Madeleines

I’m the type of traveller who stocks up on food while away. I’ve never understood why people spend their hard-earned money on art or knock-off purses when they could fill their bags with fancy mustards, biscuits, or olive oils from places they’ve visited.. just as I’m convinced they all think I’m a nutter for making room in my bags for multiple tins of fancy teas. To each their own, right?

I love madeleines and fell in love with them while on a trip to France several years ago. Before returning home, I decided to stop in at the nearest grocery store to our rented apartment in Paris to stock up on madeleines. I bought multiple family sized bags and carefully placed them in my overflowing carry-on bag, in hopes that they’d make their way back to Vancouver without being squished

I still very vividly remember needing, mid-flight, to get something from my bag. I stood up, opened the overhead compartment, opened the top of my bag and was suddenly assaulted by said bags of madeleines flying at my face. Of course, which I hadn’t thought about at the time of packing, the change in air pressure meant that each bag puffed up to the size of a big pillow, and once they’d escaped from my bag there wasn’t a hope in hell that I was getting them back in before we’d landed on terra firma. I’ll never forget the look of horror on the flight attendant’s face, and knew she was probably asking herself why I hadn’t just gone with a damn Hermes scarf like most tourists!

The madeleines were fine in the end, and it was definitely worth the effort to get them home with me. But because I knew it would be years before I returned to France, I decided to splurge and buy myself a madeleine tin. What seemed like a brilliant (yet expensive) idea at the time, turned out to be another example of me buying a kitchen piece that would spend more time collecting dust than seeing much use. I used it once.

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While in Paris this most recent time, Stephanie and I munched on Bonne Maman Madeleines. Not nearly as good as non-commercially made, but these were still perfect for a quick hotel room snack!

Recently I was hit with a strong desire to pull out my madeleine tin and make them again. I am happy that I did because they turned out well enough to make me want to try my hand at baking again soon. I look forward to experimenting with different flavours too, like Earl Grey tea.

madeleine


Ingredients

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter (6 ounces)
  • 2 Tbsp softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
  • 3/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the 3/4 c of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes.
  3. Strain (using a coffee filter over a mesh strainer) – you want to leave the solids behind. Cool the butter to room temperature.
  4. While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter to grease the madeleine moulds. Be sure to butter the top of the tin too! dust with flour, then tap out any excess flour.
  5. In a large bowl, using a hand-held blender, whisk eggs and salt on high speed until thick – you are looking for the eggs to roughly double or triple in volume – approximately 3 minutes. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbon-y. Now with a spatula fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).
  6. Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture, only stirring enough to bring everything together.
  7. Spoon the batter into the moulds, filling each mould 2/3 – 3/4 full. If you find it easier, use a piping bag to do this.
  8. Bake the madeleines for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmould immediately. Cool on racks.
  9. This recipe makes 2 -3 dozen regular madeleines.


Bon appetit!

– Marla

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