Saturday, October 11, 2008

Traditional Madeleines

I knew that walking into Sur La Table would be trouble -- it always is. I managed to skirt past the people browsing the section with a big red "SALE" sign; I put down the cutest little paella pan; I did not succumb to the call of the tart rings. In my tiny kitchen, every new item has to be absolutely necessary and do double or even triple duty, but there was something about that mini Madeleine pan that I just could not resist. Like a screen siren of days long gone, it called to me with its lush curves and sexy lines. I was a lost woman.

Eager to try out my new purchase, I made the first recipe from my "baking bible" -- the Dorie Greenspan "Baking" cookbook. The dough behaved beautifully and was easy to make, and my little honeys baked up with a most characteristic "hump." I was not so sold on the taste, however, as I thought the crumb was a little too dense (maybe it was my technique, as it was my first time ever making Madeleines). The flavor was wonderful, though-- vanilla sweetness and just enough of a hint of lemon. All in all, let us simply say that my quest for the perfect Madeleine is just beginning.

Traditional Madeleines
(Dorie Greenspan)
Makes 12 cookies or 24 minis

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 stick (6 T) 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 and beat eggs and sugar on medium speed until pale, thick and light, 2-3 min. 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 for at least 3 hrs, or for up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 400F and center a rack in the oven. Butter and flour the Madeleine pan or spray non-stick pan with cooking spray. Spoon the batter into molds, filling each one almost to the top -- don't spread the batter. Bake large Madeleines 11-13 minutes and minis 8-10 minutes, or until the top is golden and springs back when touched. Remove the pan and release the Madeleines from the molds by rapping the edge of the pan against the counter. Gently pry any recalcitrant cookies from the pan using your fingers or a butter knife. Cool to room temperature.

Note: these are MUCH better the day they are baked, so I would suggest refrigerating the dough overnight and baking in the morning!


ChichaJo said...

Oooh! I have loooong wanted those mini-madeleine pans...soon!

Your madeleines look wonderful! :)

limonana said...

these look lovely! my mother used to have a set of mini-madeleine pans years ago, you've inspired me to go find them! :o)

Anonymous said...

Irene, your photos are stunning. I love the one of the whisk especially but they're all gorgeous. I failed miserably at my first attempt at madeleines. I haven't tried again. You've inspired me to. Why do you think it was a little too dense? Mine were like nasty little rocks.

Irene said...

Joey - thank you! I just love anything mini. :)

Limonana - you are so lucky to have your mom's things to cook with! By the way, I absolutely love your paintings.

Syrie - your story totally cracked me up. I know exactly how you feel with the kitchen disasters. Thank you, I'm particularly fond of the whisk photo. :D

SYD said...

Those Madeleines were yummy, Irene. Yes, they were a bit dense, but maybe they baked for a bit too long? Dense or not, I absolutely enjoyed every single bite.