I have one more bit of festive baking to share with you. And like last year’s alternative chocolate Christmas pudding recipe for currant-dodgers, this one’s a great swap for mince pies.
They’re light and buttery (a dangerous combination where you suddenly find you’ve eaten twelve), with crisp edges and a moist, spongy middle with a hint of fragrant orange. Dipping them in orange-flavoured chocolate will turn them into your own fancy Jaffa cake.
It is some sort of baking alchemy that allows a small amount of basic raw ingredients to transform into a plate of pretty cakes in less than an hour. If I’m expecting company, I double up the quantity and keep half the batter in the fridge while the first batch cooks.
The extra chilling helps get that little bump on top of the Madeleines – which is how they should be – though I can confirm the bump-less ones are just as delicious when eaten warm from the oven.
Makes 10-12 Madeleines
1 large egg
45g melted butter
55g plain flour
50g caster sugar
½ tsp baking powder
Zest and juice of an orange or clementine
100g of orange-flavoured dark chocolate
1 Preheat the oven to 180C
2 Grease a Madeleine tin with butter
3 Whisk the egg and sugar together until they become thick and custardy
4 Stir in the melted butter, a good pinch of orange zest and 1 tbsp of orange juice
5 Add the baking powder to the flour and sift three times (no, really – it needs to be fine)
6 Add the flour to the egg mix and fold in gently with a metal spoon
7 Put a small dessert spoon of mixture into each Madeleine mould
8 Bake at 180C for 9-10 minutes
9 Allow to cool in the mould for a minute then transfer to a rack to cool completely
10 Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
11 Dip the base of each sponge in chocolate and leave it to set
12 Eat as soon as possible.
Madeleine baking tips
DO sift the flour three times.
DON’T overfill the moulds (they should only be about half full).
DO eat them as soon as possible.