When I ﬁrst came across these shell-shaped cakes, I didn’t think they were anything special. I could not have been more wrong! They are light as air, perfect for dipping in a multitude of hot drinks, and I guarantee you’ll be wishing the pan made more than 12 at a time! A simple glaze is all you need to show them off in all their glory; it should harden slightly so it cracks when you eat it, keeping the inside moist. Madeleines are best served as fresh as possible.Reprinted from Twist by Martha Collison © 2017 by Martha Collison, used with permission by HarperCollins publishers. Slideshow: More Dessert Recipes
Put the sugar and eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk at high speed until the mixture is light and thick, around 6–7 minutes. Alternatively, you can do this in a bowl with an electric hand-held whisk but it will take a little longer. To check that enough air has been incorporated, take the whisk out and if it leaves a trail that takes three seconds to disappear back into the original mixture, it’s ready.
Combine the ﬂour and baking powder in a small bowl, then sift over the egg mixture. Using a metal spoon or a ﬂexible spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until all the ﬂour is mixed in.
Stir the vanilla into the melted butter, then add a little bit at a time to the batter, stirring to combine. At this stage, the mixture will be fairly runny. Chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest and ﬁrm up.
Grease a madeleine tin liberally with butter (I use my ﬁngers to make sure all the crevices are covered) and put into the freezer to chill. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.
Spoon one heaped teaspoon of batter into each mould. The mixture will spread out as it bakes, so don’t try to ﬁll the mould. Bake for 8–10 minutes, until the middle has risen into the classic dome shape and they are golden brown.
To make the glaze, put the icing sugar into a small bowl and stir brieﬂy to break up any large lumps of sugar. Add the milk and vanilla bean paste and beat well. You should get a loose mixture that does not hold its shape when dripped into the bowl. If it seems too thick, add a little more milk.
Dip the warm madeleines into the glaze using your hands, making sure they are fully coated. Allow the excess to drip back into the bowl, then put onto a cooling rack to harden (I put a baking tray underneath to catch the drips).
You will also need a stand mixer or an electric hand-held whisk and a 12-hole madeleine tin. You could use a mini muffin tin but you won’t get the characteristic shape.