Gluten-free Madeleines are so simple to make you’ll be able to whip a batch in close to no time. Zesty, lemony with a delicious creamy crunch of chopped macadamias. The perfect treat for afternoon tea. They are also dairy-free, and relatively low in sugar, although you can add a little extra to taste.
What are Madeleines?
Madeleines are small cakes, shaped like a long shell, originally from the Lorraine region in France. There are many legends surrounding their origins. Regardless, they have become a staple of the French cafe offering across the country.
So, are Madeleines cakes or cookies? They are often called Madeleine cookies in English, because of their small size and flat shape. However, texturally they are similar to cakes such as muffins.
Vanilla is the most popular and classic flavour. You can also find them dipped in dark or milk chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachios. Yum. But I quite like lemon Madeleines the best. They are zesty and full of zing.
What do you eat Madeleines with?
Traditionally, in France, Madeleines are baked and enjoyed fresh as part of a Sunday breakfast. Enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea or some custard served on the side.
I had my first fluffy and warm Madeline not in Paris, or France for that matter, but here in Australia at Cumulus Inc in Melbourne.
The queue for a table was long, but the wait sweetened with steaming mugs of flat whites and a couple of zesty lemon Madeleines, fresh from the oven. The infatuation remained, way past the couple of minutes it took to enjoy every bite, down to the very last crumb.
Gluten-free Madeleine Recipe
Traditionally Madeleines are made with butter, plain flour, sugar and eggs.
However, for a slightly more filling and gluten-free Madeleines recipe I used almond meal instead and swapped butter for some macadamia oil. Coconut oil would work just as well in this dairy-free recipe. See full printable recipe below.
While the following instructions are for lemon Madelines – I love the addition of lemon zest and buttery macadamias to the mix – you can make them plain vanilla. Simply skip the lemon zest and macadamias.
Serve with Cardamom Custard
The cardamom and vanilla custard is an optional extra, and of course, you can make it dairy- and egg-free from this recipe using a pinch of ground cardamom instead. Either way, it’s a luxurious addition to an already special treat.
Gluten-free Macadamia and Lemon Madeleines with Cardamom Custard
For the Lemon and Macadamia Madelines:
- 2 eggs separated
- 2.5 tablespoons unrefined Demerara sugar or granulated stevia (Natvia)
- 1 teaspoon natural lemon essence
- 1 lemon, zested
- 2 tablespoons macadamia oil or melted coconut oil plus extra for greasing
- 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamias
- 1 cup blanched almond meal
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the Cardamom Custard:
- 1 cup milk of your choice
- 8 cardamom pods bruised
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 1/4 cup rice malt syrup
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon unrefined icing sugar or milled granulated stevia
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced, 350F, gas mark 4).
- In a medium bowl whisk together the egg whites until stiff peaks.
- In a large bowl whisk together the yolks and sugar or granulated stevia until pale and fluffy. Add lemon essence, lemon zest, oil and chopped macadamias. Add the almond meal and baking powder and add to the egg yolk mixture. Mix well – the mixture will be a little stiff. Add beaten egg whites and mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate.
- Grease a 12-hole Madeline tin with extra oil.
- Divide mixture between the 12 moulds, only enough to fill the form and sit flat with the surface.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the Madelines are slightly risen and turning golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack in tins for 10 minutes before serving.
In the meantime make the custard, if using.
- Place milk, cardamom pods, vanilla and rice syrup in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a rolling simmer, stirring. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 10 minutes for the milk to infuse.
- Place yolks in a heat-proof bowl and whisk. Once the milk is ready, remove from heat and add about 1/4 cup of the hot milk to the yolks, while whisking to prevent the yolks from cooking. Once incorporated, add another 1/4 cup milk and whisk.
- Return milk to low heat and pour in the yolk mixture. Heat, stirring on low until the custard thickens – do not boil or it will scramble and split.
- Remove from heat, allow to cool for 15 minutes and thicken before serving, whisk just before to get rid of the “skin” formed.
- Serve Madelines tableside, dusted with a little icing sugar and with a bowl of still warm (or cool) cardamom custard on the side for dipping.