Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Honey Lemon Madeleines

The last time I made Madeleines was ........... errrr...... gosh I couldn't even remember! I remembered it was Chocolate Madeleines though. Not sure if I still have that recipe hhmmm....

Anyways, since I was still in the midst of deciding which goodie/s to prepare for a nephew's birthday party this Saturday, I thought I'd give this recipe another try before making a decision. (Well now I've actually decided to make these Madeleines & Chocolate Mousse. What about Brownies eh?) I would love to make a few goodies for the party but time may not be on my side as I have 2 Brownie Platter requests.

Here's a little info on Madeleines (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home To Yours):

Madeleines are among the most recognizable pastries in the French repertoire because of their look - they are made in scallop-shaped molds from which they emerge ridged on one side, plump and full-bellied on the other and golden. That they are among the best known is thanks to Marcel Proust, who immortalized them in his novel "Remembrance of Things Past". Everyone seems to know the story of Proust's narrator dipping the cookie into his tea and having the first taste bring back a flood of childhood memories. With that short entry, Proust and the madeleine gained such celebrity that even people who've never tasted the cookie refer to it with confidence as a touchstone. Yet when you take away the literary allusions and all the romance, what you're left with is a tea cake that deserves to be famous for its deliciousness alone.

The madeleine is a beautiful, if somewhat plain, cookie made from the kind of batter you'd use for a sponge cake. What distinguishes it is its lightness; its texture - the tiny bubbled crumb is tres raffine; and its flavor, a delicate mix of lemon, vanilla & butter.

Just to set the record straight, while it's Proust who gets all the credit for making madeleines a household name, the honor realy belongs to King Stanislas Leszcynski of Poland, who, in the eighteenth century, tasted a tea cake made by a local woman in Commercy, France. He was so delighted with the cookie that he named it after the baker, Madeleine.

Honey Lemon Madeleines

2/3 cup plain flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tblsp honey (this is my own addition to the recipe)
6 tblsp unsalted butter (melted & cooled)

1. Sift flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside.

2. In a mixer bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist & fragrant. Add eggs to the bowl. Beat the eggs & sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick & light for 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla & honey.

3. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter.

4. Cover bowl and refrigerate between 3 to 12 hours or up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines.

5. To bake, preheat oven to 170C (depending on your oven). Brush some butter into your madeleine mold. Depending on the type of mold you're using, dust the insides with flour & tap out the excess.

6. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter or if they are filled up too full, the oven's heat will take care of that. Bake for about 13-15 mins or until they are golden and tops spring back when touched.

7. Remove pan from the oven and release the madeleines by rapping the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer to a rack to cool. Best eaten as soon as they are made or at least on the same day they were made.

Next up, I'd want to try them with bananas and in strawberry flavour.

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