The classic buttery lightness of a madeleine is almost impossible to improve upon, so we haven’t tried to change the wheel. The black pepper boosts the delicate sweetness of the vanilla and the white chocolate enhances without overwhelming the final flavour.
- 2 medium eggs (room temperature)
- 110 g unsalted butter
- 95 g caster sugar
- 110 g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2-3 grinds freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste (or a few drops of extract)
- 150 g white chocolate
- 1 pinch salt
1Grease your madeleine tray with a scant amount of unsalted butter. Place the tray in the fridge while you prepare your batter.
2Melt your butter in the microwave, or on the hob using a double-boiler, and set aside to cool slightly while you measure your other ingredients.
3Using a stand mixer, hand mixer or even a whisk if you’re brave, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are very pale and have reached the “ribbon stage”. This will take around five minutes with an electric mixer. At the very end, add in the vanilla and pepper.
4Sift together your flour, baking powder and salt, before folding gently into the egg mixture. Use a metal spoon or rubber spatula, knocking as little air as possible out of the eggs. Stir until the flour is just incorporated.
5Add a couple of spoonfuls of the egg, sugar and flour mixture into your cooled, but still melted, butter, and stir until mostly-combined. This will make it easier to add the butter to the rest of your mixture and fold until the batter is smooth and silky.
6Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour, up to overnight.
7Once the batter is thoroughly chilled pre-heat your oven to 175C (170C fan). You should have enough batter for 18 standard-sized madeleines or 12 extremely generous ones. The batter will be very stiff, but do not be tempted to smush it about in the tin; it will self-level in the oven.
8Bake for 9-12 minutes, individual ovens will vary. As soon as the cakes are golden and springy to the touch they are ready to pull out of the oven.
9 Allow your cakes to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack, scalloped-side down. While they finish cooling you can melt your white chocolate. You can use a double-boiler on the hob or the microwave on low-power.
10Once your chocolate is melted you can choose to drizzle your madeleines for a fun, informal look, but I like to dip mine, like langues des chats.
11Set your chocolate-dipped madeleines hump-side-down on the cooling rack while the chocolate hardens. Once set, eat right away. If you really must keep them overnight, store them in an airtight container in the fridge and allow them to come back to room temperature before eating.