Melon soup with mint, lime and warm madeleines

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While there are various elements to Graham Hornigold's colourful melon soup recipe, the majority of preparations (from compressing the fruit and straining citrus crème fraîche to making the zesty honey madeleine mix) are done the night before, making this a fantastic dinner party dessert with very little preparation on the day of serving. The stunning combination of melon, mint and citrus flavours make this dessert wonderfully refreshing, while the warm honey and vanilla madeleines add just enough sweetness to balance the dish.

First published in 2016




Melon soup

Lime crème fraîche

  • 150g of créme fraiche
  • 1 lime, zest and juice

Compressed melon

Mint syrup

Lime syrup

  • 2 limes, zest only
  • 50g of sugar
  • 500ml of water

Honey and lemon madeleines

Confit lemon

To serve


  • Vacuum bags
  • Chamber sealer
  • Parisian scoop / melon baller
  • Food processor
  • Food mixer
  • Piping bag and large nozzle
  • Madeleines tray
  • Piping bag with medium nozzle


Begin by preparing the melon soup the night before serving. Deseed and chop the melon and mango into pieces and mix together with the mint, vanilla, lime and orange zest
In a small pan, gently heat the orange juice and sugar together until dissolved. Pour the sugar mixture over the melon, then transfer to a vacuum bag and seal. Place in the fridge and leave to marinate overnight
Mix the lime zest and juice with the crème fraîche until well combined. Pour into a piece of muslin hung over a bowl and leave any liquid to drain through overnight
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 150g of créme fraiche
For the compressed melon balls, first prepare the mint and lime syrups. Combine the sugar, water and lime zest and heat gently to form a syrup, then set aside. Gently bruise the mint leaves, then heat the sugar and water until a syrup is formed. Add the mint leaves, mix well and leave to cool
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp of mint leaves
  • 50g of sugar
  • 250ml of water
  • 50g of sugar
  • 500ml of water
While the syrups are cooling, prepare the melon balls. Remove any seeds and, using a double-ended melon baller, scoop out medium balls of the watermelon and Charentais melon. Using the other end, scoop out small balls of galia melon, aiming for 3 balls of each variety per serving
Measure out 50g of the mint syrup and place in a vacuum back along with the watermelon balls. Seal and place in the fridge overnight
Similarly, measure out 50g of the lime syrup and place in a vacuum bag with the Galia melon. In a separate bag, combine the Charentais melon with another 50g of lime syrup. Seal the bags and leave in the fridge overnight
For the madeleine mix, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a food mixer to form a thick sabayon. Sieve together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, simultaneously melting together butter and honey in a small pan. Add the vanilla and zest of the lemon to the pan, reserving the juice for glazing
With the food mixer on a slow speed, add a little of both the dry ingredients and the butter to the sabayon. Repeat this process gradually, allowing both the butter and flours to mix in completely before adding any more, until completely combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rest overnight
The next day, pour the melon soup mixture into a food processor, discarding the vanilla pod and most of the mint leaves. Blitz to form a fine purée and pour into a fine sieve or chinois placed over a large bowl, leaving the liquid to strain through
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Before making the madeleines, first prepare the confit citrus. Remove any pith from the peel, then finely julienne the zest. Blanch the peel in boiling water, refreshing immediately in cold water
Repeat this process twice more, blanching and refreshing the citrus peel, taking care to use fresh water each time
Combine the sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan and heat to create a syrup. Once boiling, add the zest to the pan and poach in the syrup until translucent
Stir the rested madeleine mix a little to loosen, then transfer to a piping bag. Arrange a few pieces of confit peel in the bottom of the madeleine tray and pipe the mixture on top
Bake the madeleines in the oven for 5–8 minutes, or until golden brown – the mix will make enough for 32 madeleines so they may need to be cooked in batches
Mix together the icing sugar and a little of the reserved lemon juice to form a glaze, then brush the hot madeleines liberally to coat. Before serving, transfer the hung crème fraîche into a piping bag, discarding any drained liquid
  • 20g of icing sugar
To serve, spoon 50ml of the melon soup into each bowl and top with 3 balls of each melon. Pipe dots of crème fraîche around the bowl, garnishing with mint leaves and pieces of confit lemon. Arrange the warm madeleines on the side, dusting over a little icing sugar to serve

Graham Hornigold’s expert pastry skills have been refined in some of the best restaurants and hotels in London, effortlessly adding delicate, refreshing touches to dessert menus. Today, he runs gourmet doughnut brand Longboys, which has three sites and stocks the likes of Harrods and Selfridges.

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