Spiced Madeleines with figs poached in Vanilla-Thyme Syrup with Crème Fraîche

On the eve of mother's day, I thought it fitting to post a recipe inspired by a day spent with my mum, Madame Zen, in Beaune, Bourgogne. Whenever I have met up with Madame Zen on my travels, she always likes to mark the occasion with a simple and meaningful gift. Beaune was no exception. We had spent the day sketching and drawing in (and sampling a little of the produce from) the vineyards in Beaune's surrounding towns including, Mersault. We had returned to Beaune and we were wandering back through the main street, which is filled with all manner of interesting shops. Of all the shops to catch our eye - it was the hardware store.

The main street of Beaune with the hardware store, second on the left

The beautiful planter boxes, found on every street in Beaune

The window of the hardware store was full of the usual building tools, hammers nails etc - but it also had a dazzling array of beautiful cookware including shiny Mauviel copper pans, glassware, every possible corkscrew imaginable and the most sturdy looking, non stick Madeleine pan I had ever seen. One look at that pan and Madame Zen had decided that this was the item to mark our day of shared travel.

Madame Zen, rolled canvas in hand, taking time to smell the old fashioned roses of Bourgogne

The recipe for the madeleines actually comes from my Grandmother's handwritten notebook, circa 1942, and was titled, "say it with spice" patty cakes. It was wonderful to be able to combine the memories of my Grandmother's cooking, with the more recent memories of travel with my mum. The fig and thyme syrup also makes the best of the glorious autumn produce that is currently filling the markets.

Spiced Madeleines

3 cups of plain flour sifted

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1/2 tsp of nutmeg

1/2 tsp of mixed spice

1 & 1/2 tsps of baking powder

2 tsp brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

2/3 cup golden syrup

1 beaten egg

1 cup buttermilk

1. Preheat your oven to 200C. Grease and flour your Madeleine pan.

2. Sift the flour, spices and baking powder into a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, melted butter and golden syrup.

4. Pour the butter mixture into the flour and spices. Mix well.

5. Add the beaten egg and butter milk, mix well.

6. Fill the moulds to 3/4 and baked until golden. Cool in moulds for a few minutes then turn out onto a baking rack.

Figs poached in Vanilla Thyme Syrup

12 figs, quartered

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

3 cups water

2 cups sugar

1 lemon zested

2 large sprigs fresh thyme

1. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a medium saucepan and add pod, water, sugar, zest, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add figs and simmer, stirring once or twice, until tender - about 5 mins.

2. Add madeleines to serving plates along with warm figs and spoon over syrup serving with dollops of crème fraîche and little sprigs of fresh thyme.


  1. How divine is this recipe from your mum and your grandmother! i think I just polished off the last of the figs. I adore your travel photography too Mrs M! :)

    1. Thanks for your lovely words Lorraine....ah the last of the figs, alas, so sad!!! : )

  2. Another beautifully shot post... gorgeous recipe and how about those roses!

    1. Thanks Lizzy, aren't those roses spectacular...and they had the most incredible aroma too!!

  3. What a special recipe. I have always wanted to make Madeleines and now you have inspired me with your divine photography.

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  5. Oh your images are so gorgeous!!! I do like madeleines but these look exceptionally romantic with the other lovely pics.

    1. Oh thank you - can always count on roses for a touch of romance : )


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Maira Gall