These meltingly tender little madeleines are essentially made using a génoise batter, in which melted butter is stirred into a whisked egg, sugar, and flour base. It’s the bosse, or dome, that defines whether a cake is indeed a madeleine or simply a plain old sponge cake. The secret to the bosse is partly the temperature differential achieved by placing chilled batter into a very hot oven. I suppose in a way it’s the opposite of baking an ordinary cake, which can unfortunately bolt upward in the center—normally because of the oven being too hot—whereas here that’s part of the plan. The batter needs an hour or so to rest in the fridge. I like to make it the night beforehand. The madeleines can be flavored with lemon or orange zest, a drop of rum or Calvados, even chocolate chips.–Annie Bell
LC Everyone Has His Or Her Madeleine Note
We once read an article about pie whose very existence had prompted the writer to expound, impassioned, upon the topic. The essay ended somewhat eloquently, with the words, “Everyone has their [sic] madeleine.” Or something like that. (Referring, of course to Marcel Proust and his prose. But you knew that.) And yet, for some of us, our madeleine is a madeleine. For those of you whom that applies to, this recipe’s for you.
Special Equipment: 2 madeleine pans (scallop-shaped is traditional) or 2 nonstick mini-muffin pans
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Makes 12 to 24
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 5 3/4 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pans
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- 1. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk the eggs, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until very pale and at least doubled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.
- 2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Fold it into the egg mixture, followed by the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
- 3. Preheat the oven to 475°F (246°C). Butter 2 madeleine pans or 2 nonstick mini-muffin pans.
- 4. Give the refrigerated cake batter a good stir and fill the molds 3/4 full using a teaspoon. Place the trays in the oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 425°F (218°C), and bake for 4 minutes, during which time a dip will form in the center of the cakes. This dip is the beginning of the domed bump. Now turn the oven down to 375°F (191°C) and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until you have a beautiful dome in the center of each one, the mixture is set, and the edges of the cakes are golden. Remove from the oven.
- 5. As soon as the pans come out of the oven, run a knife around the edge of each cake and let them cool in the pan. Madeleines are at their loveliest eaten slightly warm, but they are also good for dipping into tea, Proustian fashion, for a couple of days thereafter. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, if desired. Store any leftover madeleines in an airtight container.
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Madeleines Recipe © 2013 Annie Bell. Photo © 2013 Con Poulos. All rights reserved.