Ojai Pixie Madeleines
If we had to choose one sweet to pair with our afternoon tea and coffee for the rest of time, madeleines would be right at the top of the list. The tiny French sponge cakes are so light and fluffy, so rich and buttery, and so darn cheerful. Gah, those golden shells!
Of course, it’s Ojai Pixie season in SoCal, and so we couldn’t resist adding the tangerines to our madeleine recipe for a little spring whimsy. We zest the Pixies and half a lemon into the cake sugar, kneading the mixture with our fingers ‘til the citrus oils have infused the sugar — and the air is positively perfumey with it. And then, just to gild the lily, we use the Pixie’s exquisite juice to make a glaze for the madeleines.
In the test kitchen, we dunked our Ojai Pixie madeleines in cups of strong black tea, and they were lovely — bursting with sunshine. Literally: The glaze gives the cakes a pretty shine and an unmistakable tangy, sweetness that feels really special. The cake itself is light as a cloud, and we love how the Pixie zest tastes with all its butter and vanilla goodness. High tea, anyone?
Yield: 3 dozen madeleines
Ojai Pixie Madeleines
To make the madeleines: Warm the butter in a medium pot over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once melted, immediately remove the butter from the heat, and let cool to lukewarm.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, Ojai Pixie zest, and lemon zest. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is fragrant and light orange, about 1 minute.
Whisk the eggs, honey, and a pinch of salt into the sugar until thick and light in color, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk, then add ⅓ of the dry ingredients, using the whisk to gently fold them into the batter until just combined. Fold in the remaining dry ingredients.
Whisk the vanilla bean paste and ⅓ of the melted butter into the batter until incorporated. Add the remaining butter, whisking until all the butter is absorbed and no shiny streaks remain, about 1 minute.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Grease the madeleine pans with melted butter and dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
Transfer the madeleine batter to a large pastry bag, and cut a ½” opening at the tip. Pipe the batter into the pans, filling each well ⅔ of the way full.
Bake the madeleines for 7 to 8 minutes, until the centers are just set and the edges are golden brown.
Immediately unmold the madeleines, transfer them to a cooling rack, and let cool for 10 minutes.
If you have remaining madeleine batter, rinse and dry the pans and repeat steps 8 to 11.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the Ojai Pixie juice and confectioner’s sugar until no lumps remain.
Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of glaze on one side of the madeleines. Let the glaze set for 5 minutes, flip the madeleines, and brush the other side with the glaze. Let the glaze set for another 5 minutes, and enjoy! The madeleines can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted from: “French Patisserie” by Ferrandi