date and earl grey tea madeleines
I discovered madelines in a McCall's Cooking School magazine sometime in the late 70's. When I spied the classic delicate lemon scented biscuits in the shape of an elongated scallop... I said, "count me in!" Hunting down a proper "Made in France" madeleine pan took a lot of doing back then. Now these pans are easy to source and are handy to have at the ready, whenever you want something a little out of the ordinary... like a date madeleine, made with steeped Earl Grey tea.
Madeleines with dates.... and Earl Grey tea? Yes, that's what I said, and like you I mused, "Hmmm, what a peculiar but interesting sounding combination."
This recipe is "translated" from a British blog, The British Larder that has many scrumptious looking eats on it. I have adjusted the British measurements to North American standards, to make these madeleines on "the colony's" soil. These three bite beauties are reminiscent of date bread, but lighter with a beautiful spongy texture. There is a "Muscavado sugar dip", as a suggested accompaniment on the British Larder's website, but I really don't feel they need it. The dates make these plenty sweet and they partner perfectly with a strong cup of your favorite tea. In fact they would be perfect to serve as a salute to "The King's Speech" (one of my fave films of 2010) during the afternoon of the Academy Awards, coming up on February 27 (2011).
So go ahead and make up a batch of British influenced madeleines, then sip, relax, and cheer for "The King's Speech" and for Colin Firth, if you feel inclined. Who else could make stuttering look s-s-sexy!
- 1 cup of chopped dates
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 Earl Grey tea bag or 2 teaspoons of loose Earl Grey tea in a tea ball
- 1teaspoon of baking soda
- 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup of lightly packed golden brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup white unbleached flour
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- Demerara or raw granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease madeleine pans, dust with flour after greasing.
In a medium size mixing bowl pour the hot water over the dates, salt, Earl grey tea bag and add the baking soda.
Let the mixture infuse for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag (or tea ball) after 5 minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mix well after each egg.
Mix in the vanilla.
Add the date and tea mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mix well.
Sieve the flour and baking powder over the date mixture and fold the flour into the mixture. Work lightly as the air is essential for light madeleines.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared madeleine moulds, filling the hole about ¾ full.
Bake the madeleines for 16 - 18 minutes, or until deep golden brown but not getting too well done on the edges.
Remove from oven and while still in the pans, dust heavily with the Demerara or raw granulated sugar.
Gently lift them out of the pans and let them cool on a cooling rack.