Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ode to Madeleine(s)

My first born child will be named Madeleine.    Madeleine Sophia.    Or Sophia Madeleine.  


Or something altogether different if she shows up as a boy instead.  

Are baby names like weddings?   Do little girls dream of these and compile lists of their favorites?   I did.    Well, on the baby name part anyway.   Somehow I missed dreaming about planning my wedding.   I know, that doesn't seem quite right when I say that out loud.   Oh well.  It is fun to fantasize about what might lie ahead.  

So in honor of my (potential) future, I'm dedicating today's post to the Madeleine.   We are moving away from the baby arena and on to the sweet delicate french cake of the same name.   I have to confess that while in Paris, I never once had a madeleine.  I saw them.  I knew of them.  I just never had one.  


In fact, given this background, I certainly didn't think of purchasing a madeleine pan while compiling my lists of must have things to bring home from Paris.    My list had all kinds of other things, but not this.     It turns out that on one of my shopping afternoons at the Place du Madeleine, poking around all of the amazing gourmet shops, with dreams of filling my luggage with all kinds of french treats, I had a sort of a reality check.

First, I remembered the hassle of flying into Paris with my severely overweight and therefore, expensive, luggage.   Then, I had a vision of arriving in customs and being peppered with questions about bringing in live fruits and animals and things from the farm.   In my vision, I panic, which is immediately seen by the officer who yanks me out of line and demands that I open my suitcase right then and there.    I am surrounded by sniffing dogs.   I am no longer in fear of things like underwear popping out, but now of strawberry jams, delicate honey's, french teas and all types of other things that will probably have me somehow banned from returning to the country.

Yes, I have a little anxiety issue.    Regardless, I just wasn't willing to take the risk.

Which made me a very sad customer.    

Which also brings me back to the reason for this post, the madeleine.  

While perusing Fauchon, one of my favorite shops, with all of its hot pink and black gorgeousness, I run across a table of pans.   Tucked away in the back.   In vibrant silicone.    And there it was, a sweet, hot pink, mini little madeleine pan.  


Just the perfect size for my suitcase.   Flat, flexible, and non-edible.   Definitely not from the farm.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  

I am happy to report it made it back in tact and it produces the sweetest little cakes you've ever seen.   I know they are supposed to resemble scalloped edges, but whenever I see these, I think kitty paws.    They are so cute.   Light as air.   Fluffy.   Perfect tea time treat.

This recipe is minimally adapted from the fabulous version found on 101 Cookbooks.  I added honey to my version which gives these a beautiful and very light honey lemon essence.  

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter with extra for greasing the pan
3/4 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
zest from a large lemon
1 and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 teaspoon honey (I used lavender scented)
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by clarifying the butter.    Melt the butter on medium low heat.    Stir regularly for about 15-20 minutes until butter turns a little brown and has a nice cooked aroma to it.    Solids should be floating on the top.    Strain solids from butter and allow the butter to cool in small dish.   Set aside.

While butter is cooling, prepare your pan.  I used a mini madeleine pan, silicone version.    Butter and dust with flour.   Shake excess flour from pan.    Set aside.

In large bowl, beat eggs and pinch of salt for about 3 minutes until appears light, foamy and doubles/triples in volume.    Slowly begin to add in the sugar, while continuing to beat the egg mixture.   Whip this at high speed for another 2-3 minutes until creamy.

Fold in the lemon zest, honey and vanilla.   It is important to maintain the volume and air in the egg sugar mixture as this is necessary for the cake to obtain a sponge like airy texture upon completion.  

Gently fold in the flour just until incorporated.   Do not overmix.  

Spoon out filling into prepared pan.    Try for about 2/3 full.    

Place pan in oven and bake for 7-8 minutes.  (Longer for larger version).     Immediately remove from pan to cool.  


Dust with powdered sugar after cooling.


A few lessons learned that I'll pass along to you.   It is really easy to overfill these.   If you do, they will rise up over the top and connect to the other madeleines which completely destroys the dainty effect you are trying to achieve.   Be patient as filling them.   There is no rush.

Enjoy!

7 comments:

  1. Beautiful name & yummy looking food

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  2. hahHAHhahHAHHAHAHahhaahhaa! kitty paws!! i'll never look at a madeleine the same again. :D (this is especially funny if you know that the hubbers likes to pretend he's going to bit the kittens paws when they are being bad and clawing him. couple that with yelling "paws not claws! PAWS NOT CLAWS!" and there you have it.)

    i have to say, you are quite the baker. i am seriously impressed with how beautiful yous have turned out. :)

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  3. Madeleine is a beautiful name, I think I like Madeleine Sophia best...not that my opinion matters on the topic but it sounds lovely! It's a good thing I don't live in NC anymore or you would see me on your doorstep begging to try these cookies.

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  4. Looks like they turned out beautifully! (I bet they were yummy too!). I'm glad you were able to take a bit of Paris home with you :)

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  5. They look delicious. I've never had one, I always thought they were cookies not cakes. Now I need to try one!

    I love the name Madeleine (always have since, "There was an old house in Paris..." and even more since Madeline L'Engle). Your potential future daughter should be glad you've got this all planned out!

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  6. They look absolutely adorable! I love the plate as well, very French ;-)

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  7. Mmmm, these look magnifique, as they say in Paris!

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Thanks so much for your comments! I love hearing from you and read each and every one!