There’s nothing like home-made madeleines…. Bonne Maman, look out, you have competition! If you don’t know what madeleines are, those are those shell-shaped little cakes that are an airy goodness. The store-bought kind is a hit and miss to find in Canada. Some bakeries would make them, but then again, depending on where you live, independent, family-owned bakeries are kind of an extinct species in N. America as well. Also, finding the pan was proving to be difficult (again, depending where you live) and when you did find it, kind of pricey. So, I was nagging a certain someone to send me madeleines every so often and that certain someone got annoyed LOL and one day instead of a bag of Bonne Maman madeleines, she sent me a cookbook and a silicone mould, “So that you stop asking me to send you madeleines!” hahaha Probably the best gift ever!
Now, it was finally time to try David Lebovitz’s madeleine recipe that I was eyeing all this time (I had been separated from my cookbook, you see…). He glazes his with some lemon glaze. I would have needed powdered sugar for the glaze and didn’t feel like splurging on something not so necessary and besides, they are awesome as they are and I know he would agree. I think, I think ! I added the right amount of sugar as he specified and I find them a bit sweet…. (I am saying “I think” because I don’t know how accurate my measuring cup here is…) Also, it is me who added 1 pack of vanilla sugar on top of the sugar amount. But that little bit of sugar could not have made them this sweet. Maybe David likes his sweeter than I do : -)
The following wasn’t the case for me, but David mentions it: he says baking powder is optional, and if you do use it, to let them bake longer cause they’ll rise more. I did add the baking powder and baked them for 9 minutes (his maximum suggested time) and they were fine.
There is Dorie Greenspan’s recipe I want to try too. David puts the lemon zest in the butter and then pours that in the batter. Dorie, on the other hand, as always, says to rub the zest with the sugar to get the oils out. I have used Dorie’s tip for other cakes and it does bring out the zest (more so on my hands that I then can’t remove them from my nose! haha) and I want to see if it’ll make a difference in the madeleines.
I let the batter rest and infuse in the fridge overnight. You do need to let it cool in the fridge for at least an hour. But I let it sit overnight. I think it was easier to work with the next day. I placed plastic wrap directly on the batter, because I was afraid of a crust situation. Furthermore, I used a small spoon to spoon maximum ¾ teaspoonful in my mini madeleine moulds and used my fingers to drop it off in the mould (the batter will be quite cold and … not stiff, but definitely not runny). It is easier if that hand is wet, it would stick less.
I don’t know if you can use a different pan to make the madeleines…. a mini muffin pan?! I have never tried. I don’t know if the taste and texture will be the same because no matter what you do, I think that even a mini muffin would still be bigger than even a normal sized madeleine.
When it comes to flavor, you can add pretty much anything: lemon zest, orange zest, almond extract, orange flower water, melted chocolate, honey, maple syrup, etc etc etc… You can fill them with jam (fill have the mould with batter, add a bit of jam, top with the other half of batter), or press a nut/dried fruit/caramel on the top of the batter before baking….
According to me, this is the cookie cake that goes best with coffee. Bar none.
3 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cups (130 gr) sugar
1/8 tsp (one knife tip) salt
1 ¼ cup (175 gr) flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of one small lemon
1 packet vanilla sugar
9 tbsp (120 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (plus a little bit for buttering the moulds)
1. Beat the eggs and the sugar till frothy with a mixer. (someone here was warming up her cold eggs in warm water and then grabbed one egg, cracked it open in the mixer’s bowl while all still wet. A few drops of water fell in with the egg, before she realized that that drop of water may not let the eggs beat nicely. Oops. Yes, they may have needed a bit more beating due to that one drop of water, but we’re not making mousse and the cakes turned out perfectly. Besides, I have made cakes and madeleine especially when I had had not even a whisk, but only a fork!)
2. Slowly, sift in the dry ingredients in the batter and fold them in while using a spatula. These are airy cakes and even if your eggs were not properly fully beaten, do go easy when adding the flour. The cakes don’t deserve a beating.
3. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter and slowly add that to the batter and keep folding in with the spatula.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1h or overnight.
5. Preheat the oven to 425C/215C.
6. Butter the moulds. I even buttered my silicone moulds (I buttered them only for the first batch). If using a tin pan, then butter and flour them and shake the excess.
7. Fill the moulds with what you think is ¾ full. Some will turn out smaller some will turn out larger, it is no big deal. Don’t spread the batter (I don’t know how you could, it’ll stick on the butter knife/spoon).
8. Bake for maximum 9 minutes. Do not overbake. I baked them first in the middle rack and then in second-to-top rack (as David suggested) and they browned better on top, much nicer and less pale.
9. Take out and let cool. Let the pans cool before you fill them with the next batch (I was reading, Dorie was suggesting to cool the pans entirely before adding the new batch, since the cool pans will help the madeleines have a hump. One, maybe my silicone pans heat less than the tin ones, two, the cold batter is cold enough and three, if you add them quickly, before the butter in the batter starts melting in the mould, I think you should be fine. I hate to waste energy and have the oven on while I twiddle my thumbs and wait for the pans to cool… Sorry, Dorie…)
10. Enjoy your madeleines with coffee or tea, and please, control yourselves. Not all at once! 🙂
*David says it makes 24 regular sized madeleines, I had 40 mini madeleines. They’re best the day they’re made, but a couple of days won’t hurt. Besides, they’re so good, they don’t last any longer anyway!