Raspberry and browned butter Madeleines

MadeleinesApr2017SquareYou know why I love Madeleines so much? Shh, don’t tell anyone but they are soo quick and easy and people often think mistakenly they require some sort of high-level patisserie savoir-faire. Mais non.

My utmost favourite to make is a butterscotch Madeleine, but these are lovely too. Nice to have some fresh fruit in them as well so you can convince yourself that cake, at least in this instance, is contributing to your ‘cinq par jour’.

No apologies for the smattering of pidgeon-French, it just tickled me…

  • Makes about 18 Madeleines
  • You could use small bun tin, but really you need a shell shaped tin or it’s just a ‘little cake’. Normally I wouldn’t care about this sort of thing and I understand about not being able to afford additional bakeware, but this is one instance where it sort of does matter. Still would be nice as small cakes, but a Madeleine? Non.
  • Small saucepan
  • Madeleine tray(s)
  • Electric whisk/stand mixer/balloon whisk
  • Large bowl and a smaller bowl
  • Flexible spatula
  • Tablespoon measure
  • Pastry brush
  • Unsalted butter – 100g
  • Plain flour – 120g
  • Eggs – 2 medium
  • Soft brown sugar – 35g
  • Icing sugar – 85g
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Raspberries – a handful/70g
  • extra butter and flour to prepare the moulds
Préparation de la recette
  1. Gently heat the butter in a small sauce pan until it starts to froth and goes a nice toasty brown colour
  2. Leave the butter aside to cool a little
  3. Prepare the Madeleine moulds/tin – melt a little extra butter and paint this on the shell cavities. Then sprinkle over a little extra flour and tap the extra off
  4. Turn the oven on to 190 C fan / 200 conventional
  5. In a small bowl, smoosch up the raspberries a little with a fork – you don’t want to completely obliterate them, what you’re aiming for is a few whole, some in pieces and some crushed so the juice is oozing. This gives the Madeleines a variety of fruit textures and a few streaks of raspberry juice
  6. Whip up the eggs with the icing sugar in the large bowl for about 4 minutes until fluffed up and pale
  7. Whip in the soft brown sugar
  8. Fold in the plain flour, trying not to collapse the mix much (it will deflate a little but the only leavening agent in the recipe is eggs, so you’re relying on the lift you created from whipping eggs and sugar)
  9. Fold in the butter – it will seem a lot at first but it will fold in smoothly
  10. Fold in the smooshed raspberries
  11. Using the tablespoon measure, fill each shell cavity with the mix – it should be about 75% full
  12. When they’re all filled, place in the oven for 10 minutes
  13. Test doneness by pressing one Madeleine lightly with the tip of a finger – if it springs back then they are ready. If it leaves a little indentation, then pop in for a minute longer


Bon appetit!



Rhubarb and raspberry friands with lime buttercream

FriandsEasterOooh, the first of the forced rhubarb – what a joy to be able to cook with this gorgeous vegetable. We’re all rather spoilt in being able to get year-round fruits, but I do still think it’s a real seasonal treat when rhubarb starts appearing to buy. My own rhubarb is starting to sprout in its container in my garden too – so, all in all, the appearance of rhubarb is a real herald of spring for me.

My husband has a habit of nicking rhubarb and eating it raw, dipped in a bit of sugar. He’s the only person I know who does this and I have to hide the stalks from him if I want to use all that I have. I cooked up more rhubarb than I needed for this recipe and have saved the rest to add to ice creams, on porridge/granola etc, so you can just pinch the part of the recipe for that.

Tea Time TreatsI decided to link this recipe to the lastest (March 2016) Tea Time Treats linky party hosted by The Hedgecombers and Lavender and Lovage. I’ve occasionally joined in before with enjoyable link-up – but it’s been a long while. Maybe this’ll remind in future to join in more 🙂


Makes about 10 friands

If you don’t have friand moulds, you can make these in muffin cases


  • Large bowl
  • Wide base saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Baking tray, lined with baking parchment
  • Piping bag and star nozzle (for meringues)
  • Piping bag and slanted petal nozzle or rose nozzle (for buttercream roses)
  • Friand moulds or muffin cases and bun tin
  • Wire cooling rack

Ingredients – meringue kisses

  • Eggs – 3, whites only
  • Caster sugar – 175g
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Pink/red food colouring
  • A selection of sprinkles

Ingredients – rhubarb

  • Rhubarb stalks, trimmed into 3cm pieces (about 240g in total)
  • Pomegranate or cherry juice – 50ml

Ingredients – friands

  • Eggs, medium – 3
  • Ground almonds – 40g
  • Plain flour – 100g
  • Caster sugar – 140g
  • Unsalted butter, softened (but not runny) – 140g
  • Baking powder – 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Vanilla extract – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Flaked almonds – a handful (about 40g)
  • Fresh raspberries – a handful (about 60g)
  • (Cooked rhubarb – from this recipe)

Ingredients – buttercream

  • Unsalted butter – 100g
  • Icing sugar – about 200g (you will need to adjust this according to the moisture level of your butter and how much milk and lime juice you add – you may need a little more or a little less)
  • Milk – a little just to loosen the buttercream; this will be 20- 30ml or thereabouts
  • Lime juice – to taste but roughly 1 teaspoon
  • Yellow/primrose food colouring

Ingredients – additional decorations

  • Mini meringue kisses – from this recipe
  • Lemon balm leaves
  • Mini eggs

Method – meringue kisses (prepare in advance)

  1. Heat the oven to 90C fan/100C conventional
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking parchment (or two smaller trays)
  3. Separate the whites of three eggs (reserve the yolks for custard etc)
  4. Whisk to firm peaks
  5. Whisk in the caster sugar in batches (don’t tip it all in at once)
  6. Add in the vanilla extract and food colouring and whisk until combined evenly
  7. Using a piping bag with a star nozzle, pipe small meringues (each about 2cm in diameter) across the baking sheet
  8. Gently cover the tiny meringues with the sprinkles
  9. Bake for 50 minutes
  10. Take out and leave to cool
  11. These will store in an airtight container for a good few weeks

Method – preparing the rhubarb

  1. Using a large base saucepan (it needs to be large so that the rhubarb cooks evenly), place the rhubarb in the bottom and cover with the fruit juice
  2. Simmer over a low heat for about 6-7 minutes until the rhubarb begins to soften on the outside
  3. Remove from the heat and set aside

Method – buttercream

  1. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and add a little milk to ensure a smooth consistency
  2. Mix in the lime juice to taste and the food colouring (you’re aiming for a nice primrose colour)
  3. Leave to one side, covered until the cakes are cooled

Method – cakes

  1. Turn the oven on to 180C fan / 200 conventional
  2. Grease and flour the friand moulds or place the muffin cases in the bun tin, ready for use
  3. Sprinkle the flaked almonds into the bottom of each friand. If you are using muffin cases, reserve these for the top of the sponge (see later note)
  4. Mix the sponge as an all-in-one method: that is, put the eggs, sugar, flour, ground almonds, butter, vanilla extract and baking powder in a bowl and mix until smooth
  5. Chop up about 100g/ half a cupful of the cooked rhubarb into 1cm pieces and add to the sponge mix
  6. Add in the fresh raspberries, crushing them slightly between your fingers so that they spread out and bleed a little into the sponge mix
  7. Gently swirl the rhubarb and raspberries into the mix, making sure you have an even spread but don’t over mix. You want to still have discernible blobs of fruit
  8. Spoon the mix into the moulds/cases
  9. If you are using muffin cases sprinkle the flaked almonds on the top of the sponge mix on every cake
  10. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until they are light brown and spring back when pressed
  11. Leave to cool a little in the moulds and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool thoroughly. If you are baking in muffin cases, move the cases to the wire rack to cool

Method – decorating

  1. Fill a piping bag fitted with a slanted petal nozzle or  a standard rose nozzle with the buttercream
  2. Pipe a rose on to the top of each cake
  3. Use a little of the buttercream to fix the meringue kisses and mini eggs to the top of the cakes
  4. Take one or two lemon balm leaves and push their stem into the base of the piped roses


hedgerow curd

Hedgerow fruits curd

hedgerow curd

Another fruit curd recipe – sorry: I really love these types of preserves as they’re so versatile. Use them as fruit tart fillings, on bread, swirled into swhipped cream, add them as the flavouring to homemade ice creams, use them as a hidden filling in cupcakes. Curds are very useful, quicker to make than you’d realised and will last in the fridge.


You don’t need a thermometer to make a curd, as you can just keep going until it thickens (curds are a very ancient dessert and they definitely didn’t have sugar thermometers hundreds of years ago). However, if you have one, the curd will thicken at around 82-85C.

  • A glass bowl and saucepan or double boiler/bain marie
  • Balloon whisk
  • Various bowls
  • Knives, spoons, wooden spoons
  • A fairly open sieve (ie not a fine one)
  • A blender or hand blender
  • A sugar thermometer (easier but not strictly necessary)
  • Glass jars with lids – you’ll need about 3 typical-sized jam jars (around 300 – 325ml each)*

*to sterilize the jars, either pop them in a hot oven for 10 mins or stick them through a hot wash on your dishwasher. Lids can’t go in the oven, so hand wash these then give them a quick rinse with some water from a just-boiled kettle.

  • Mix of hedgerow fruits in season – I had blackberries, raspberries, blackcurrants – 200g
  • Unsalted butter – 100g
  • Sugar – 50g
  • Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
  • Eggs, medium – 3 whole eggs, 2 egg yolks
  1. Pop all the fruit in a saucepan with the sugar and enough water to cover the bottom of the pan to a few millimetres
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until the fruit is soft
  3. Pass the fruit through a sieve to catch the pips
  4. In a clean saucepan whisk the eggs, lemon juice briefly and then add the butter
  5. Gently heat until the butter is melted
  6. Add the fruit and increase the heat
  7. Using a balloon whisk keep whisking until it all thickens nicely (if you have a thermometer you can check the temp is no more than about 55C at the time the eggs are added)
  8. Pour into your pre-sterilised jars
  9. Keep in the fridge