I first discovered Madeleines during an impulse buy at Starbucks. The spongy cakes were very cute, and they went perfectly with my caramel macchiato. I know, not exactly an authentic Proustian experience, but I'd never actually seen them anywhere else. That's why I was intrigued when Tara from Smells Like Home chose Traditional Madeleines for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Thanks to the lovely Laurie, we could have picked an alternate recipe, but I had my heart set on the Madeleines.
I knew A. would roll his eyes in exasperation about another new pan, so I tried to keep it a secret. Unfortunately, he found out, and there was much eye-rolling involved... luckily, he thought they were pretty good (but still not worth the pantry space... oh well!)
I thought the recipe was fairly quick and easy. I took the suggestion from here and browned and strained my butter first, which I thought gave the cookies a lovely flavor. I was actually shocked that they baked up well, considering how weird my batter was. After I added in the butter, it never fully came together, so there was sort of a runny layer of batter underneath. When I baked them, though, they all came out nice and puffy.
I made the recipe twice, the first time intending to give them to my aunt, since she loves the Starbucks variety. I made the batter ahead of time and baked them a day later. I was rushing to get out the door, so I didn't have time to photograph the finished product, but they were very puffy and well done. The only pan they had at BB&B was dark colored, and I forgot to reduce the oven temperature, so they came out much browner on the fluted side. In any case, my aunt said that she loved them!
Since I obviously had to get a photo of the end result, I made another batch last night. This time, the batter only got a few hours of rest instead of overnight, but they came out pretty much the same (a bit better, since I adjusted the temperature and cooking time). A lot of other TWD-ers said that they had problems getting the "hump" on the back... mine certainly puffed, but there wasn't really the characteristic hump... quite possibly, I overfilled the molds.
94 g all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
99 g sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Working in a mixer bowl, or in a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl. Working with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, very gently fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the melted butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 2 days. This long chill period will help the batter form the hump that is characteristic of madeleines. (For convenience, you can spoon the batter into the madeleine molds, cover and refrigerate, then bake the cookies directly from the fridge; see below for instructions on prepping the pans.)
Making the batter: sugar and lemon zest, beating the egg whites, folding in the flour, finished batter
GETTING READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F Note: I baked at 375 degrees F. Butter 12 full-size madeleine molds, or up to 36 mini madeleine molds, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Or, if you have a nonstick pan (or pans), give it a light coating of vegetable cooking spray. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed. Place the pan(s) on a baking sheet.
Batter after its 3-hour nap
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each one almost to the top. Don't worry about spreading the batter evenly, the oven's heat will take care of that.
Bake large madeleines for 11 to 13 minutes Note: mine were done after 10 minutes, and minis for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan(s) from the oven and release the madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant madeleines from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature.
Kind of a weird video because I didn't keep the camera in the same place, but I hope you like it!
If you are making minis and have more batter, bake the next batch(es), making certain that you cool, then properly prepare the pan(s) before baking.
Just before serving, dust the madeleines with confectioners' sugar.
makes 12 large or 36 mini cookies
serving: Serve the cookies when they are only slightly warm or when they reach room temperature, with tea or espresso.
storing: Although the batter can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, the madeleines should be eaten soon after they are made. You can keep them overnight in a sealed container, but they really are better on day 1. If you must store them, wrap them airtight and freeze them; they'll keep for up to 2 months.
--end of recipe--
As always, check out the TWD blogroll for everyone else's entries!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008