This is day 8 of a series celebrating local Toronto businesses! Recent events have put many local businesses in a difficult position and unfortunately, it’s not clear when this situation will come to an end. For ten days I’ll be posting recipes inspired by some of my favourite local businesses as my own way of celebrating what they bring to our communities. While we may not be able to visit our local bakeries, cafes and restaurants right now, this is a way of keeping them in mind, and a reminder to support them again once there is a chance.
If there is one spice that I use, it’s cardamom. Likely, the same goes at Elchi Chai, where their namesake elchi (cardamom) chai is decanted from larger canisters into glass drinking mugs. The tea is brewed and mixed with milk ahead of time to a creamy, caramel-toned opacity. Prior to visiting Elchi Chai, I had only had tea with a full mix of spices (speaking of, their masala chai and ginger masala chai are also wonderful!). The singular use of cardamom makes for a combination is far more subtle – and to me, an instant classic, like a gentler herbal-y version of earl grey. My usual order when I’m there: a medium elchi chai to stay.
At home I’ve started putting a couple of cracked cardamom pods into my black tea – and it was only a matter of time before I was going to use cardamom and black tea together in baking.
Madeleines, small buttery cakes, take on flavours quite well – and coincidentally the flavour is quite nice with whole wheat flour too! These madeleines are also 100% whole wheat, which also lends them a bit more of a rustic and coarse crumb… and perhaps also keeps them a tad bit more moist as well the next day.
There is an optional glaze as it does make for a lovely frost over the shell pattern, but I think the madeleines don’t need any additional sweetness. You can always just dip in glaze, or only glaze half!
elchi chai madeleines
- 1 tbsp milk powder
- 68g butter
- 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, coarsely ground in a mortar and pestle
- 1 tea bag worth of black tea, finely ground in a mortar and pestle
- 68g whole wheat flour (or use white flour if you prefer)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 9g honey
- 8g brown sugar
- 83g eggs
- 50g granulated sugar
glaze (very optional)
- 1/4 cup boiling water
- 1 black tea bag
- a few green cardamom pods
- icing sugar
Place the powdered milk on a bit of parchment paper and toast at 350F for 3-5 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool
Heat the butter in a small pan until melted and hot, stir in the cardamom and tea, and set aside to infuse for 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Pass the milk powder through a sieve to get rid of the lumps and whisk into the flour mixture.
Rewarm the butter and stir in the brown sugar and honey. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy, add the granulated sugar, and continue whisking until thick and doubled in volume – it will take a few minutes. Fold in the flour mixture in two additions, followed by the butter. Cover and chill batter overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 400F. Brush a madeleine pan with melted butter and chill. Distribute the batter amongst the wells to make 16 madeleines. Once in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375F.
Bake 7-8 minutes until the madeleines spring back lightly when touched or an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Immediately unmold onto a wire rack, turn over so that the shell pattern is face down. Let cool.
Optionally, you can glaze them with a thin icing made from powdered sugar whisked with strongly steeped tea. I steeped a tea bag with 1/4 cup boiling water and a few green cardamom pods for about 5 minutes. Add the tea by the spoonful to a bowlful of icing sugar, whisking until you have the right consistency. Dip the madeleines in the glaze and let dry to set. I think they don’t need the extra sweetness, but the glaze does look lovely on the shell patterned backs of the madeleines.