Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, finally. Though it has been thrust upon us since December 26. I don’t like Valentine’s Day. Like everything else, it has become a silly commercial holiday for the flower and chocolate industry, along with the jewellery industry desperately trying to get a piece of the action.
Yes, I know thats a very negative view of a holiday that’s all about love and romance and all things sweet, chocolatey and red. Surprisingly, my husband thinks Valentine’s Day is important to me, I think all men do for fear of repercussions at home.
However, Valentine’s Day in my teenage years was very important. Although, I am not quite sure why since I had three very major things working against me 1.strict Muslim parents 2.strict Catholic primary schooling 3.an all-girls secondary school **sigh** I was rebellion in a can just waiting to be unleashed. There was a snowball’s chance in hell for me to receive any kind of secret admirer adulations on the most important of teenage holidays, Valentine’s Day. But there was comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone and that my friends were in similar predicaments (they too had strict, no nonsense parents).
I was very adventurous though and spontaneous in my younger years. I was very inventive and fearless and as a result, I do have a list of failed crushes of epic proportions.
For instance, there was the hairdresser who worked next door. He was ultra cool. He had long hair and sometimes he would have it in a ponytail and sometimes it would be flying carefree. I wanted to have my haircut by this specimen of coolness. I made an appointment and enjoyed two hours of being pampered by this god, all the while dreaming that he was purposely taking a long time with my hair. I only realised afterwards that it took so long because he was such an awful hairdresser. I had to go back the following day and have his brother correct my hair! What an epic disappointment he turned out to be!
Well, with such a non existent love life, no wonder I took to baking. These strawberry madeleines are for lovers and non lovers alike; for people who love Valentine’s Day, and for those who don’t. Just to get a little bit of the romantic spirit, I dyed them red.
They are delicious, as madeleines always are. They have a hint of strawberry taste and aroma, not too much, but a little natural strawberry flavouring can be added to boost the flavour, if desired. The strawberry puree cannot be increased because of its effect on the structure.
Serves: 24 cakes
- 11/2 cups/210g plain or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup/221g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ cup/120g strawberry puree (1 cup strawberries with tablespoon sugar, whizzed in a blender)
- 9 tablespoons/130g butter, melted and cooled
- natural red food colour (optional)
- ½ teaspoon strawberry flavouring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350℉/180℃
- Grease two, 12 hole madeleine pans with butter or non stick spray.
- Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and keep aside.
- In a bowl of the mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar with the lemon zest.
- Once the sugar is fragrant, add the eggs and beat until light and ribbon like, about 5-8 minutes.
- Fold in the flour, a little bit at a time.
- Add the melted butter and mix until combined.
- Add the strawberry puree, flavouring, and colouring if using, and mix gently until well combined.
- Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove form the fridge after 30 minutes.
- Drop spoonfuls into the madeleine pans.
- Place in the centre of the oven for 15/20 minutes until madeleines are risen and firm.
- Cool on a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar before serving.
How have you fared in Valentine’s past? Is it an important day for you? How do you like to celebrate?
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!