The last few weeks I've had the pleasure of my mother visiting. She has been an absolute angel helping me do my fall cleaning. Every day we put on some lovely music and busy ourselves about the house. We hum along at a good pace until 4 o'clock when the mantle clock chimes, calling to us like a siren's song. We drop whatever we may be doing and have tea. I find even the most dreary of chores can be finished with the lure of afternoon tea as a reward. But, what is tea without one of our favorite treats?
Madelines are lovely sponge cakes, its tender crumb is a beautiful little addition to tea. The curved, fluted shell shape, dusted with a hint of icing sugar, always have a subtle hint of delicate orange flowers.
While there are many wonderful recipes calling for lemon or orange zest, my family's preference has always been for the original French recipe dating from the mid 1700's. It does call for food grade orange flower water, which is available for purchase on-line or at your local Middle Eastern market. The recipe is quite simple and the orange flower water is, perhaps, the only ingredient not readily at hand.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
6 eggs, beaten
1 Tablespoon food grade orange flower water
1/4 cup icing sugar, for dusting
~ Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
~ Butter and lightly flour Madeleine molds.
~ Sift flower and baking powder together; set aside.
~ Cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
~ Add eggs to butter mixture; beat until well combined.
~ Add orange flower water.
~ Sift flour mixture into butter mixture; stir to combine
~ Spoon batter into prepared molds and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
~ Cool on a wire rack
~ Once cool, lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.