Time for tea


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Some days the urge to bake is overwhelming. A few spare hours while pottering round the house doing the usual bits of cleaning, sorting and washing can always be made more enjoyable with a quick stop to bake a cake. The smell that wafts through the house is so heavenly and so warming. And it gets even better when the cake comes out of the oven and you cut a great big warm wedge.  

Madeleines are a dainty alternative and the most light, exquisite cakes imaginable. They are also incredibly beautiful to look at. And this recipe is perfumed, light and super easy. They cook in a little over five minutes, too, which makes them perfect for unannounced guests or an impromptu dinner party.


To make these extra special serve with a scattering of dried rose petals and icing sugar, or some Greek yoghurt on the side.


Pistachio and cardamom madeleines


Madeleine tins are available at all good cook shops. If you don’t have one you can always use a mini-muffin tin.


Ingredients (makes 12)


1 large egg

40g caster sugar

30g ground pistachios

1 lemon

1 cardamom pod

20g icing sugar

50g plain flour

75g butter

A little extra butter for greasing




Mix egg and caster sugar until pale and light. Sieve in plain flour and add ground pistachios and icing sugar and fold together. Add zest and juice of half the lemon.


Remove black seeds from cardamom pod and grind seeds to a powder and add to the mixture.


Butter madeleine tin and place roughly a tablespoon into each hole. Pop tray in the fridge to let butter firm up a bit. Don’t smooth them out – they will do this on their own in the oven.


Pre-heat oven to 200 C. Cook madeleines for five to ten minutes, depending on oven. They are done when risen and cracked slightly in the middle while golden brown at the edges.


Remove from oven and leave for a few minutes before placing on a rack to cool.



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