Perfect Christmas Baking for Gifts
Tea Time Table!
I always associate cardamom with Scandinavian baking as well as Christmas……so today’s recipe comes just in time for the festive period, and these delightfully aromatic Cardamom, Honey and Lemon Madeleines would be perfect for the Christmas tea time table, OR as a gift for family or foodie friends. Furthermore, the added addition of lemon and honey adds to the flavour and makes these cakes very special and more than a little decadent. These are one of my favourite French cakes; baked in special fluted trays and sprinkled lightly with icing sugar, they’re so elegant, light and airy. Some are flavoured with vanilla extract only, whilst other recipes suggest using ground almonds, lemon or orange, but I am very pleased with my combination of vanilla extract, honey, cardamom and lemon zest.
As you can see from the photos, I used my much-loved vintage madeleine moulds, but there are some very handy silicone and non-stick moulds on the market, that would be just as good, although I must admit to being a fan of cooking in metal, as it gives a lovely finish and texture and conducts the heat better than silicone. I HAVE made madeleines at home before, they are not that technically difficult and the result is as good if not better than ones you will find in Tea Rooms, and certainly light years ahead of those awful sugary commercial ones that come in “iffy” plastic boxes……I mean how can a “real” cake have a shelf life of one year? And, It isn’t just me who is a big fan of these little French morsels, Marcel Proust was also taken with them, so much so that he mentions them in his autobiographical book, “Á la recherche du temps perdu” – “Remembrance of Things Past”.
So, if you have some spare time today or tomorrow, and the oven is on and there’s some fresh coffee on the go, or a big pot of tea at your disposal, then why not whip up a batch of these Cardamom, Honey and Lemon Madeleines, they keep for up to 3 days in an airtight tin, and they also make great gifts as I mentioned before – just pop them in a cellophane bag tied with some suitably festive ribbon, and add them to any home-made gift hampers for family or friends you may be planning – they also make fabulous “hostess” gifts for any parties you may be attending over the few days. They don’t freeze particularly well, but then they don’t last that long in my experience, and I usually end up making a double batch! The recipe is shared below, and do pop back over the next few days when I’ll be sharing more recipes that may help you out of the cooking hole this Christmas and New Year! Karen