Prue Leith’s Maple & Pecan Madeleines

These bite-sized sponge cakes, originating from France, have a signature hump and are baked in shell-shaped tins. Their success is based on whisking plenty of air into the genoise sponge batter to create volume, and then taking care not to deflate the mixture when folding in the flour and butter.

Makes: 18
Difficulty: Needs skill
Hands-On Time: 30 mins, plus 20 mins resting
Baking Time: 20 mins
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Step 1
Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5. Place the greased madeleine tin in the freezer.

Step 2
Place the pecans on a small baking tray and roast them for 5 minutes, until toasted. Leave to cool then set half aside for decoration and chop the remaining pecans very finely. (Leave the oven on.)

Step 3
Melt the butter in a pan over a high heat until just starting to brown. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heatproof jug. Add the maple extract, then leave to cool.

Step 4
Place the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and whisk on full speed for 4–5 minutes, until the mixture is thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.

Step 5
Sift the flour and baking powder together, then tip the mixture down the side of the bowl of whisked egg mixture. (This is better than sifting straight into the eggs, which could deflate the mixture.)

Step 6
Pour the cooled melted butter down the other side of the bowl in the same way, then fold in the flour and butter until you have a smooth, light batter. Gently fold in the chopped pecans until evenly distributed, then leave the batter to rest for 20 minutes.

Step 7
Remove the madeleine tin from the freezer. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter into each mould in the tin (you’ll use only half the batter). Bake the madeleines for 8–10 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown. Remove the madeleines immediately from the tin and place them on a wire rack, ridged side up, to cool.

Step 8
Wash the madeleine tin and grease it again with butter, then place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Repeat Step 7, using up the remaining batter.

Step 9
To decorate, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Step 10
Melt the white chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spoon the melted white chocolate into the piping bag fitted with the plain nozzle.

Step 11
Pour the dark chocolate into an espresso cup or ramekin, then dip the square end of each madeleine into the chocolate to coat one third of the sponge. Return each madeleine to the wire rack as you go.

Step 12
Pipe the white chocolate across the dark chocolate in 3 lines, then, using the cocktail stick, drag the lines first one way, then the other to make a feather pattern.

Step 13
Roughly chop the remaining 50g of toasted pecans and use them to sprinkle the square end of each madeleine. Refrigerate the madeleines for 5 minutes for the decoration to set before serving.