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easter 2010

Until recently I haven't been able to make "true" madeleines.

I've made lemon, lime flavoured ones and all kinds of citrus and glazed ones. They have always been scrumptiously addictive.

But sadly each batch was still lacking - as in they never quite looked their part!

With no madeleine scalloped pan, I resourcefully would make do by baking them in my "patty cake" moulds. Sure, they worked nicely, gained a signature "bump" and naturally no one complained as they nibbled on them one after the other.
However deep inside, I still longed for my madeleines to look like the real thing - real madeleines!

To celebrate the arrival of a proper madeleine pan, I've been experimenting with new flavours. While I adore citrus in all kinds of cakes, it's nice to have other options to shake things up now and then.

I thought Spiced Chai Madeleines sounded rather chic and suitable for our weather cooling off Downunder. You could use a pre-blended Chai mix or make up your own as I do. You can vary the spices to suit your palate.

You can also adapt the recipe to make either tea or coffee Spiced Chai Madeleines. I have found moistening the leaves or grounds a little first helps them infuse, as the fat in the butter can seal and trap the flavour from spreading through it.

I think they are best served warm straight out of the oven with a cuppa, but if you're feeling extra devilish I believe they would take on a whole new level of naughty dipped into some melted chocolate.

  • Chai Spice blend
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons of roughly broken up cinnamon bark
  • 1 "wing" from a star anise
  • 6 cardamon pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 peppercorns
  • ¼ of a nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  1. Place all the spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  2. Grind down to form a very fine powder, sifting out any larger pieces. Store in an airtight jar - recipe can be easily doubled and is intended as a guide from which you can vary according to taste. For a spicier Chai add a little dried chilli.

  • Chai Madeleines
  • 75 grams of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of loose English Breakfast tea leaves, or ground roasted coffee beans - moistened with a teeny bit of water
  • 2 medium sized free range eggs
  • 75 grams of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup / 100 grams of plain all-purpose white flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons of Chai spice blend *see above

  1. Place the butter and a tablespoon of either moistened tea leaves or ground coffee beans in a small saucepan.
  2. Melt them down to together and allow to infuse and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until they are thick, pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and Chai spice blend.
  5. Strain the cooled butter mixture and discard the leaves.
  6. With a flat spatula fold the sifted the dry ingredients into the fluffy egg mixture.
  7. Continue by folding through the strained infused butter.
  8. Be careful to only mix until just combined.
  9. At this stage you can refrigerate the mixture to help ensure the signature "bump".
  10. I prefer to transfer the mixture into a plastic piping bag first, as it takes up less room compared to the bowl, be sure to secure the end so there is no spillage.
  11. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours. (You can make the mixture ahead of time - it work keep fine for about 3 days)
  12. When ready to bake; grease the madeleine pan with plenty of butter and dust with sifted flour, be sure to cover every nook and cranny, so your madeleines don't stick.
  13. Place the pan in the freezer to chill for a couple of minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C (392°F)
  14. Pipe the chilled mixture into each madeleine mould ¾ or until almost full.
  15. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the size or until the madeleines are golden and spring back when you touch the centre.
  16. Serve right away or allow to cool and store in an airtight container.
  17. Makes 12 large madeleines and approximately 24 smaller ones.

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