Fusion Food

September 15th, 2009

What do you get when you cross the desire to use up some extra ingredients in your fridge and the desire to use a slightly neglected favorite pan at the same time?

I just love the way they nestle in there.

I just love the way they nestle in there.

You get a slightly unusual but very delicious combination of Italian flavors in a traditional French cookie-cake-thing!

Basil courtesy Luigi, my amazingly alive and thriving basil plant.

Basil courtesy Luigi, my amazingly alive and thriving basil plant.

I wanted to use up some leftover ricotta and wondered if it might be substituted for some of the melted butter in a madeleine recipe, since I’d had such great success with coconut oil. I decided to just go for it, and be really risky and daring by replacing the OTHER half of the melted butter with olive oil.

I tried to make a basil glaze. You can see the flecks of basil on the madeleines. I'm not including the glaze recipe because it was more like a soaking syrup, is completely unnecessary and I'm short on time.

I tried to make a basil glaze. You can see the flecks of basil on the madeleines. I'm not including the glaze recipe because it was more like a soaking syrup, is completely unnecessary and I'm short on time.

I also remembered I had some chestnut flour in the fridge that was crying out to be used (after my idea of chestnut flour macarons fell through I think it was sad) so I went for a total Italian flavor profile, adding a little honey to enhance the sweetness of the chestnut flavor. Also, I love honey. And I knew, after double-checking in my favorite book (which is turning a year old this week – yay! Happy birthday Flavor Bible!) that everything would certainly taste deeeeelicious together, despite its untraditional mish-mash of European styles.

And once you're done soaking in the tea, get in my tummy!

And once you're done soaking in the tea, get in my tummy!

I used orange blossom honey since I had some on hand, but you could use wildflower, chestnut or clover honey and it would all be fantastic. The madeleines are sweet and slightly sticky from the honey, though they lose a little of that stickiness if you let them chill out in the fridge in an airtight container. The chestnut flour comes through nicely with an earthy, almost wholesome tone, and the ricotta isn’t really noticeable but does lend a nice fluffiness to the finished product.

Oh madeleines, always so pretty.

Oh madeleines, always so pretty.

Italian Madeleines

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2/3 cup sugar
  3. 1/2 cup AP flour
  4. 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  5. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/8 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  8. 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  9. 1 Tbsp honey

Beat the eggs and sugar in a stand mixer on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until they are pale in color and tripled in volume. Meanwhile, whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Sift a small amount of the dry mixture over the egg mixture and fold in completely, then repeat gradually with the rest of the dry. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ricotta and honey.  Fold the oil and ricotta mixture into the rest of the batter by thirds. Cover with plastic and chill for at least half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375. If your pan is not nonstick, butter and flour it thoroughly (you will have to wash, dry and reapply the butter and flour between batches if you have more batter than your pan(s) can hold in a single batch – for a mini pan with 10 indentations you will need to bake about 4 batches). Spoon batter into each indentation, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for about 10 minutes for miniature madeleines, 15 minutes for regular-sized. They will be browned around the edges when done. To remove from pan, rap the pan sharply against the counter and turn out onto a cooling rack.

I brought some of these in to the chefs who teach my pastry class. They agreed that the glaze idea was unnecessary and told me that there were too many things going on in the madeleines. They said that you shouldn’t use more than three flavors in a single product AT MOST. Boo to that I say! You can’t even taste the ricotta! Perhaps they were just offended that I made madeleines less boring? Don’t let them stop you. I think these are AWESOME.

5 Responses to “Fusion Food”

  1. Connie says:

    What nonsense from your teachers. Where would cuisine be if people didn’t think outside the box? I think the ingredients in your madeleines make sense together. They look fabulous and sound delicious!

  2. How very clever! I love doing things like this too although it meets with mixed results sometimes :lol:

  3. Y says:

    I’m not hearing the negative talk. I think all those flavours are classic Italian and would work fabulously together.

  4. I always make my madeleines with hazelnut flour, but chestnut flour? Brilliant!

  5. s says:

    so creative and interesting

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