Traditional recipes

Madeira Fingers recipe

Madeira Fingers recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Biscuits and cookies

Sponge fingers good for a trifle or spot of tea.

5 people made this

IngredientsServes: 36

  • 200g (7 oz) plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 125g (4¼ oz) butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Madeira wine
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar for decoration

MethodPrep:50min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Sift together the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cream in the butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar and Madeira until mixture becomes stiff. Wrap dough in foil or cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 160 C / Gas mark 3.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly until smooth. Roll out to approximately 3mm and prick all over with a fork. Cut dough into 36 fingers measuring approximately 2x6cm. Place on baking trays. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Brush fingers with the egg and sprinkle each with sugar.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until light golden in colour. Let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

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Buddha’s Hand Madeira Cake – 2/1000

The picture of myself I use everywhere is a picture of me looking at a Buddha’s Hand. I recently thought that it was high time to create a recipe using Buddha’s Hands – and just in time for Halloween! I searched the internet and found nothing that was a really complete recipe. Then I watched an episode of the Great British Baking Show and saw them making Madeira Cake and realized a Buddha’s Hand Madeira Cake would be perfect!

I realized it would be perfect because a traditional Madeira Cake is a lemon sponge cake that apparently went well with Portuguese Madeira Wine. Buddha’s Hand comes from the citron family so it would be a perfect substitute.

For those of you unfamiliar with British baking, many of the recipes have self-rising flour and caster sugar. Both of these ingredients may be hard to find but they are easy to substitute. For caster sugar, use a food processor to finely grind regular granular sugar. For self-rising flour add two teaspoons of baking powder for 1 cup of flour.

This cake not only made me happy because I made a recipe from Buddha’s Hand but it also tasted great as well. Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Mother-In-Law’s Madeira Cake.

Special Equipment – hand mixer, zester

1) 2 sticks of butter
2) 1 3/4 cups caster sugar (I was lucky enough to find caster sugar at my local grocery store but as I say above, just use a food processor to make regular granulated sugar finer)
3) 3 large eggs
4) 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
5) Zest of a Buddha’s hand. A Buddha’s Hand is quite large so you can zest almost all the Buddha’s hand except for the tips of the fingers you can use for decoration.
6) 2 teaspoons baking powder
7) 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Preparation and Baking
1) Turn the oven to 325 degrees.
2) Butter and flour a loaf pan.
3) Cream the butter and sugar. At this point I can see why the British use caster sugar – the fine sugar crystals really make the mixture smooth.
4) Add about 1/2 the Buddha’s Hand zest
5) Add the eggs one at a time then add a tablespoon of flour with each egg.
6) Add the rest of the flour, mix well.
7) Add the other half of the Buddha’s Hand zest.

The batter should be light and fluffy.

8) Using a rubber spatula or something similar you have on hand, scoop the mixture into the loaf pan.
9) Sprinkle a little bit of caster sugar on top of the batter.
10) Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes – 1 hour (depending on your oven, 45 minutes worked for me). When a toothpick poked into the cake comes out clean, it’s done.
11) Let the cake cool.
12) When the cake is completely cool, sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
13) Add the Buddha’s Hand fingers on top for decoration.

Fresh Fig and Madeira Compote

I use this compote as a sauce to accompany the Fresh Huckleberry and Fig Tart, and I also love to eat it with the Chocolate Bête Noire, as this dessert complements chocolate very well. You can also eat it without accompaniment, as my husband does whenever I bring some of this home and leave it in the refrigerator.

4 cups (32 ounces), serves 6 to 8

Occasion Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Dietary Consideration egg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or Less Yes

Taste and Texture fruity, sweet, winey

Type of Dish Condiments, compote, dessert, fruit


  • 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Madeira , medium sweetness
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 pounds (21 large) fresh figs
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ice bath


Run a paring knife down the center of the vanilla bean. Split it open with your fingers and use the knife to scrape the tiny black seeds into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the Madeira, sugar, vanilla bean, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the hard tips off the figs and divide each fig into 4 even wedges. Add the fruit to the Madeira, as well as the vanilla extract if you aren’t using a vanilla bean. Simmer the figs over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and transfer the compote to a bowl. Place the bowl in an ice bath to cool. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. Remove the vanilla bean before serving.

Serve this compote with a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. I also recommend the Dark Chocolate Sorbet and Vanilla Panna Cotta. The warm flourless Chocolate Bête Noire Cake is wonderful also.

Lupini Bean Recipe: Marinated Tremoços from Portugal


  • About 1 cup (240 ml) dry lupini beans, rinsed. (Available via Amazon here.)
  • Large pot of water, at least 4 cups (1 litre).
  • 2 cloves of garlic, vertically sliced into thin slivers.
  • Olive oil.
  • Black pepper.
  • White pepper (optional).
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley.
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salt.

To Soak the Beans:

This is a recipe for patient people. But your patience is rewarded with delicious and healthy snacks!

  • Put the beans in a pot of water and soak overnight, for a total of 24 hours. Ensure that the water covers the beans completely. After twelve hours, check on the beans to make sure they are fully submerged and add more water if needed.
  • After the 24 hour period of soaking, bring the beans to a boil and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Drain and rinse the beans.
  • Place the beans in a large container and cover with cold water. Let them cool and then stick them in the refrigerator.
  • For the next 14 days, change the water once a day with new cold water. This soaking is what removes the bitterness from the beans.
  • After 14 days, add 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of salt and the sliced garlic to the beans. Place back in the fridge to soak overnight.

On the 15th day (I know, I know):

Once you are ready to eat your lupini beans, you simply remove the amount you would like to eat, and toss with olive oil, a pinch of black pepper, the chopped fresh parsley, and some white pepper if you would like a punch of heat.

Store the rest of the beans for future use in your airtight container in the fridge. They will keep for approximately two weeks.

The easy method for the less patient snacker:

If you would like to make these without the 14 day process, you can buy ready-to-use lupini beans that are pre-cooked and de-bittered. For this quicker method, empty and drain the beans from the jar and soak overnight in cold water and garlic. The next day, serve as you would above on the 15th day.

Don’t forget to remove the husks of the beans when eating!

For more food from Portugal or recipes to try and home…

I recommend the following books to read and cook from at home. Ingredients aren’t difficult to find outside Portugal, and the history of the dishes are extremely interesting.

Other delicious lupini bean recipes from around the web:

These are recipes I have tried and loved.

  • My fave: lupini bean and zucchini cakes, with a dill hemp dressing. Easy to make with a blender and a few choice ingredients, and extremely tasty! Recipe here.
  • Not very healthy — but definitely very satisfying option: crispy fried lupini beans with bacon. What’s not to love? Recipe here.
  • And for those who want the crispy crunch without frying: baked crispy lupini beans with zaatar, easily the one I make the most. Recipe here, keto-friendly.
  • Simple recipe like this one, with garlic and olive oil.
  • A summer fave: this one with baby kale salad.
  • Lupini bean hummushere.
  • And: asparagus and lupini bean saladhere

And finally, my Food Maps of Portugal are now in the Legal Nomads shop!

Hand-drawn map featuring all the delicious Portuguese foods you love, placed around the shape of the country itself. Check it out here, including the Azores and Madeira on the maps. I am currently using the tote bag for my food shopping.

How To Shape Pink Coconut Snowballs

When I first made these I simply pinched out small pieces of about 4 cm diameter dough and rolled into small balls then placed onto a lined baking tray. Since then I have found a few more ways to make them. The first is to use an ice cream scoop, which is not only good for scooping ice cream it seems, is ideal for scooping soji halwa and making snowballs too. Simply scoop the snowballs dough. Do not use a full scoop but rather half.

Portuguese Bread Recipes

Bolo do Caco are great served warm with unsalted butter, garlic butter or carne vinha d'alhos (red meat marinated in red wine with garlic and bay leaves) Oh my. delicious!

Bolo do Caco (pronounced Kah-ko) are easy to make and bake.

Bake a small sweet potato in the oven until well cooked. Scrape out the soft inner flesh and discard the skins. Set aside about 1 cup of the cooked sweet potato flesh

For my recipe I used a wonderful Japanese sweet potato. They are exceptionally sweet and delicious. You can usually find them at health food stores when in season. The regular Garnets are also fine.

2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 cup sweet potato flesh cooked (see above)
3/4 cup natural bread starter (see the tab above on how to prepare or buy the starter)
1/2 - 3/4 cup water (add small amounts of water until the dough is a little sticky - see Method below)

1. Place 2 cups bread flour in a large ceramic bowl
2. Add the sweet potato, salt, and bread starter
3. Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients together
4. Add a small amount of water at a time to make the dough slightly sticky and then begin to knead adding a little flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Let the dough rise
5. Knead for 8-10 min by hand
6. Oil the ceramic bowl and pat a little on the dough, cover and let rise 8-10 hours. Remember natural starters are slow rising - this is not a 'quick' bread.

Now we make the Bolo

The risen dough, ready to divide
1. When the dough has risen, gather it into your hands and carefully divide it into pieces the size of plums. NOTE - you can also make larger Bolo that are about 8 inches across. It's up to you! For a larger bolo you need a tennis ball size dough ball.

2. Roll the dough in your hands to give it a nice ball shape and then flatten it with your fingers into a piece that is about 4-5 inches across and about 1/2 inch thick.

Divide to plum sized balls
3. Place the bolo on a kitchen towel that is generously dusted with flour. Using the edge of a wooden spoon press a cross into the tops almost as if you are cutting it into quarters.You can press fairly hard.
Press a cross into the tops with the
edge of a flour dusted wooden spoon

4. Cover with another dusted towel and let rise in a warm spot for 2 hours or until the cross disappears. NOTE - there may be a trace of the cross on some - that's OK.


Since this recipe needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, it is a great make-ahead dessert. I actually think it tastes better when it chills overnight!

Assemble the dessert the night before and dust with some extra cocoa powder or top it with chocolate shavings or chocolate curls just before serving to freshen it up a bit.

I can promise, once you know how to make tiramisu at home, you&rsquoll get a real kick out of making this elegant dessert and impressing the heck out of your friends and family!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/8 ounces), plus more for measuring cup
  • 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (5 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 2 cups raw mixed nuts (such as pecans, blanched hazelnuts, walnuts, slivered almonds, and pistachios) (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 6 dried Mission figs (about 13/4 ounces), stemmed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Flaky sea salt
  • Lightly sweetened whipped cream

Pulse flour, butter, sugar, and fine sea salt in a food processor until mixture resembles small peas, 10 to 12 pulses. Drizzle 1 tablespoon ice water over mixture pulse until evenly incorporated, about 8 pulses crumbs should just hold together when pinched. Transfer mixture to a 10-inch round tart pan with 1-inch-tall sides and a removable bottom use fingers to distribute crust evenly into bottom and up sides of pan. Using the floured bottom of a metal measuring cup, press crumbs firmly into bottom and up sides of pan. Freeze until hard, at least 20 minutes or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prick crust a few times using a fork. Bake in preheated oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

Arrange nuts in an even layer on a small rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350°F, stirring occasionally, until evenly deeply toasted, 10 to 14 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.

Stir together sugar, 1/4 cup water, honey, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high boil, swirling pan occasionally but not stirring, until caramel is very dark and mixture registers 390°F on an instant-read thermometer, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully stir in figs and cream using a long-handled wooden spoon. Add butter and fine sea salt stir until smooth.

Arrange toasted nuts in an even layer in cooled crust pour warm caramel over nuts to fill crust. Let tart cool completely at room temperature until set, at least 8 hours or up to 1 day. For cleaner slices, chill tart at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days before serving. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and serve with whipped cream.

Larder’s Smoked Carrots With Roasted Yeast

Andrew Purcell for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Carrie Purcell.

Jeremy Umansky is a master meat curer from Cleveland, where he runs a new wave deli called Larder. New wave? The guy serves smoked carrots and burdock root “meat sticks” alongside house-cured pancetta, pastrami and bresaola. His passion for — and obsession with — koji, the miracle spore used by the Japanese to turn soybeans into soy sauce and miso, runs so deep, he not only gave a TED Talk on the topic, he wrote a whole book about it, “Koji Alchemy” (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2020). Most of his vegetable charcuterie involves a complex curing, smoking and aging process, plus fermentation with koji, but these carrots can be smoked from start to finish in about an hour. The roasted yeast rub gives them an otherworldly flavor that’s smoky, malty and absolutely unique. &mdashSteven Raichlen

Tuna Steaks, Madeira-Style

1. Combine the garlic, salt, oregano, basil, and pepper in a mortar and pound to a paste with the pestle, then work in enough oil to achieve a spreading consistency, 1 to 2 tablespoons (see Note).

2. Rinse the tuna steaks under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Using your fingers or a spatula, spread the spice paste on both sides of each of the steaks, then place in a baking dish just large enough to hold them flat in a single layer. Pour another 1/4 cup of the oil over the fish and turn the steaks once or twice to coat. Place a bay leaf under each steak and one on top, then cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, for 3 to 4 hours, spooning the oil over the steaks occasionally.

3. Preheat the grill to high.

4. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Remove the tuna steaks from the marinade. Rinse and blot dry with paper towels, then brush on both sides with another 1 to 2 tablespoons oil. Arrange the steaks, facing in the same direction, on the hot grate and grill until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium well (the Portuguese like their tuna on the medium side of medium well), turning over carefully with a long spatula. For an attractive crosshatch of grill marks, rotate the steaks 90 degrees after the first 2 minutes on each side.

5. Transfer the steaks to serving plates or a platter and serve at once.

Note: If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, mash the ingredients together in a bowl using the back of a wooden spoon, or process in a mini chopper or blender, adding the oil gradually.

Nutritional Facts:

This Tuna Steaks, Madeira-Style recipe is from the The Barbecue Bible Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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