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July 14, 2013

Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

{updated, with tiny correction in the recipe}
I've made madeleines before, but from a different recipe, one I found in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.  It may not sound like it, considering the source, but I think that first recipe was even more traditional than this one. I remember that making the batter involved whisking eggs and sugar into a warm froth over a double boiler. Very French pastry chef! After making them that way once or twice, and having them come out beautifully, I didn't have good luck with them when I made them again years later. But I was lucky enough to meet Dorie Greenspan around that time, along with some lovely blogging friends, and later I had a chance to ask her about it.  Apparently, the warmth and whisking is what gave them their leavening, and it's tricky to get it just right. 

{I love this picture {from her blog} ... and her Paris kitchen!}

I've finally tried Dorie's recipe, from her wonderful book Baking: baking from my home to yours. It has baking powder to do the work, and is so well-written, and so delicious. {The combination of lemon and vanilla was already one of my favorites; I remember the trick of rubbing the lemon zest into the sugar from some of her other recipes, and just doing that is lovely.} These are surprisingly easy to make, all in all, and they're light, and delicate, and amazing. Try to eat at least one of them while they're still warm.

Traditional Madeleines
borrowed from Baking:  from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan
for twelve large madeleines

{I'm giving the recipe here for making large madeleines, in a stand mixer, using a traditional metal -- not nonstick -- madeleine pan, as I did. Dorie also gives instructions for making minis, and/or making them by hand, and the book suggests adding other flavors. Earl Grey madeleines?  Mais oui!}

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of one lemon
two large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
softened {not melted} butter, a good tablespoon or two, for buttering the pan
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

In a small bowl {not in your mixer bowl, as other things go in there first} whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Working the bowl of your stand mixer, 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, beat the eggs and sugar together on medium-high speed until pale, thick and light, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix it in. Take the bowl off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to very gently fold in first the flour mixture, then the melted butter. When the batter is mixed, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of  the batter and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, or for up to 3 days. Dorie explains that refrigerating the batter helps to give the madeleines their classic, rounded shape.}

When you're ready to bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the madeleine shells generously with softened butter.  {I remember this from other recipes - the need to generously butter the pan, to keep the madeleines from sticking. Then lightly dust the shells with a little more flour, shaking out the excess.{I found that putting a few tablespoons of flour in a small strainer, and shaking it over the pan, as though I was dusting it with confectioners' sugar, worked very well.}

Spoon the chilled batter into the molds, filling them almost to the top. {Dorie says that you don't have to worry about filling them evenly or smoothing out the batter; the oven's heat will take care of that for you.}  Bake the madeleines for about 11 to 13 minutes, or until they are golden and the tops spring back when you touch them lightly with your finger.

Remove the pan from the oven and release the madeleines from the pan by rapping it gently on the counter {or -- for me -- nudging the straight end gently with a butter knife}.  Set the madeleines on a cooling rack to cool a little. Just before serving them dust them with confectioners' sugar.

The recommendation is to eat them the day they are made, but they can also be wrapped airtight and frozen.


Lisa said...

I've never been brave enough to bake these, but this recipe makes me want to try - as soon as I buy the proper pan! (and thanks, now I've got the Marseillaise stuck in my head - as sung in Casablanca for some reason :)

JoAnn said...

My unused Madeleine pan, that I HAD to have, will finally be tested...thank you!

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