recipe: replace tablespoon of lemon juice with pure vanilla extract, omit
lemon zest, reduce flour to 1 ¼ cups and add ¼ cup cocoa; sift together
the flour, cocoa and baking powder mixture and follow directions above
mixing in the vanilla instead of the lemon.
Madeleine pans are available in standard aluminum, nonstick metal (Wilton, etc.) and the new, flexible, heat-resistant silicone.
To purchase a madeleine pan online, try visiting one
www.ebay.com (lots of silicone modelsavailable)
www.surlatable.com (many high-end models)
While these delightful teacakes have been
around for centuries (they date back to the 18th century), it was Marcel
Proust in his novel, Remembrance of Things Past, which made them infamous.
Proust wrote, "She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes
called 'petites madeleines', which look as though they had been moulded in
the fluted scallop . . . An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses . .
The story goes that a little girl named Madeleine from the French town of Commercy made the cakes for the Duke of Lorraine. True madeleines de Commercy are made from egg yolks creamed with sugar and lemon zest with butter and flour. Their characteristic oval shell shape is how Madeleines are recognized and special pans are available in a variety of metals and the new heatproof silicone pans. The cakes can be baked, with equally good results, in muffin pans or even English bun pans, but they could not truly be called madeleines.
Of course, variations from the lemon flavoring provide interesting results such as vanilla, orange-flower water, spices and even chocolate. When cooled, these tea cakes are most often sprinkled with powdered sugar, but more modern finishing touches also has them with their tips dipped in melted chocolate. An English variation has them covered with jam and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. Most often, since they are teacakes, madeleines are eaten the same day they are baked and are dipped in tea or coffee.
Special equipment needed: 12-cup madeleine pan with special shell-shaped cups
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a pastry brush, thoroughly butter the madeleine pan. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.
Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are thick, creamy and pale yellow. Fold in the zest and juice being careful to not over stir the mixture and deflating the volume created from mixing. Then, alternating between the flour mixture and cooled, melted butter - gently fold them into the batter. Either leave batter in the bowl for placing in the prepared pan with a spoon or place the batter into a zip bag for piping into the pan.
Allow the batter to sit 10 minutes, then pipe or spoon the batter into the madeleine pan - distributing evenly between the 12 cups. Madeleines develop a characteristic cracked ‘hump’ when baking (like the top of a pound cake), so you don’t have to smooth the dough out completely in the shells. Give the filled pan a quick tap on the counter to remove air bubbles and bake for 12 - 15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks and dust with powdered sugar.
Best eaten the same day they are made, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days.
Yields 1 dozen.