Madeleines sound complicated and classy but are in fact one of the simplest French bakes to master. Named after 19th century pastry chef – Madeleine Paulmier, these dainty bites have a delicate texture and rich buttery crumb. I’d describe madeleines as miniature sponge cakes sans the fuss and frosting. And because October is pumpkin month, my golden pumpkin madeleines come with cinnamon spice and all things nice.
I definitely have a thing going with the pumpkin family. Pumpkin bread, pampoen koekies (pumpkin fritters), pumkin risotto, roasted, ‘muffined‘, you name it, I’ll eat it. It would be a shame to confine it to autumn and winter when clearly its versatility stretches far beyond these seasons. While tinned pumpkin puree is conveniently available in the UK and US, locally, we do it ourselves. If you think you might be a pumpkin fan, buy loads of this orange vegetable and cook it down in one big batch with a little water and pinch of salt. Once all the liquid has evaporated, blitz with an immersion blender until smooth. Divide the puree into portions and freeze for when next a pampoen (pumpkin) craving hits.
Traditional French madeleines are usually baked in a madeleine tray. As you can see from these caramel doused beauties, you don’t need an actual madeleine tin to make these puffy treats. I love breaking with convention so mine are round and slightly more generous than usual, though I had no complaints around here! In fact, eating at least two madeleines, one after the other was necessary, for quality control purposes! The best way to describe these pumpkin madeleines is to imagine the lightest, most buttery pampoen koekie – with caramel sauce. End of story. This is my favourite go to recipe for caramel.
Pumpkin madeleines with caramel drizzle
- 1/2 cup (90g) butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (70g) golden castor sugar
- 3/4 cup (110g) all-purpose cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice (all spice)
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease a madeleine tin or a 12-hole shallow muffin tin with butter and dust with flour. Tap out the excess flour.
- Combine the butter and maple syrup. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the butter and whisk together.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, spices and salt into a mixing bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients into the flour and whisk until the flour is incorporated. Don’t over work the batter.
- Lastly, add the pumpkin puree and stir thoroughly to combine. Set the batter aside to rest for 5 minutes.
- Spoon into the prepared moulds, tap to remove air bubbles and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and puffy.
- Cool on a wire rack before dusting with powdered sugar. Serve as is or with a pot of warm caramel for dipping or drizzling.