During my first trip last year to San Francisco, I ate at Frances, a brilliant homely restaurant run by James Beard Award winner Melissa Perello. You are told when going there, the one thing you have to order when arriving at Frances is the Bacon beignet. It lived up to the hype: a slightly sweet and light version of a spanish croquetta. I fell in love.
I thought about that beignet a lot over the next few days and realised another great reciprocal for such a sweet-savoury cross over is the madeleine. It's not very inherently sweet when made traditionally, so would provide a subtly sweet background for the bacon, and the scallop form would create the most delicious crust when cheese is added.
Recipe: Bacon + Basil Madeleines
Makes 16 Madeleines, adapted from David Lebovitz' traditional Madeleine recipe in My Paris Kitchen
2 large eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
125 gram melted butter (plus a bit more to grease the madeleine tin)
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used Catamount Hills Cabot, but any hard, relativly mild cheese will do)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp finely chopped, fried bacon
Using a stand mixer with whisk attachement or electric hand beater, beat eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt into the egg mixture. cover with cling film or a tea towel and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. At the same time, brush the madeleine tins with melted butter, so that the butter gets in all the scallop ridges, and pop the tin into the freezer while the batter is resting.
Preheat oven to 200c or 400f.
After 30 minutes in the fridge, take out the batter and mix in the melted butter. Add the basil, cheese and bacon and mix just enough to combine.
Take the madeliene tin out of the freezer and fill the molds until the are almost full. The mixture isnt very malleable, so I tend to use a finger or back of teaspoon to spread the mixture down the full length of the mold, in case the mixture is concentrated in the centre.
Put in the oven at 200c or 400f, and bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown on the top.
Serve straight away, by themsevles or to accompany a fried egg, or if using later on in the day, just put the madeleines on a normal baking tray and heat up for 5 minutes before serving.