These are the polar opposite of the old gingerbreads: light, spongy and sugary, with honey present only to add perfume and tenderness. Many recipes add extra flavorings such as rose water or orange zest, but I prefer the delicate taste of butter and honey by themselves. This is a recipe which benefits from light and aromatic honeys, particularly citrus ones such as lime flower or orange blossom.

melted butter
2 large eggs
75 ml honey
50 g golden caster sugar
150 g plain flour
190 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 200 °C (gas mark 6). Brush the madeleine sheet (they seem to come with either nine or twelve moulds, and either will do) with melted butter and dust it with flour. Whisk together the eggs, honey and sugar in a bowl set over simmering water until just warm. Remove from the water and beat with a whisk until pale and thick. This may take as long as 10 minutes. Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the unsalted butter. When the batter is all mixed in, spoon it into the madeleine mould, filling until three- quarters full. This will not use up all the batter. Bake until springy - about 10 minutes. Carefully prise out the madeleines and set them on a wire rack, then wipe out the mould, brush it with more melted butter, and bake the rest of the madeleines. These are pretty dusted with icing sugar, but just as good plain.

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