I never thought I’d make madeleines, let alone write about them!! Last few months I’ve been seeing them EVERYWHERE….on the internet, instagram, Pinterest, my cookbooks. These charming dainty French cakes /cookies took such a hold over me that I was quite certain this world is a better place all because of them!!
Madeleines are scallop shaped French tea cakes which are ribbed are on one side and have a characteristic hump on the other. Buttery with a tender crumb, delicately flavored with lemon and lavender. All they need is a shower of icing sugar….and they are ready to eat. They are best eaten fresh, still warm from the oven, with a cup of tea and an occasional dunking in it.
So with madeleines calling me incessantly, I just had to make some, didn’t I? Once I received the madeleine baking pan from an online store, I was all set. Turns out they aren’t all that difficult to make, nor do they need any fancy ingredients, with the exception of edible lavender used in this recipe. You can easily omit it and not cause any damage to the baked product. If you’re interested in the lavender though, you can get it from this dear little tea shop Mittal Tea in Sunder Nagar, New Delhi.
The Madeleine was made famous by Marcel Proust in his novel ‘Remembrance of Things Past’. Their origin is said to be in the French town of Commercy, in the region of Lorraine, during the 18th century. There is a story that these cakes were served to Stanislaw Lezczynski, Duke of Lorraine, and he like them so much he named them “Madeleines” after the girl who made them. – Joy of Baking
When making madeleines –
1. Fold the flour and melted butter in gently. Avoid overmixing.
2. Chill the batter for at least 3 hours. This ensures the cakes get that distinctive hump. A lot of recipes also recommend chilling the baking pan. I did not follow that suggestion.
3. Do grease and flour the molds very well, if using a traditional madeleine pan. Non stick ones are very reliable as are the silicon ones ( these are what I have).
THE RECIPE adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
All purpose flour – 3/4 cup / 106 gms
Baking powder – 1/2 tsp
Butter – 70 gms
Lavender – 2 Tbsp
Sugar – 1/3 cup / 65 gms
Eggs – 2
Honey – 2 Tbsp
Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
How to :
Melt butter in microwave or in a small saucepan over low heat. Add lavender and let it infuse for 15 -20 minutes. Strain it in a small bowl. Discard the leaves.
Sift together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
Rub lemon zest in the sugar with your fingertips, until fragrant.
Beat eggs with the lemony sugar in a large bowl till pale and thick. Add the honey and vanilla and beat for another minute.
Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a spatula. Then slowly fold in the butter. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the batter for a minimum of 3 hours or for up to 2 days.
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and flour 12 madeleine molds. If you have a silicone pan, no prep is needed.
Spoon the batter into the molds, about three-quarters of the way. There is no need to level the batter.
Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until they are golden and tops are springy to touch.
Turn them out on a cooling rack. Makes 15 cookies
Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy with a cup of tea, some soothing music and watch them disappear….!