Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines

Parmesan, Sage and Black Pepper Polenta MadeleinesI have to confess I have developed a recent madeleine obsession. In the past I was unfamiliar with madeleines. I had never tried them and could not comprehend what all the fuss was about – madeleines looked plain, simple and un-exciting.

It wasn’t until I saw Rachel Khoo recreate the infamous shell-shaped treats on an episode of her Little Paris Kitchen that I started to become excited by the idea of the french butter cakes.

Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines
Everywhere I turned madeleines were just there… they beckoned from behind patisserie windows, jumped off the pages of cookbooks and glossy magazines and were fussed about in conversations between friends, family and even strangers. It seemed that suddenly everyone was a madeleine specialist.

I finally conceded into all the hype and went out and bought a madeleine pan to create my first batch. Oh and boy did the infamous french treats deliver! They had crisp edges, were moistly textured and filled with an oozy lemon interior. The delicious butter cakes were so popular a second batch had to be baked as the first was devoured instantly after coming out of the oven.

Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines Madeleines are synonymous with being sweet but who said that they couldn’t also be savoury? As this recipe name suggests madeleines can be adapted into a mouth-watering savoury treat in a matter of steps. These savoury cakes are loaded with polenta, parmesan, gruyere, sage, black pepper and generously sprinkled with truffled sea salt. These madeleines are a definite savoury revelation and are just as, if not more, delicious as their sweet counterparts.

This is a savoury re-invention of what is traditionally served as a sweet cake. These madeleines are best devoured instantly when hot out of the oven. They can also be served with a side of endive and arugula salad drizzled with a vinaigrette and are even so perfect as one-bite party appetizers.

I strongly recommend making a double batch… these beautifully shaped cheesy cakes are pure decadence and will disappear fast!

Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines
Serves 12
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  1. 1/3 cup instant polenta
  2. 2tbs plain flour, sifted
  3. 1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda, sifted
  4. 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  5. 1/3 cup gruyere, grated
  6. 2tbs black cracked pepper
  7. 4tbs diced sage leaves
  8. 20g butter, melted
  9. 1 egg, lightly whisked
  10. 1/3 cup buttermilk
  11. Truffled Sea Salt to sprinkle
  12. 12 sage leaves to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Place the polenta, sifted flour, bicarbonate of side, parmesan, gruyere, diced sage leaves, black pepper and a sprinkle of salt in a bowl and mix to combine.
  3. Add the melted butter, egg and buttermilk and stir until smooth.
  4. Lightly grease and flour a madeleine mould pan and place a sage leave in the middle of each mould base.
  5. Spoon the polenta mixture on top of the sage leaves and bake for up to 10 minutes or until puffed, golden and beginning to crisp around the edges.
  6. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool.
  7. Best served hot.
Adapted from Donna Hay
Adapted from Donna Hay
butter and brioche
Parmesan, Polenta, Sage and Black Pepper Madeleines


  • Reply Ingrid February 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    What a beautiful idea! Love this recipe! Will make it soon! x

  • Reply All that's Jas October 29, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    What lovely little bites! And your photos are superb!

  • Reply Evi @ greenevi October 12, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Aaaa…savory madeleines, I will definitely try it out tomorrow. Sounds very delicious

  • Reply Monika @ MY FOOD AND HAPPINESS October 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    These sound so flavoursome! I can smell the sage just by looking at the photos, great recipe!

  • Reply michele @ i-heart-baking September 3, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    ooooohhhhh these are SO pretty!

  • Reply Lindsey @ Piecemaker August 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    OK this just blew my mind. I’ve never seen anything like this! I really appreciate your creativity and flavor intuition. Cheers 🙂

  • Reply Bill@Lucy's Bakery&Cafe August 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    I don’t have a madeleine pan, but I wanted to try the recipe. So I used a mini-muffin pan instead. Not as pretty as the ones you made, but I got to say, the flavor was awesome! I served them with fresh tomato soup garnished with fried sage leaves at a small dinner party. My guests really enjoyed them. I hope you won’t mind, but I want to make them in my small diner. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply thalia August 20, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      Happy that you recreated the recipe Bill and glad that your guests enjoyed them!

  • Reply kristie @ August 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    These look incredible! They are one of the most genius things I have seen in a while. What a beautiful combination of flavors 🙂

  • Reply Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño August 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Those madeleines are so splendid. I love the flavor combination-perfect!

  • Reply Karen (Back Road Journal) August 1, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I so happy that I found you through Monique, you have a lovely blog. I make a cornbread with sage so I know I would thoroughly enjoy your delicious madeleines…they sound delicious.

  • Reply Jocelyn@BrucrewLife August 1, 2014 at 1:05 am

    These look gorgeous! I totally love the sage leaf! And they sound like they taste like heaven. I’ll have to try them soon!

  • Reply celyn July 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Wow looks so good…I’ve never tried making anything with polenta! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply shelley @ Bacon Egg & Cheese{cake} July 30, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Whoa savory madeleines, how awesome is that! I’ve been debating a madeleine pan recently too, and this might just push me over the edge on that 😉

  • Reply Nagi {REcipetin eats} July 30, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I love Rachel Khoo! Now I have to sign up because I know we have similar tastes 🙂 These are gorgeous. And the timing of seeing this is impeccable because I just bought a bunch of sage for another recipe and now I know what I can use the leftovers for! These look divine. And your photography is stellar. Thank you for sharing this! I love finding blogs that share unique but easy to make recipes!

    • Reply thalia July 30, 2014 at 7:16 am

      thanks for stopping by nagi, i’ve subscribed to your website too… love your work!

  • Reply Abbe@This is How I Cook July 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    I am loving everything about this recipe! And i have it all on hand. Except the drink-which would be perfect for these! Friday happy hour at my house! Want to come? I’ve got a great new madeleine recipe!

  • Reply Patricia @ Grab a Plate July 29, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Whoa! This is such a wonderful idea. Love the combo of ingredients and the creativity! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply nancy buchanan July 29, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    This are just gorgeous! I love the savory take on what is traditionally a sweet one – love your photography as well!!!

  • Reply Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods July 29, 2014 at 4:41 am

    A savory madeleine sounds amazing! I love this recipe and can’t wait to try them. Pinning!

  • Reply Laura Curtin @ Incredibly Edible July 29, 2014 at 1:44 am

    Wow, where have madeleines been my whole life!? I have never had the pleasure of eating one, let alone making them! As I try to avoid wheat do you think I could substitute the flour for a gluten free flour? Thanks!

  • Reply Jennifer Stewart July 29, 2014 at 12:07 am

    These look awesome! I’m making them for my next party! I have a madeline pan that I have never used!

  • Reply Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine July 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    Yum– sage has to be my favorite herb! Such amazing flavor. I love this savory snack option.

  • Reply Shikha @ Shikha la mode July 28, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    This is blowing my mind – savory madeleines! I love madeleines in general – I forget how one of them can go a long way cus of all the sugar and butter. These look amazing!

  • Reply Danae @ Recipe Runner July 28, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    I love sweet madeleines, so these beautiful savory ones totally caught my eye! I’ve been thinking of trying a savory version and your delicious recipe with the yummy sage and parmesan may have to be the one I start with. How good would these be served with a roasted chicken!

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ July 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    A lil’ italian (polenta), a lil’ french (the famous shell shape!). I like the idea of combining these two culinary traditions. Tasty and funny bites that would look great as canape on a party menu.

  • Reply Pam July 28, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    They look so pretty and delicious!

  • Reply Lauren @ Hall Nesting July 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I want a whole plate of these! First the combo of parmesan and sage is my favorite! So I definitely love the idea of savory madeleines!

  • Reply grace July 28, 2014 at 11:58 am

    i almost can’t believe these exist. they’re so clever and elegant and pretty and fun and undoubtedly delicious. kudos to you for your creativity and execution!

  • Reply Joanne July 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

    I have to admit, I’m much more excited about these savory madeleines than I’ve ever been about sweet ones. Such a great flavor idea!!

  • Reply Simone July 28, 2014 at 10:48 am

    These look so so good! I have a madeleine pan and I think I only used it once but you just inspired me to go out and use it again (once my whole30 is over, that is…)

  • Reply Karen July 28, 2014 at 8:19 am

    I adore Madeleines, but as a savoury person, yes I know that puts me in the minority, I LOVE this recipe! GREAT! Karen

  • Reply Tandy | Lavender and Lime July 28, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I might just have to get a madeleine tin! I love that you have made these savoury and they look amazing with the sage leaf 🙂

  • Reply Crystal | Apples & Sparkle July 28, 2014 at 7:10 am

    These are so lovely with the whole sage leaf on top. And I love the idea of a savory madeleine!

  • Reply the caked crusader July 28, 2014 at 5:39 am

    oh my! I’ve never even heard of savoury madeleines before. These look AMAZING!

  • Reply Sarah @ Running On Brie July 28, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Gorgeous madeleines! And how inventive to go the savory route…I love seeing something unexpected like this. Isn’t life too short to stick with the ordinary all the time? Love these!

  • Reply Olga July 28, 2014 at 2:03 am

    These are gorgeous! I love the combination of flavors!

  • Reply Prudy | butter, basil, and breadcrumbs July 28, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Oh wow Thalia…I’m so impressed with these madeleines. You know, I’ve never made one in my life…and you have inspired me to do so. I love how you went savory with them, and the leaves on top make them so beautiful… truly sophisticated. LOVE. <3

  • Reply Medha @ Whisk & Shout July 28, 2014 at 1:20 am

    These are stunning! I love polenta 🙂

  • Reply Jem @ Lost in Utensils July 27, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    These look great! What I love about madeleines is that they are so quick and easy. I usually make butterscotch 🙂

    • Reply thalia July 27, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      you are so right jem, never though of making butterscotch flavoured macarons before.. definitely an idea i will be trying too!

  • Reply katie paxton July 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Is that 180 degrees according to temperatures on ovens in the US. I would think 350 degrees.
    Sure do want to try them, I love sage.

    • Reply thalia July 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      the temperature is 180 celsius, your right in the US it is 350 fahrenheit x

  • Reply Sugar et al. July 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    All those gorgeous things that the title read, I knew before scrolling down this would be a stunner. And your photographs are visual proof of that!

  • Reply Ambar July 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Love madeleines!!! I’m so happy you gave in:)

  • Reply Isadora July 27, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    I have never made madeleines before but I have always thought they looked so dainty and perfect! I love that you made them savory and I bet the sage leaves taste so good with them! I need to get a madeleine pan now!

  • Reply Namrata July 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Incredible Photography!! I am so impressed. Love the madeleines.

  • Reply Jess @ Sweet Menu July 27, 2014 at 7:30 am

    YUM! These look delicious! I need to get my hands on a madeline pan!

  • Reply Jackie@syrup and biscuits July 27, 2014 at 3:23 am

    The flavor combinations sounds deadly… a good way, of course! Fresh sage is a favorite of mine and I’m always looking for ways to incorporate it.

  • Reply kristy @ the wicked noodle July 27, 2014 at 2:16 am

    This might be the most beautiful food I have ever seen. Just gorgeous – I am pinning for certain!

    • Reply thalia July 27, 2014 at 2:18 am

      love it, thanks kristy!

  • Reply marcie July 27, 2014 at 12:26 am

    I love this savory madeleine idea — these look absolute amazing! Pinning. 🙂

    • Reply thalia July 27, 2014 at 12:29 am

      great, thanks marcie!

  • Reply Evelyne@cheapethniceatz July 26, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    madeleines bring back fond memories of my grandmother, she loved them and we shared many. Glad you discovered them and this recipe if gorgeous. never saw a savory one. Love the sage leave touch.

  • Reply Nora @ Savory Nothings July 26, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    I was the same – madeleines just looked so plain and boring to me until just about 2 minutes ago! Your version looks absolutely beautiful – wish I could pick one off my screen!

  • Reply Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes July 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    This combination for savoury madeleines sounds so good! I LOVE the Sage!!

  • Reply Emma @ bake then eat July 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Savory madeleines sound fantastic never thought of doing that before, brilliant! I love it I really must try these 🙂

  • Reply Daniela July 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Never tried salty Madeleines and it sounds like a very creative, exciting idea.
    The combination of flavors and the pics are beautiful!

  • Reply Angie (@angiesrecipess) July 26, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I baked some madeleines yesterday too, but a sweet one. Love these savoury cute with sage leaves.

  • Reply Jessica (bakecetera) July 26, 2014 at 9:47 am

    i love savoury madeleines! these are so beautiful and such an interesting flavour combination. mmm!!!

  • Reply Alanna July 26, 2014 at 6:45 am

    These look INCREDIBLE! Savory madeleines? Brilliant. And those flavors. Mmm…

  • Reply Connie @ Sprig and Flours July 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

    These looks fantastic! I am all for savory takes on sweets! You’re killing it Thalia! <3

  • Reply Helen @ Scrummy Lane July 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Thalia, these are incredibly creative! I ate a lot of madeleines when I spent a little time in Spain and learnt to appreciate them despite their simplicity, but making a savoury version is a very inspired idea. I particularly love the final decorative sage leaves you’ve put on top.

  • Reply Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen July 25, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I love savory rather than sweet – so savory cookies are right up my alley. Great color contrast of yellow and green – lovely shots.

  • Reply Judith Graber July 25, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    These madeleines are beautiful with the sage leaf on top. I have always made them sweet but I look forward to making your recipe as I have lots of fresh sage leaves right now 🙂

  • Reply Glamorous Glutton July 25, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Savoury madeleines, how wonderful. Your combination of flavours sound lovely, what a great idea. GG

  • Reply Amy @ Elephant Eats July 25, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    These are gorgeous with those sage leaves on top! And i love your savory take on madeleines…i could eat a lot of these 😉

  • Reply Leah | So, How's It Taste? July 25, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Madeleines are so darn cute! I’ve always had them sweet, so I love that you did a savory version. So pretty with the sage leaves, too!

  • Reply cristina July 25, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Love these savory madeleines and pinning! Madeleines are on my list of things to tackle – have the pans, just haven’t made the time. You’ve inspired me with these beautiful treats!

  • Reply Allison July 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Neat! I love a savoury twist on classically sweet things. These are just so gorgeous and they are perfectly golden brown. I have a madeleine tin that I inherited and I’ve never used it -I think I really should start!

  • Reply Maggie July 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’m totally share the same feeling with madeleines. Have no idea that why people love them and I haven’t had one till now!
    But oh boy, the ones you made are look so delicious and great! And I really like the idea of savory dessert. I will go try a madeleine soon!
    Pinned and saved 🙂

  • Reply Shannon @ Bake.Frost.Repeat. July 25, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    These look gorgeous. I’ve never made madeleines before and I’ve always wanted to madeleine pan (it’s just so pretty). I love the idea of savory ones.

  • Reply Annie @Maebells July 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    This is fantastic! I love your flavor combination here! So creative! I generally prefer savory to sweet so I am all over this!

  • Reply Christine July 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    I was so right to head on over after seeing your comment…these not only look delicious, but they are also so cute I could…just eat them right up;) (pah-dum-ching)

  • Reply Katherine July 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you found my blog. Yours is absolutely amazing. Your pictures are gorgeous! I can’t imagine how good these must smell baking xx

  • Reply Meinhilde July 25, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    These look so good – I’m sure the cornmeal adds a nice crunch!

  • Reply Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice July 25, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    These madeleines are gorgeous! I love the flavors in here, making them more on the savory side, especially with the parmesan. Beautiful pictures, too!

  • Reply Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong July 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

    OMG! These madeleines are so sooo Gorgeous.. I have fallen in love with these. and those pictures are incredible.. Absolutely love it, Thalia!!

  • Reply MAndi July 25, 2014 at 9:07 am

    This is pretty insane – I’ve actually always loved sweet madeleines but it’s never occurred to me to make them savoury. And better yet, stuffed with gruyere….What isn’t instantly lifted to a higher place by the addition of a fistful of cheese? Really creative, can’t wait to try.

  • Reply Katerina July 25, 2014 at 8:57 am

    How refreshing to see savory madeleines!

  • Reply Maureen | Orgasmic Chef July 25, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Those are gorgeous! You clever thing. I was gobsmacked by the photos and then when I read the recipe, I fell in love all over again.

  • Reply Lydia July 25, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Thalia, as usual you are full of surprises with your wonderful recipes and incredible photos. Always creating something special
    I have never made madeleines before, but definitely will try, love your presentation as well.

  • Reply KAren - 2teaspoons July 25, 2014 at 5:12 am

    “Polenta, parmesan, gruyere, sage, black pepper and generously sprinkled with truffled sea salt” – this recipe sounds absolutely AMAZING! I love the light, buttery, slightly crunchy around the edges goodness of madeleines and bet a savory version is out of this world! Also, the little sage leaf on each of them is adorable 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Rachel @ Bakerita July 25, 2014 at 4:20 am

    OMG so in looooove with these!

  • Reply cheri July 25, 2014 at 3:07 am

    This are so gorgeous, will have to pick up the “special pan” to make these. Very impressive!

  • Reply Anne July 25, 2014 at 2:30 am

    OMG!! This is such a creative combination! Love the beautiful pictures and I can just imagine the smell in your kitchen when you were baking them!

    • Reply thalia July 25, 2014 at 2:34 am

      your right, the smell was SO incredible.

  • Reply Kate @ Diethood July 25, 2014 at 1:58 am

    Savory madeleines!! These sound incredible!! Beautiful flavors.

    • Reply thalia July 25, 2014 at 2:06 am

      thanks for stopping by kate, love diethood!

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