So it's the second week of December already, and as the workloads, Christmas preparations, break-up celebrations and last-minute catch-ups begin to pile up it becomes quickly apparent that those plans to keep up with some decent, stress-free kitchen time were quite clearly delusional.
For those like me who make their own gifts, every spare sleep-deprived moment is spent baking, bottling and labelling, and while it's pretty satisfying to see all that hard work finally come together most likely you've missed meals, eaten junk, or scoffed some pretty unappealing dishes that consist of the entire contents of a very sad and heavily neglected fridge.
What you need are snacks. Proper, savoury, snacks, like these spelt, parmesan and black pepper madeleines. Salty and hot, they're a great way to balance the sweet overload that so often comes with festive indulgences, and their petite size makes them perfect to have on hand when you're juggling an oven full or jars and a giant vat of molten-hot pain (erm, raspberry jam). Good, too, for all of those take-a-plate parties they're easy to prepare, the batter can be made in advance, and I'm sure everyone will appreciate having a savoury option. So if you happen to have the time...
SPELT, PARMESAN & BLACK PEPPER MADELEINES (Adapted from this recipe by Mark Hix)
- 90 g butter
- 40 g honey
- 2 eggs
- 90 g spelt flour (white)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ - 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
- ⅓ tsp hot smoked paprika
- 60 g parmesan, finely grated
Melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan over low heat and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs for 3-4 minutes, until pale and tripled in volume. Meanwhile, sift together the spelt flour, baking powder and spices, then stir through the parmesan. Fold the dry ingredients and butter mixture through the eggs, then pour the batter into a container and rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease the moulds of a madeleine tray with butter. Place a teaspoon of batter into each mould (or dessertspoon for larger moulds), then bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden and puffed.
Makes ~20 small madeleines.