Happy Valentine's Day you lovely lot! Staying true to my word, here is your second recipe for the week. Blood oranges are perfectly in season at the moment, a crimson citrus fruit with more tang than a regular orange but not as bitter as its relatives grapefruit or lemon. Although they can be tricky to find in supermarkets, they can usually be found very cheaply at your local fruit market or greengrocer, so get exploring! You could always make these with another citrus and they'd work equally well.
I've decided to use them in this beautifully simple french invention: the madeleine. Beautiful little individual sponge cakes baked in a shell mould, best eaten straight out of the oven once the syrup has been brushed on. Although this isn't a traditional recipe for them, I've taken inspiration from the wonderful "Sweet" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh who devised a modified version which keeps better than the traditional approach.
I bought a madeleine tray especially (under a tenner online) but you could equally easily use a cupcake mould or other shallow tin to get the same effect. Just keep an eye on them and adjust the cooking times.
Let me know how you get on and feel free to get creative with the flavour additions! Stay tuned later in the week for the final installment...As always, keep in touch on twitter, instagram and facebook @cakesmyth x
Ingredients - makes around 20 madeleines
For the sponges
90g unsalted butter, plus a little extra for brushing the moulds
2 tsp blood orange juice
2 large eggs
75g caster sugar
Finely grated zest 1 blood orange
90g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
For the syrup
50ml blood orange juice (between 1-2 oranges)
15g caster sugar
A madeleine tray (this is the one I bought for £7.30) or similar shallow tray, small food processor if you have one
In a small saucepan, add the butter and 2 tsp blood orange and melt over a low heat until smooth. Leave to one side to cool down until it is tepid.
Into the food processor, add the eggs, caster sugar and zest and blitz until smooth and turns lighter in colour. This is where you're adding some air into the mix.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and blitz a few times to combine. Pour in the cooled butter mix and pulse until smooth - make sure to scrape down the sides to catch any rogue splashes of butter or flour. Pour into a small bowl, cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for an hour to rest.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 C fan / 200 C (390 F) / Gas Mark 6. If using a metal madeleine tray, like me, then brush the tray with a little extra melted butter then sprinkle with flour. Tap to ensure even coverage then knock out the excess. This step should help your madeleine pop straight out of the mould after baking.
Use a small dessert spoon to dollop the chilled batter into the moulds; don't fill them more than two-thirds full or else you might get a muffin top, they will rise a surprising amount! I cooked mine in two batches as I only have one tray, so keep the remaining batter cool while the first batch is cooking. Clean out the moulds and re-brush with butter and dust with flour again before the second batch.
Bake for 10 minutes until they are beginning to brown around the edges and are springy to the touch. Leave in the tin for a minute before using a teaspoon to help pop them out of the moulds and onto a wire rack.
For the syrup, heat the juice and sugar over a medium heat until the sugar is totally dissolved, then simmer for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whilst the sponges are still warm, brush the shell side of them with the syrup. I often go for a double coat if I have leftover syrup. Enjoy your petite sponges whilst they're still warm for the authentic Parisienne look ;)