I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

August 27, 2011

My Darling Madeleine

It was one of those days...

I have been wanting to whip up some little Madeleines for ages. They're such sweet little cakes, perfect for tea drinking and dunking, and perfect for MiddleC who's a total French Freak too.

There seems to be a lot of controversy on what makes up a traditional madeleine, as I found out upon consulting my good friend Google. Brown butter, orange blossom water, almond meal, baking powder, resting, chilling, the 'hump' or not.... the true nature of these little delights was hard to find. Heston had a nice sounding recipe that he said he wooed his wife with, but as that 20yr marriage collapsed recently, that was certainly no recommendation either.

Giving my research up as a bad job, I decided to make my own little dainties in the spirit of culinary law, if not the letter. I decided to flavour mine with Tea and Honey instead. Instead of my beloved Dilmah Earl Grey, I decided to try Madame Flavour's Grey De Luxe instead. Billed as 'classic with a touch of lemon myrtle and lavender' it was certainly worth a cup or two, and sounded like a lovely addition to my batter.

Attempt Number One:
I happily reviewed my collection of recipes, and cobbled together a creation of my own that seemed to have all the same ratios to fit the bill, but with my gluten free and flavour profiles filled. I browned my butter, made my batter, the eggs were slightly flat, but pressed on. I decided not to rest the batter, as the only reason I could find for doing so was to relax the gluten- and that wasn't a problem for me now was it? I filled my pans, the batter was a little thin looking, but we'll see... and baked away.

This was the result:

Ok, these things happen, and I was trialling a new recipe, so I added more flour next time, and reduced the baking time by a fair bit and waited


Third time lucky, right? I played around this time with the ratios. Less butter, more eggs, sugar and flour. All went well until-

My eggs just wouldn't whip enough. The beaters and bowl were perfectly clean, the eggs were room temperature- i leave them out overnight, the weather was perfect- no humidity to speak of.... but no fluffing, no ribbons... Arrrgh... I wasn't wasting any more ingredients on the little buggers, even though I buy them in bulk, this was becoming an expensive process. I beat the eggs for as long as possible without exploding my Kenwood, then continued.

I made quite a few changes to the method this time.
I added a bit of baking powder, just to help out those stubborn eggs,the butter mixture was cooled in the fridge, then thinned out by mixing in some of the eggmix before folding through, and the batter was rested at room temperature for an hour.
OK, I whacked the pans in the oven in a kind of calm despair. If these didn't work, at least I had an interesting story to blog, and waited.

I set my alarm and went into the other room. I wasn't going to sit by the oven door and let the batter know how anxious I was. Confidence is one of the most important ingredients in baking, and I wasn't going to let this one rattle me!
Riiiiiiiiiiiiinggggggggggg........ I raced-I mean walked sedately to the kitchen and opened the door... Yes! There they were, golden beauties with a perfect rise and springing back when lightly pushed in the middle. I pulled them out, let them rest for a couple of minutes, then turned them onto the cooling rack. Risking a burnt tongue I couldn't resist ripping one apart to taste and to check for texture. Oh, I was happy. At last.

75 gm Butter
200 gr GF Flour
6 small Eggs (but I'm sure you could use 4 if they fluff properly)
1 cup Castor Sugar
4 Tab. Honey
3 Teabags

Place the butter in a pan and cook it gently until it changes colour to light brown- but be careful not to burn it. Add in the tea part of the teabags, and the honey, and let it infuse for 20 mins or so as it cools down. Strain it through a fine strainer to remove the solids. Pop it in the fridge to get cold, but don't let it go solid.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until they're nice and thick and fluffy. They should pretty much triple their volume, and leave a thick ribbon if you drizzle some of the mix over the batter.

Take a good spoonful of the egg mix and stir it through the buttery mixture to lighten and thin it out. You want to be able to stir it through the batter evenly and gently, not have to beat it through roughly and ruin all the tiny bubbles.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the eggmix, and together with the butter mix, fold through gently until it's nicely combined. Make sure the butter mix doesn't sink to the bottom of the bowl and hide.

Leave the batter to stand for at least an hour.

Put good teaspoons of batter into greased Madeleine pans, and pop them into a 180* oven for about 7 minutes. Now the time may vary slightly- every oven is a bit different, but the cakes should be puffed and golden, and if you poke them gently they should be slightly resilient.

Pull them out. Let them rest a minute or two, then put them on a cooling rack to cool a little.

Madeleines should be served fresh and still a little warm from the oven, a bit like doughnuts. They still taste good colder and older, but it's not the same as brand new and wafting warm breath straight from the oven to you.

Sprinkle them lightly with icing sugar and enjoy with a well earned cup of tea. Of course you will use the tea you created them with, and if it's not as sublime as Dilmah, it's a pretty close second. Dunk the dainties in, and relax.... breathe in the scents of honey, bergamont, and other tea tasting goodness, and nibble and sip until sated.

Who needs yoga when you have a good cup of tea? What do you think Dear Readers?


  1. I like your staying power! 3rd time lucky alright :-)

  2. Yay, they worked in the end! I've never tried a madeleine, so I've never even thought of making them. They look amazing though!

  3. They look good and usually so easy.

  4. These look beautiful and they look like those French cookies that Guilamme Brahimi was baking with lots of butter on TV a few nights ago!

  5. oooh delish! I actually dont think I have ever eaten a madeleine!

  6. They look lovely, and the flavour sounds great! I made some delicious lavender and honey ones a while back.. They're the perfect little vehicle for flavour experimentation :)

  7. Good for you! They look elegant and dainty, all the things I'm not, and I'm sure they taste absolutely delicious.. :)

  8. Recipe development really sucks sometimes! Jealous of your madeleine pan, been wanting one for ages. They finally turned out so prettily! Nice work :)

  9. I was just tweeting tonight that I think a cup of tea and a biscuit could fix just about anything! :P

  10. yaya congrats...i find baking really challenging..

    now i know what those little pans are for. I've never had madeleine before.. are they like mini cupcakies? or tea cakes?

  11. I salute your determination to madeleine perfection.

  12. Your determination has paid off!!! I am anxious to give these a try as soon as I get the Madeleine pan I have been wanting!!

  13. Hello Dear Readers, the first day of Spring is here, and it's lovely and warm with the promise of more to come! Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons and I just can't pick between them.

    Emma- Thanks, Staying power sounds so much kinder than stubboness :)

    JasmyneTea- They're a nice little sophisticated snack. They look really cut in the shell shapes too.

    Simcha- Yes they are, and they would have been simple if I used a 'standard' recipe, but I like to do things my own way :)

    Chopinandmysaucepan- They probably are those, I've been recording all the French Food Safaris to watch after my shoulder op so I'm not bored too silly so haven't checked it out yet. The French do love their butter, don't they?

    Lisa- You've got to try them, they're sweet and yummy

    Ladybird- I remember your's- they were so gorgeous! I know, I was tossing around the idea of using mandarine flavours.. maybe next time

    Celia- But they are oozing sophistication and charm, which you have by the bucket load :)

    Christie- Thanks, it can be frustrating. I like to get it just right so I know anyone else can use the recipe too without problems. I like the Bakers Secret pans, they're cheap, and release well.

    Lorraine- You're so right! Especially if it's Earl Grey Tea :)

    Dolly- Thanks! They're actually based on a sponge recipe more than anything. THey're nice and light, not 'solid' like a cookie, but because they're baked in the shallow tins they crisp just a little more on the outside than a cupcake. They can be quickly dunked into a cuppa without sogging into a mass of crumbs in your cup, so a nice in-between the two I guess.

    Tigerfish- Thankyou indeed! Pig-headed perfection! I always say baked goods can smell fear, so you have to summon up confidence so they don't beat you!

    Kim- Thanks, are your pans the shallow shells, or a different look? I'd love to get my hands on some mini madeleine pans too. (I have a HUGE collection of small cake sized pans, but really love antique ones)

    Happy Baking Dear Readers, and if some of you aren't as confident as bakers, just stick to a tried and true recipe and fake it till you make it. After all, no one else need know about any failures, do they? The only cakes they need see are the perfect little beauties you give them- even if it did take a try or two to get there!

  14. Wow, you're determinded! I use to be like that, just not with baking. ;) Great you figured out a wonderful recipe overall!

  15. These look divine... also have to tell you that the packaging on that Madame Flavour box of tea really caught my eye too... so sweet! Grazie!