I’m always skeptical when someone touts superlatives around me.
“Portland’s Best. America’s MOST Amazing. World’s Finest.”
Really? How can you be sure? And how can I?
So when I came across a picture with the headline of “World’s Best Madeleines” on Pinterest lately, I was skeptical.
But it’s Teacher Appreciation Week at school and I always seem to make cookies, cakes and muffins and so this time I wanted to do something a little different.
Enter the madeleine.
When made correctly, they are the perfect two-bite cake: slightly spongy, not too sweet and with just enough egg yolk in the batter to give the sensation of a little indulgence.
And finished with a simple glaze and powdered sugar, they’re worthy of the Proust-ian praise.
I’d not made them for twenty years but I’d been holding onto the pans I’d bought years ago in the event that I’d once again find the time to make them, and I’d forgotten how easy they are to make.
They just involve two different flours (all-purpose and cake, the latter of which to ensure a delicate crumb),
melted butter, eggs and egg yolks
sugar, salt, and lots of lemon zest to give a sunny brightness to the finish.
I’ll include the recipe below, but since I have you here I’ll tell you to be sure to get your sugar-egg base to the ribbon-stage; when you remove the whisk from the bowl the batter should be thick enough that it will fold into overlapping ribbons atop.
I let it go for another 10 seconds or so after this pic and the batter was perfect.
Also, be careful not to overmix after the addition of flour and then melted butter (do that and you will have a tougher madeleine, which would be a crying shame).
About twelve minutes later, they were done.
The recipe called for using butter and flour on the pan but I used non-stick spray instead; I think next time I may try the suggested method because even with the spray they were hard to get out (I let them cool first).
If I was to start all over from the beginning, I would have bought a non-stick mold, but these lovely French trays were what I had and I wasn’t about to buy even more pans.
I then glazed them with two different icings; one with lemon and confectioner’s sugar and the other with just pomegranate juice and confectioner’s sugar which turned the baby madeleines a lovely rosy pink.
I then powdered the double batch generously
and packaged them up for teachers
Don’t have the pans?
I suppose you could make them in a mini-muffin pan or if you’re a pal of mine, borrow my madeleine pans! (I only have FIVE.)
If you do end up making them be sure to wear a beret while doing so (I picked up this wool one at the Goodwill Bins last week and it’s the most dreamy blue– and wearing it it made the madeleines taste even better).
I loved these delicate cakes with their lemony zing
and next time I make them I look forward to experimenting with pistachio or rose water (and perhaps even a half-dip in white chocolate?).
This recipe is a must do. If you make them, let me know how they work out (but be warned, they’re so easy to make but nearly impossible to resist).
- ¼. C. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ C. all purpose flour
- ¼ C. cake flour (not self-rising)
- pinch salt
- ¼ C. sugar
- 1 large egg and 2 large egg yolks, all at room temperature
- confectioner's sugar
- Gather all your ingredients. Whisk flours and salt together.
- Butter and flour (or spray copiously with non-stick spray) your madeleine pans.
- Position a rack on lower third of the oven, and then preheat to 375 degrees
- Melt the butter and then add zest. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, beat sugar, egg and egg yolks on high speed until you get to the ribbon stage (it'll take a few minutes).
- Gently fold in dry mixture about 3 Tbs. at a time, being careful not to deflate batter.
- Fold in butter, gently, about 1 Tbs. at a time.
- Divide batter into molds, being careful not to fill more than about ⅔.
- Bake for 12-14 minutes (pull when firm to the touch).
- Tap one side of the pan to release the madeleines onto dry kitchen towel; let them cool flat side down (I let them cool in pan and then removed them).
- Serve warm or room temperature, dusted lightly with confectioner's sugar or with simple glaze.