Every time I take a bite of these lovely little cakes, this Ludwig Bemelmans quote plays in my head, and the fact that this is an obvious and predictable connection doesn't make it any less true. Of the many perks (trust me there's quite a few) that come with being a parent, introducing my daughter to childhood favourites/classics is one of my favourite of them all.
A little insight for you; Giselle (my daughter) has very random moments where she will rehash a memory of an event, a particular moment or a particular food she’s experienced. She loves to wistfully reminisce, which is almost always followed by a request to do it again; we must go there again, we must make it AGAIN and this particular instance, the memory of eating these Madeleines was her "must have". A few additional facts about my girl; she's a very good negotiator and she seals her deals with a pinky promise accompanied by a nod of the head and a polite reminder that “pinky promises can never be broken”. Last week, she came home from school and I sensed she was feeling very much in the mood for cake, on account of her less than subtle hints about cake; “Aaahhh, I feel really cakey today”, “I don’t know mom, my tummy just wants cake”, “mommy can i have some cake please?” unfortunately for her, I had none, but I promised we’d make something "cakey" soon, “Today? can we make the ones with the orangey taste?” she asked. She meant madeleines, of course, …….I felt bad that I had to deliver the “soon” response. I delivered the "soon" response because a set date and time is a sure way to trigger the walking, talking notification system that seems to have come preinstalled at birth, I'd be reminded every hour, on the hour, of how much time remains before I had to make her "orangey" cake, she will do the math and she will set a reminder plus an alarm on her iPad to make extra certain that mommy absolutely does not forget that she promised to bake cakes for this day.
So this past Saturday, with a contract that was signed in the form of a pinky finger promise laying not-so-heavily on my shoulders, I set about peeling a few organic unwaxed oranges and roasting their rinds in preparation. I whipped up the batter on Sunday and left it over-night in the fridge, after dinner on Monday, we had ourselves madeleines hot out the oven for dessert, she scoffed 5, back to back, on her 6th it was clear she had sufficiently satisfied her cravings.
I had initially intended to kill two birds with 1 stone by making and photographing these with her, however, when the time came, I really wasn't in the mood for the stop and go process that's required when doing food photography. In the end, since this mixture is enough to get you two batches of 12 and 1 batch of 8 (32 total) I made a batch on Monday and the following day, I made the rest and quickly did this shoot.
Roasted orange rind -
5 Organic unwaxed oranges
Preheat your oven to 140C.
Wash and peel oranges with a sharp knife or a potato peeler. Place on a baking sheet and into the oven. There is no exact time for this method, it's all a matter of checking for doneness.
Set your timer for 10 minutes, once the time passes, check the rinds, if they are still soft and pliable, allow to bake for another 3 minutes, check again and if still pliable, keep checking at going at 3 minute intervals until they are stiff and can be snapped easily, be patient and do not increase the temperature of your oven as this may result in your rinds being burnt.
Once rinds reach the point of snapping, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet, if you listen carefully, you will hear them snap crackle and pop as they cool and crisp.
After roasted rinds have come to room temperate, transfer to a pestle and mortar or a spice/coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Sift your powder, discarding large pieces left over in sieve and store in an airtight jar.
Roasted orange rind madeleines -
3 free range eggs
130 grams sugar
100 grams plain flour
100 grams ground almond
10 grams baking powder
2 tablespoons ground roasted orange or lemon rind
200 grams melted butter
20 grams honey
Vanilla beans scraped from 1 pod
pinch of salt (optional, but i find it brings out the richness of the cakes more)
icing sugar for dusting
In a medium to large mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla beans, salt (if using) and sugar until fluffy and pale.
In a separate bowl, sift together the plain flour, ground almonds, baking powder and roasted orange powder
add the honey to the cooled butter, mixing to combine then add to the egg and sugar mixture.
Fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture in two parts.
Cover and allow to rest in the fridge for a few hours or over-night.
bake at 180C for 5 minutes, turn oven off for 1 minute, turn the oven back on to 160C and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from moulds and transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool (if you can manage to restrain yourself)