Pumpkin madeleines

I am lucky enough to be a member of a Band of Bakers, a group of bakers who meet regularly to share our efforts in the kitchen with other bakers. Usually there is a theme, although not always, and this week we're sharing our patisserie efforts. The mention of the word patisserie made me break out in a mini nervous sweat - I've never been particularly good at making tiny, delicate things look pretty. I'm more of a hearty bake kind of girl. So I did some research into what might be the easiest option for me and settled on madeleines. I had to buy a madeleine pan for this so I decided that I'd better find a sneaky veg recipe for madeleines to get maximum usage out of it.

And thus, the idea for pumpkin madeleines was born. There are quite a few recipes available online for them, mainly from the United States. I decided on this one from the Yellow Table. It appealed to me because it used oil rather than butter so is perhaps slightly healthier for the children.

Then began an epic hunt for tinned pumpkin. I've been in the habit of using fresh, mashed squash or pumpkin when a recipe calls for the tinned variety, but I wanted to try to make this one as authentic as possible. Without the energy to go all the way into central London to Wholefoods or similar, I tried many local shops, finally striking gold at Bambuni in Nunhead (where I got a very nice coffee, a lemon cream filled cannolo and a second tin of pumpkin just in case).

I thought I'd better do a trial run, never having made them before, and I'm rather glad I did because they didn't hang around for long (you will notice there's only five in the photo - the other seven mysteriously disappeared). I'll be making another batch later this week to take along to Band of Bakers. In the meantime, here's the recipe so you can try your own. Enjoy!

Ingredients (for 12 madeleines)
1 egg
80g caster sugar
60ml sunflower oil
100g tinned pumpkin (or substitute cooked, mashed and cooled fresh pumpkin or squash)
80g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground mace
Icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease your madeleine tin with butter or oil.

Beat the egg, sugar, oil and pumpkin together in a large bowl with a hand held mixer or wooden spoon until smooth.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices.

Slowly mix half the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, with your mixer (if using) on its slowest setting. Gradually add the rest of the flour mixture and continue mixing until smooth.

Spoon or pipe tablespoons of the mixture into the madeleine molds. Bake for 10-12 minutes until firm to touch and a toothpick or fine skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then finish cooling on a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Adapted from a recipe from The Yellow Table.