Towards the end of blood orange season last year, I had the marvelous idea to make blood orange and pistachio madeleines. The only problem? The afore mentioned end of the season made tracking down decent blood oranges nearly impossible. So I made a mental note to try again this year, and moved right along to indulging in other French treats. Fast forward to the present day, we're packing for Paris and I happen to be snacking on a blood orange. Instantly, I remember my madeleine idea from last year. I immediately drop everything, a) because, well, I hate packing, b) I like to procrastinate, and c) who doesn't drop everything for French baked goods?! Besides, what's a better way to prepare for a French trip than by eating French food? Answer: there is no better way! These madeleines turned out even better than I expected. They have a slight citrus-y essence, just a hint of color from the blood orange, and a delightful unexpected crunch from the pistachios, all while maintaining the sweet buttery cake-like texture that these little cookies/cakes are so well known for. We quickly devoured these madeleines before we even stepped on the plane (so much for airplane snacks...), so I'm sure we'll be hunting down more this week, but never fear, if Paris isn't in your near future, these madeleines are the next best thing.
BLOOD ORANGE PISTACHIO MADELEINES
- 6 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup + ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Zest of 1 blood orange
- Juice of 1 blood orange
- ¼ cup pistachios, finely chopped
- Powdered sugar (optional)
In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking it until it has browned, which should only take about another 30-60 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, use a sieve or sifter to sift together the half cup of flour and the sugar, and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, salt, blood orange zest, and blood orange juice until the eggs are frothy.
Use a spatula to fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture, just until the two are combined. Add in all but 1 ½ tablespoons of the melted butter and the pistachios and continue to stir. It may take a few stirs to get the butter combined in, but be sure not to over mix.
Cover the bowl with a plate, plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator to rest for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Add the remaining half tablespoon of flour to the 1 1/2 tablespoons of reserved melted butter and stir to combine. Use a pastry brush to brush the interiors of the shells with the butter-flour mixture until they are well coated. Place the pan in the freezer for at least an hour prior to filling it with batter.
Once your dough and pan has chilled for at least an hour and you’re ready to bake your cookies, preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and the pan from the freezer. Fill shell in the madeleine pan with about 1 tablespoon of the batter.
Place the pan on a baking sheet for easier handling and place in the oven. After 8 minutes, check the cookies and rotate the pan. Check again in 5 minutes. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffing up a little in the middle. Using a finger, slightly press the middle of one of the cookies. When the madeleines are finished, it should spring back at your touch. Depending on your oven, the total baking time can be anywhere from 13-18 minutes so be sure to keep a close on eye on the madeleines the entire time.
Remove the madeleines from the oven and let them cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the cookies from their molds and then remove them to a baking rack and allow them to continue cooling. Once they have finished cooling, dust lightly with powdered sugar (if desired) and serve.
Store cooled madeleines in an airtight container for a few days.
Orange, lemon or lime juice and zest can be used in place of blood orange juice and zest.
The pistachios can be eliminated if you have a nut allergy or prefer a not-so-nutty texture.