With the round the world trip booked, we have started to pack up our home at an albeit very sluggish pace, However, I suddenly realised that a christmas present, that I requested, from my brother was still in its original packaging, my beautiful new Madeleine pans! With all the rush for getting sorted for this weekends wedding fair, I hadn’t had a chance to try it out and I was damned if I was going to pack them in a box for 8 months UNUSED! So, sunday night I dedicated to following a Madeleine recipe, in between my occupational procrastinating.
I’ve heard previously that you should leave the batter to rest in the fridge for traditional Madeleine’s, so I thought; do it once and do it right! As you can see I was hardly in a rush to get back to my to-do-list. (I really hope my husband doesn’t read this, although he was out anyway so we were both avoiding packing) Anyway, I looked in my very floury and creased Mary Berry cookbook but her recipe didn’t specify to refrigerate the mixture, so I went online and found this recipe which looked like a more traditional version. I will give Mary’s a go next time though, to see the difference in taste/texture, if any.
I have copied the recipe and put it here with my annotations – I really hope you can see that you don’t need to always follow recipes exactly and if you don’t have something in the cupboard, supplement it with something else, or leave it out if it’s a flavouring. If it doesn’t work, then what’s the big problem? I still get things wrong and I bake all the time!
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar – I used Caster Sugar, same difference!
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract – I used Vanilla Paste, its amazing and means you can see flecks of vanilla in the sponge when you eat it
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest (optional) – I didn’t do this by the way, but can see how it would be delicious! I will next time.
- 3 large eggs – I used Free range Organic medium eggs, this was fine
- 1 cup all-purpose flour – (Self-Raising flour!)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (Icing Sugar!)
This Madeleine’s recipe makes 24 shells.
Cream the butter and granulated sugar on high until it is light and fluffy. For about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest to the butter. Turn the mixer to low-speed and add the eggs, one at a time (give it a good minute in between each egg), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
Beat the mixture on medium-high for about 3 to 4 minutes, (I left it for 7-8 minutes) until the mixture has lightened in color and is very fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Very gently fold the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture (use the spatula to do this). Once the batter is smooth, cover it and transfer it to the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F (190 C). Generously grease 2 standard Madeleine pans (and very lightly dust with a sprinkle of flour) and spoon the cold batter into the molds. The batter is firm at this point, but don’t worry that it wont spread into the shells, it will as soon as it goes in the oven. One large/heaped teaspoon of mixture into each shell should be fine. to make 24 Bake them for 10 to 13 minutes, until they are puffed and turn golden brown. Invert the pans onto wire racks and give them a hard tap to remove the cookies from the molds. (I just ‘tickled’ my Madeleine’s out of the pan and they came out with no problems) Serve them warm dusted with a bit of confectioners’ sugar for the best flavor.
It’s Tuesday night and I just had one and it still tasted awesome, so keep them in an air tight container and they will be ok for a few days. One thing is for certain, you MUST dip them in your tea or coffee, the taste is ridiculous and they keep their structure and don’t fall apart! It must be the Madeleine Magic?
And now for a bit of Proust and his ‘petite Madeleine’…
“Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, on my return home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of those squat, plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. And soon, mechanically, dispirited after a dreary day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?
I drink a second mouthful, in which I find nothing more than in the first, then a third, which gives me rather less than the second. It is time to stop; the potion is losing it magic. It is plain that the truth I am seeking lies not in the cup but in myself. The drink has called it into being, but does not know it, and can only repeat indefinitely, with a progressive diminution of strength, the same message which I cannot interpret, though I hope at least to be able to call it forth again and to find it there presently, intact and at my disposal, for my final enlightenment. I put down the cup and examine my own mind. It alone can discover the truth. But how: What an abyss of uncertainty, whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself; when it, the seeker, is at the same time the dark region through which it must go seeking and where all its equipment will avail it nothing. Seek? More than that: create. It is face to face with something which does not yet exist, to which it alone can give reality and substance, which it alone can bring into the light of day.
And I begin to ask myself what it could have been, this unremembered state which brought with it no logical proof, but the indisputable evidence, of its felicity, its reality, and in whose presence other states of consciousness melted and vanished. I decide to attempt to make it reappear. I retrace my thoughts to the moment at which I drank the first spoonful of tea. I rediscover the same state, illuminated by no fresh light. I ask my mind to make one further effort, to bring back once more the fleeting sensation. And so that nothing may interrupt it in its course I shut out every obstacle, every extraneous idea, I stop my ears and inhibit all attention against the sound from the next room. And then, feeling that my mind is tiring itself without having any success to report, I compel it for a change to enjoy the distraction which I have just denied it, to think of other things, to rest refresh itself before making a final effort. And then for the second time I clear an empty space in front of it; I place in position before my mind’s eye the still recent taste of that first mouthful, and I feel something start within me, something that leaves its resting-place and attempts to rise, something that has been embedded like an anchor at a great depth; I do not know yet what it is, but I can feel it mounting slowly; I can measure the resistance, I can hear the echo of great spaces traversed.”