Madeleines have been on my must-bake list for some time but I have only recently bought a mould! These buttery shell-shaped little sponge cakes traditionally flavoured with vanilla, lemon or almonds instantly remind me of France and they are so easy to make! In France they are often dipped into tea to eat.
I used Mary Berry's recipe from her Baking Bible......
3 large eggs
150g(5oz) caster sugar
150g (5oz)self-raising flour
½ level teaspoon baking powder
grated rind of one lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Grease a madeleine tray, dust with flour and shake off any excess.
2. Melt the butter in a small pan and allow to cool slightly.
3. Put the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until pale and thick.
4. Sift in half the flour with the baking powder along with the lemon rind and fold in gently. Pour in half the melted butter around the edge of the bowl and fold in. Repeat the process with the remaining flour and butter. Spoon the mixture into the prepared moulds so that it is just level with the tops.
4. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes until well risen, golden and springy to the touch. Ease out of the moulds with a small palette knife and cool on a wire rack. Grease and flour the moulds again and repeat until all the mixture has been used up.
The madeleines are best on the day of making (they are so delicious and moreish that they won't last long!) Wonderful eaten fresh from the oven with a cup of creamy cappuccino ......
Some would say that a traditional metal madeleine tray gives a better result but I was certainly very pleased with these and it's so easy to get the madeleines out of a silicone tray!
There are many stories about the origins of madeleine cakes but the most popular seems to be that in the 18th century Madeleine, a young maid in Commercy in the east of France baked these for Stanislaw Leszczynski, the deposed King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine, who sent some to his daughter Maria, wife of Louis XV and she then introduced them to the court at Versailles.
The madeleine was immortalised in Marcel Proust's book 'A la Recherche du Temps Perdu' where a taste of the cake dipped in tea immediately takes him back to his childhood. 'Proust's madeleine' has since become a metaphor for anything which creates a vivid memory!
PS The English madeleine is baked in a dariole mould, brushed with jam, rolled in dessicated coconut and topped with a glacé cherry.
|English madeleine photo|
and recipe from here