My mom was a great baker. Everyone who knew her said so, and her breads and desserts were eagerly looked forward to at every family gathering. She had a real sweet tooth…my dad did too…and I can’t remember her ever serving a meal that didn’t have a dessert at the end. Cookies were a favorite and she had a particular fondness for madeleines, which she made often. She had a basic recipe that I still use today…it never occurred to me to try another one.
When my children were young I had an ancient set of tin madeleine pans that the cakes always stuck to no matter what I did to them and when they wore out I tossed them and forgot about the recipe that over the years worked its way to the bottom of my recipe file. Before my recent trip to Paris I asked my daughter what she would like me to bring home for her and to my surprise she said…MADELEINE PANS! She remembered them from when she was a little girl and wanted to try making them herself. Well…I couldn’t have been happier with that suggestion because it brought back all kinds of happy memories, and they were easy to pack as well! The best place to shop for kitchenware in Paris is E. DEHILLERIN. They carry every possible kitchen tool you could ever want and we knew that was the place to look for pans. I went back and forth between metal pans with a nonstick surface and silicone molds. The metal pans won out because of their more traditional shape and after making several recipes of madeleines I know I made a great choice. By the way, I also bought the best crepe pan, one that I have used since my first trip to Paris, that I will be giving away on my blog in the next few weeks. I hope you will watch for it and enter giveaway.
Madeleine batter must be handled carefully so it doesn’t deflate and produce a heavy, dry cake. Butter and flour the shells. I tried using a baking spray to compare results and it didn’t work. The baked cakes had a crusty surface and a detectable taste that was unpleasant. Scoop about a tablespoon of chilled batter into the indentations on the buttered, chilled pan and bake until just set and slightly browned around the edges (8-10 minutes depending on the pan size). I have made the batter with and without baking powder. Leaving it out produces a little heavier cake, adding it helps creates the hump that develops on the top of the cake. You will have to experiment with how much batter to use. One tablespoon, about 1 ounce (25g), fills my pan just right. Don’t try to spread out the dough. As it bakes it will fill the indentation.
Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pan until they are cool enough to handle, then dip the ridged side into the glaze and let dry on a wire rack. Don’t store them is an air tight bag because the glaze can liquify. I put them on a plastic wrap covered plate that allows a little air circulation and they stay nice and dry.
I have always been satisfied with this recipe, but recently I had the opportunity to taste madeleines from several well known patisseries and I would like to find a recipe that produces a lighter, finer textured cake. There are so many different techniques for making there wonderful little sweets. Do you have a favorite madeleine recipe that you would share? I’m going to try chocolate next…yum.
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ⅔ cup (130g) granulatled sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cup (175g) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
- 9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for preparing molds
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped of seeds
- 1 cup (150g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2+ tablespoons water
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap out any excess, and place in freezer.
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer whip eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
- Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter.
- Add vanilla bean paste to the cooled butter and mix well. Dribble the butter into the batter, a few tablespoons at a time, while folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is blended well.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12.
- To make the madeleines, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Put enough batter in the center of each indentation to fill it to ¾ full. You have to guess at this but don't worry. A rounded tablespoonful (25g) makes the right size for my pan. Don't try to spread out the dough.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes or until cakes feel just set and are slightly browned around the edges. Don't overbake or they can be dry.
- While cakes are baking, make a glaze of the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and water. Stir together with a small whisk until smooth.
- Remove cakes from the oven. Let cool about 5 minutes and then dip the ridged surface into the glaze, letting excess frosting drip back into the bowl. Dry on a baking rack until the glaze is firm.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm.
Thank you, Michael Lee, for being the quintessential Hostess with the Mostess.