Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Mad About Madeleines

I have never read anything by Marcel Proust. I did get to see a reconstruction of his corklined bedroom in Paris, back in 2006 [in the Musee Carnavalet] but that's as near as I have been to French Culture. But I do know that in his "Remembrance of Things Past" he writes this...

No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence.
All this pleasure brought on by eating Madeleines, dainty little shell-shaped sponge cakes with an intriguing history. Thus far in my life, I have only eaten the ones from Bonne Maman. Liz brought a bag with her when we went on our trip to Champneys two years ago [B.M. had paid for our prize-winning visit]
Last year I purchased a Mini Madeleine Mould in Lidl. It has been in the back of the cupboard since.
But it's "Use it or Lose it" during Lent- so I decided I would make some Madeleines myself. I used the recipe from the BBC Food Website
2 free-range eggs
100g/3½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 lemon, juice and zest
¾ tsp baking powder
100g/3½oz butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus extra for greasing

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Brush the madeleine tray with melted butter then shake in a little flour to coat, tapping out the excess.
Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a bowl until frothy. Lightly whisk in the remaining ingredients. Leave to stand for 20 minutes before carefully pouring into the prepared madeleine tray.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture has risen a little in the middle and is fully cooked through. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes to cool slightly. These are best eaten within an hour of cooking.
Results- well, these were surprisingly easy to make. The quantity above made enough batter to fill my moulds twice over - and with the first batch I over filled the moulds and they spread a little, so were not quite beautiful shell shapes. Batch 2 was better. But they were light and delicious. 
There was no way I was going to let Bob eat all of them within an hour of baking, whatever the recipe said. We ate a few with a cup of tea as per Marcel, and had a few more later - but I froze the rest in small boxes, and they are still ok if you defrost them a day or more later. Maybe not quite as perfect as Monsieur Proust would want, but fine by me.
Here they are- mine are about the size of an egg, as you see - the bought ones are nearly twice as long.
They were delicious and delicate [and easy] - and I will make them again -  and so the mould is staying. 
Do you like Madeleines?
Is there another 'food from literature' which you enjoy?


  1. I do like Madeleines, but I have not tried making them! I'm afraid I WOULD eat them all within 1 hour of baking, so, it is probably best that I don't make any at all! LOL.

  2. The advantage of these mini ones is that 3 = 1 "normal" size. I don't feel so bad about eating a couple (providing I diligently freeze the rest straightaway) They were very easy to make. Perhaps you should make a batch when you have visitors, I am sure they'd help you eat them all up.

  3. I've eaten Madelines but never made any! I am a bit scared of baking to be honest! I don't know why, perhaps because any baking I did in HE at school always went wrong! The good thing is that these are a bit smaller- I much prefer little cakes!!

  4. I have a madeleine pan and have made them once many many years ago. Maybe I should pull it out and try again but that hour limit? We could probably make that!

  5. I've never tasted homemade Madelines ... but I'm guessing like a homemade scone they are so much more delicious straight out of the oven eaten freshly made. So much better than packaged and left in the supermarket for weeks on end.

  6. If my calculations are right, is it about your birthday now?? Happy Birthday!

    1. Yes Carole - thank you. Sunrise on 10th April is earlier in NZ!


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