From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey episode 8.
The addition of a little honey to a madeleine is delightful. Combine that with some apricots poached with vanilla and a little more honey, served together with vanilla ice cream, and you have the sort of dessert that the French are justly famous for.


  • For the vanilla and honey poached apricots

  • 1kg/2 lb 3 oz fresh apricots

  • 2 vanilla pods

  • 150g/5¼oz clear honey

  • 500ml/17½fl oz water

  • 1 lemon, juice only, strained

  • For the madeleines

  • 3 medium eggs

  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar

  • 1 lemon, grated zest only

  • 100g/3½oz plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 100g/3½oz butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tins

  • 1 tbsp clear honey

  • To serve

  • vanilla ice cream, to serve (optional)


  • 1.

    For the apricots, halve the fruit and remove the stones. Spilt the vanilla pods in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a small, sharp knife.

  • 2.

    Put the honey, vanilla pods, seeds and water into a medium-sized pan and leave over a low heat until the honey has dissolved. Add the apricots and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, depending on the ripeness of your fruit, until just tender.

  • 3.

    Lift the apricots and vanilla pod out with a slotted spoon into a serving bowl, return the pan of syrup to a high heat and boil rapidly until reduced by half.

  • 4.

    Add the lemon juice and leave to cool, then strain back over the apricots, cover and set aside until needed.

  • 5.

    For the madeleines, brush two trays of 12 madeleine moulds (so you have 24 madeleines in total) with melted butter and set aside for a few minutes until the butter has set. Then dust with flour, tapping out the excess. This will ensure that only the smallest amount of flour sticks to the butter, giving the madeleines a better finish.

  • 6.

    Preheat the oven to 190C/374F/Gas 5.

  • 7.

    Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk with a hand-held electric mixer for three minutes until thick and mousse-like. Whisk in the lemon zest.

  • 8.

    Sift the plain flour and baking powder together and gently fold in, followed by the melted butter and the honey. Place the batter in the fridge and leave for 15 minutes to thicken slightly.

  • 9.

    Fill each of the madeleine moulds three-quarters full with the mixture and bake for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden. Leave to cool, then carefully remove from the tins.

  • 10.

    To serve, put two madeleines to one side of each of six shallow dessert bowls. Spoon some of the apricots and a little syrup alongside. Add a scoop or two of ice cream if you wish.

  • 11.

    Store the rest of the madeleines in an airtight tin and eat within a couple of days.

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