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Madeleines

Combine the eggs and caster sugar by whisking in a mixer for roughly 5 minutes or until it has gone slightly stiff in consistency.

While the eggs are whisking, combine the dry ingredients in a bowl; the flour, baking powder, zest of both lemons, and a pinch of salt. Stir through.

Now, in a separate bowl, combine the margarine, vanilla and juice from 1/2 a lemon. The butter needs to be slightly soft so a quick blast in the microwave usually does it, just enough so that it can be stirred in easily but not hot.

Now you have 3 bowls and are ready for the crucial part that will determine the success of the finished result. Combining them!

Add a quarter of the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, using a spatular to fold and cut through. It is important not to over do this. When the last bits of visible flour disappears into the mixture continue the same process adding the flour in quarters; make as fewer movements as possible so as not to knock the air out.

Lastly, add the butter mixture in quarters, repeating the same process of folding in until just mixed before adding the next quarter until all is combined.

Leave the batter in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours or over night to make in the morning.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.

Take your madeleine tray and cover the indents lightly with butter and the dust with flour, removing any excess with a good tap.

After resting mixture, it will be stiff and so easy to spoon into the madeleine shaped moulds. The mixture should fill the tray dimples with a slight arch on the top to ensure you get nice fat madeleines, however, if over filled when the mixture softens they will over flow. Try not to knock the air out whilst spooning the mixture.

Place in the oven for 9 minutes or until just starting to brown. Turn out onto a cooling rack, let cool a few minutes then dust with icing sugar and eat immediately whilst still warm!

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Madeleines are the best thing to have on a weekend morning, planing ahead and making the batter the night before to rest over night is the best way to do it. Getting up and only having to transfer the batter to the tray and bake seems so effortless.

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Resting the batter really does help to achieve that classic madeleine bump. For those of you who are impatient or short of time you can shorten or even skip this step but the results will not be the same.

 It's all about the resting

While the resting period is taking place, there is more going on than meets the eye. The larger air pockets are given time to work their way out. Gluten that is formed from the mixing process has time to relax and starch from the flour is absorbing liquid from the batter, this makes it swell and so creating a thicker more even consistency in the batter, also lighter and more evenly structured. When folding the mixture be sure not to overwork it as you will undo all the work that has gone into getting air into the eggs for volume.

It's also all about the folding

24 is quite a lot if there are only one or two of you, I generally make these when we have friends and family staying. To make 12, half the quantities but use 2 medium eggs instead of 3 large.

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North Radworthy, Devon
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