Friday, March 5, 2010

Lavender Madeleines

I adore Lavender, even though I have a slight allergy. Well maybe more than slight. My friend Diane once gave me a lavender pillow she had picked up in London. I went to sleep with dreams of Provence dancing through my head, and awoke with clogged and achy sinuses. 
It hasn't stopped me from using Lavender soap, Lavender linen water or rubbing lavender oil onto my temples for a head ache. I'm not sure if it works,  but it does smell heavenly!
While visiting Randy and Mama Watts, we went to Herbs and Spice at Findley Market, where I bought lavender sugar. Which basically consisted of dried lavender flowers in granulated sugar. The ratio was 3 to one, in the lavender flower's favor. When I returned home I added another pound off sugar to the flowers just to stretch them a bit. Just a mere week later I took the lid off the container and found and was assulted with a delightful lavender fragrance. 
The first thing I made was Lavender Madeleines. I was so happy wih these I've decided to make Lavender ice cream and Lavender cup cakes. I'm just going to pile the pounds on! 
I used Ann Willan's Madeleine recipe from her French Regional Cooking. One of my favorite cookbooks.
To finish I glazed the small cakes in a lemon glaze and sprinkled them with sugar. I than made a pot of Fortnum and Mason Queen Ann Tea and sat down to a lovely mid afternoon break.
  This is a wonderful recipe and lends well to any flavors your heart desires.

Ann Willan, French Regional Cooking

120 grams / 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
135 grams/ 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon lavender oil
125 grams/ 1/4 pound unsalted butter, melted

24 medium madeleine moulds
Place flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk to blend.
Whisk the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until thick and light. Whisk in lavender oil. 
Fold in flour mixture by hand in three batches. When the last batch is almost mixed in, sprinkle the melted butter over the mixture and fold together as lightly as possible. As soon as the butter is added the batter looses volume quickly. 
Chill the batter for 30 minutes until it is stiffer and the butter has hardened.
Preheat the oven to a hot 450 degrees F/ 230 degrees C. 
Thoroughly butter and flour the molds.
Using a large spoon, fill the molds 2/3 full with the batter.
Place in the hot oven and bake for 4 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F/ 200 degrees C. Bake for another 4-6 minutes until golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Lavender Glaze

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1–2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers

 Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and lemon zest. Start mixing in lemon juice by using one tablespoon at first, then continue adding in only enough to produce a smooth, fluid icing.
Dip the cake's tops into the icing, place dipped side up on a wire rack and sprinkle with dried lavender flowers.
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