Pretty maids all in a row: Pistachio Madelines with meyer lemon glaze

January 7, 2007


Madelines. Sure, they’re beautiful: Allluring golden exterior, perfectly molded scalloped shape… they even have a seductive feminine name. But are they tasty?

Yes, indeed.

At least the Madelines that my husband makes are. Continuing his pistachio theme — as evidenced by the handful of dead pistachio soldiers I’ve been sweeping up from our kitchen floor — he thought to include those yummy green nuts in his first foray into Madeline-baking. Brilliant!

The pistachio flavor here is subtle; the green nuts add most of their punch in the texture of the cake. As you sink your teeth into the delightfully fluffly Madeline, you get a taste of the green flecks of pistachio laced throughout. Meanwhile, your nostrils are filled with the breath of meyer lemon zest that the cakes contain. It was quite an experience for my wittle tongue, but my intrepid taste buds can handle it.

Can yours?

Click here to download the recipe for Pistachio Madelines w/Meyer Lemon Glaze


So we’ve had ice cream, chicken and now madelines. I do enjoy these versatile pistachios. I have several other ideas on how to use them, but for now I think it’s time to give you this last recipe and find another inspiring ingredient. My poor wife might begin to take on a subtle green hue if I shove one more pistachio dish down her gullet. So let me give you the information on this last of the pistachio trio, and mosey on.

Madelines are soft and delicate tea cakes that are traditionally served from scallop molds. However, the batter itself will work well in any baking mold, such as a mini-muffin tin. The basic recipes for them allow a great deal of versatility and improvisation. In this case, I tried to maintain that soft cake aspect while giving it a bit of crunch and nutty flavor.

The lemon glaze is optional and allows the madelines to be served as a very sweet treat alone. However, serving just the unglazed cakes alongside MHC’s pistachio crunch ice cream proved to be a hit. So don’t be afraid to leave these unglazed. They are perfectly sweet as a solo act. I hope you enjoy as much as we did. If you have a great pistachio recipe like Nicole from Pinch My Salt, please let us know.


Pistachio Madelines with Meyer Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup shell unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
zest from 1 meyer lemon
pinch salt

Meyer Lemon Glaze

3 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioner sugar
juice from 1 meyer lemon

1. Melt the butter and allow to cool.

2. In a food processor, add the pistachios and pulverize for 30 seconds. Add the flour, salt and baking powder and process again for 20 seconds.

3. In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs until light yellow. Add the sugar in slowly while whisking. Continue for about 30-60 seconds until they are light.

4. Grate the zest of the lemon and whisk into the eggs and sugar mixture. Set the rest of the lemon aside for the glaze.

5. Add the pistachio flour and fold it into the egg mixture. You want to be careful not to over mix because you are trying to keep the madelines from being chewy.

6. Once the flour is lightly integrated, add the butter and fold. The result will be a greasy batter. Here is the optional point in the process; if you wish to continue on and bake them, you can. However, if you want to add the signature mound to them, you should refrigerate for as little as two hours or overnight. This will allow the butter to set again and make the batter firm.

7. Preheat your oven to 400F.

8. Grease and flour your madeline pan (a muffin tin can replace this), and scoop about 2 tablespoons into each mold. Bake for 10-11 min.

9. Let cool in tray for 5-10 min. Turn out and perhaps glaze (directions below). Serve and enjoy!

Meyer Lemon Glaze

1. In a microwave safe bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter and juice from the meyer lemon. The lemon juice may cause the glaze to be lumpy or spotty from the acidity of the lemon and the butter. If it does separate, add to the microwave for 10 seconds, then whisk until smooth.

2. Lightly place the madeline face side down in the icing and coat. Lift from the bowl and let the icing set for 10 min. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Brilliant. Two of my favorite flavors in the perfect cookie-cake hybrid. I haven’t had a great deal of luck making Madeleines but I will definitely give these a try. Thanks again guys. You’re an inspiration.

  2. Oooohhhh, you are KILLIN’ me! I used to work at a french style bakery that made THE BEST madelines, and of course, being on the inside meant that hot out of the oven was often an option. Darn near a religious experience! Your photos are makin’ me TRES hungry!

  3. I have never tried a madeline before but these are beautiful and I can tell by reading the recipe that I would love them! Of course pistachios are one of my favorites but I’ve also recently fallen in love with meyer lemons! When I was visiting California, a family friend gave me a huge bag of those lovely lemons! They make a wonderful lemon curd!

  4. These madeleines look so beautiful! I’ve never seen glazed madeleines, I should definitely give them a try!

  5. Looking lovely!! Thanks for the lemon in the picture so that I could get an idea of the size of each madeleines.

    Also, do you have a section somewhere about what kind of camera you use to take these pictures? They are extremely crisp.

  6. I just ran across another pistachio crusted chicken recipe! Check it out here!

  7. I just made pistachio-ginger encrusted chicken. It sounded good and your photos from the other day were dazzling. I was pondering looking up my madeleine pan, but you beat me to it.

    I can’t keep up with you.

    Do stop by though, H & W, it’s been a while!

  8. Oh, my, that is my recipe, just above. (Silly me!)

    Thanks, Nicole!

  9. First, let me say that we are huge fans of French Kitchen in America and Mimi. She was one of our first regulars and I adore her blog. While I’m not a regular commenter there, I’m a definite lurker. I was so bummed when she was down for a couple weeks with Mac issues. She is on the short list of blogs that I read on a regular basis.

    Second, in my experience, I’ve never seen madelines glazed either. I’m sure I’m not the first one to ever see or do it though. The idea came to me when I was doing the Blood Orange Bundt Cake post. The glaze here is just a variation on the same style as on the bundt cake. The reason I decided to glaze them was for two reasons. The first is that I have a terrible sweet tooth. The second is the natural shape of the madelines made me think they would look beautiful glazed. It’s something about the mounds and crevices that did it for me.

    Finally, we don’t use that fancy of a camera. It’s a Cannon S500, part of their Elph line of cameras and is about three years old. It’s auto-focus, small, compact. We considered this Christmas upgrading to a fancier camera, as a gift to each other. We nixed the idea after discussing it because most of the photos you see are done really getting intimate with the food at odd times, and sometimes me as a solo act. Many of the productions photos (that is what we call the shots next to the recipes) are usually me alone with/without a tripod. So from a practical stand point it was important to have something I could easily wield.

    The beauty photos (which we are told is an industry term for the big pretty shots in glossy mags and what we call the finished product photos we put at the top of the post) are about 50/50 my wife or I, and they would be the only photos we’d regularly take with a fancier SLR type camera.

    With that said, we agree that we are going to start trying to upgrade some of the visual content over the next few months so we can try to bring you more interesting ways to see and experience what we do. It’s mainly for that reason, I’ve always been hesitant to have one of those pages and links that says, “This is what we are using…” We are still learning a great deal everyday. Neither of us were photographers before this. My wife works with photos regularly in her job, but not from the production side, so we feel like we’ve got too much to learn to claim to be anything close to giving people advice or suggestions on equipment.

    But just to contradict myself, my one piece of advice that I regularly give… Lighting is 90% of the photo. Just look at our original posts and the ones today, and that is the same camera with better lighting and adjustments for it.

  10. Hello , your website just makes my mouth water ! Its sooooooooooo nice that I have added you to my blogroll 🙂 These cookies and all the recipes and pictures I saw are too good ! It made me hungry …

  11. I want to eat my lap top, looking at the photo of the lemon madeline.
    Proust and his 6 volumes of descriptions, couldn’t beat that shot.
    Could you mail me one?
    I can’t cook worth a quarter.

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