A couple of weeks ago, I ventured down south to a place called Myrtleford in North-East Victoria. While you may not know Myrtleford specifically, you’re probably familiar with the surrounding towns of Bright or Beechworth.
Myrtleford is every bit as picturesque and it’s the heart of Australia’s chestnut growing region. Being employed by Chestnuts Australia to develop recipes, take photographs and generally promote the sale of these delicious nuts so it was about time I paid a visit.
But this story isn’t really about chestnuts!
While I was there, I paid a visit to Jane and Brian who grow chestnuts but have also recently started producing yuzu. They kindly showed me around their farm – Mountain Yuzu – which is in the little town of Eurobin about fifteen minutes from Myrtleford. Here they also grow bergamot oranges, the famed ingredient of Earl Grey tea and chinotto, the citrus used to make the Italian drink of the same name.
Back to yuzu. I hadn’t had much to do with this intriguing fruit. Looking like a rumpled lemon, the yuzu has a sweeter fragrance, more akin to a mandarin or grapefruit. Mainly used for its zesty rind, the juice can also be extracted and is lemony in flavour, though you don’t get much of it per fruit.
Yuzu is popular in Japanese cuisine but more and more Australian chefs are requesting this gourmet ingredient. Traditionally it was a flavouring for sake but is now also popular as an aromatic in gin.
A beautifully packaged box of yuzu came back to Canberra with me and I wanted to use them in something that would make the most of their fragrant rind. There are many options for preserving said but I decided for the seemingly instant gratification of French Madeleine biscuits.
Admittedly, I had completely forgotten that Madeleine batter needs to rest overnight but, being innately impatient or nature, I gave it 45 mins. And they were still every bit as tasty as I had hoped.
While down in Victoria I was actually staying in Beechworth which, as I learned in my final moments there, is the home of Beechworth Honey! At their shop and tasting room, a delightful visit if you’re in town, I picked up a jar of creamed honey with a hint of ginger. Seeing as citrus goes to perfectly with ginger, it was clearly meant to be. Hence the ginger in this recipe.
Yuzu & Ginger Madeleines
This recipe is based on the original Madeleine recipe found in the recipe book of the renowned Laduree bakery in Paris. If you don’t have yuzu, try another citrus instead.
- 3 yuzu, zest and juice
- 160g white sugar
- 175g plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 180g butter plus some for greasing your Madeleine moulds
- 4 eggs
- 50g honey
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup icing sugar mixture
- Additional yuzu zest for garnish
- Zest the yuzu and put aside. Cut each in half, extract the juice and put aside, separately.
- In a small bowl combine most of the yuzu zest, sugar and powdered ginger. (Reserve a little zest for garnishing.)
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
- Add the honey to the yuzu mixture and stir.
- Add all four eggs and beat until pale.
- Fold in flour and baking powder. Add melted butter and continue folding until combined.
- Cover the mixture and place in the fridge overnight… or at least 45 mins.
- When the batter is ready, preheat the oven to 190°.
- Meanwhile, brush a Madeleine mould with melted butter and dust with plain flour, tapping to remove the excess.
- Fill each space approximately 1/2 full with batter. The original recipe recommends 3/4 but I found that this caused them to lose their shape as they expanded too much.
- Bake each Madeleine for about 6 minutes or until risen and just browning around the edges.
- In a separate bowl combine icing mixture and yuzu juice. Drizzle over Madeleines and garnish with remaining zest.