I didn’t come back from my Paris trip empty handed. I lugged back fresh wild mushrooms, some pantry essentials like mustard and fleur de sel and a madeleine baking pan.
Madeleines originated from southeastern France. They are light, small sponge cakes that are distinctively shaped like a shell.
These cakes are very evil. Yes, evil. They are deceptively light and small and so easy to scoff down in large numbers. When the first dozen mads came out piping hot from the oven, hubby and I inhaled them all even before the second batch started cooking.
And the amount of butter in this little thing is scarily off the scale…well at least to me, and yet, it didn’t seem buttery enough. I was however comparing them to those wonderful, melt in the mouth versions we had at St John restaurant. Imagine how much butter and sugar were in those mamas!
There are a number of variations of madeleines. Some are made with lemon zest, some with poppy seeds and a good number of recipes include fine almonds. I’m thinking the almond version will produce an even more moist and rich version and it’s on the waiting list for my next baking day.
For now, here’s the basic recipe I used which was adapted from Joy of Baking.
120 grams unsalted butter, melted
130 grams all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
135 grams granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
First, melt the butter and allow it to cool while you make the batter.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Cream the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed for about 5 – 7 minutes until the mixture is creamy and doubled in volume. Add the vanilla paste and beat to combine.
Fold a third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture to lighten it before combining the rest of the flour. Ensure that you do not over mix, fold gently and keep the mixture light and airy.
Whisk a small amount of the egg mixture into the melted butter to lighten it. Then fold in the cooled melted butter in three additions. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or several hours, until slightly firm.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 190 degrees C. Generously butter a 12-mold madeleine pan. Dust the molds with flour and tap out the excess. Make sure the pans are well greased or the madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.
Drop a generous tablespoonful of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, bake the madeleines for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers spring back when lightly touched. Do not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.
Remove the pans from the oven and rap each pan sharply against a countertop to release the madeleines. Transfer the madeleines, smooth sides down, to wire racks to cool. The madeleines are best served the same day. Well, in my household, it wouldn’t last any longer than that!