butter and stir gently until smooth. Try hard not to overmix the mixture otherwise your madeleines will have air bubbles (like mine).
Lightly grease 12 large madeleine moulds and place a sage leaf vertically in the base of each one. Spoon the polenta mixture on top of the sage leaves and bake for 8–10 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Turn out onto a wire rack- they are best eaten slightly warm but still great at room temperature.
Yield: 12 large Madeleines or 24 -30 small madeleines.
Notes: The brown butter is infused with sage and give the madeleines a delicate sage flavour, so if you prefer not to have the extra ‘bite’ of sage that the decorative leaf gives, then feel free to omit it.
© 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.