Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie—Madeleines

Madeleines à la ProustFrom a Florida state pie to a cookie that could be France’s national cookie, we’re globetrotting with Tuesdays with Dorie. A Madeleine is a cake-like cookie that can be flavored with almost anything, shaped like a shell, has a definitive bump, and was made famous by Proust.

I had never tasted Madeleines before, but I definitely ate a lifetime’s worth after they came out of the oven! I even made some tea to dip my famous Madeleine in, and oh, how delicious. My memories of those Madeleines will last a lifetime.

History
So much has been written about Proust and the history of the Madeleine. I don’t want to repeat it all here, but I’ll send you to some of the best links I found on the subject:
• An article in search of the original Proustian Madeleine recipe
• A bit of history about Madeleines
• A fun comparison of Madeleines and macarons
• A famous food blogger blogs about Madeleines
• An interesting podcast with Jonah Lehrer about his book Proust Was a Neuroscientist

Mishaps
I decided to try making both the Earl Grey Madeleines and the Traditional Madeleines for comparison. Since I’m new to this Madeleine world, I needed the traditional as a baseline of what a true Madeleine is. But the Earl Grey ones sounded too delicious to pass up.

Things didn’t go smoothly for my first batch of Earl Grey Madeleines. At first, things were going along swimmingly. I had steeped the tea leaves in the butter, as the recipe says. I prepared the dry ingredients, mixed up the sugar, zest, and eggs, and vanilla. Then, I carefully added the dry ingredients. Finally, I added the butter steeped with tea leaves, BUT I forgot to strain the tea leaves! I didn’t feel confident that so many tea leaves would be pleasant to eat, so I had to start over.

The second time, I questioned whether I had enough melted butter after straining the tea leaves. I only had about 2 tablespoons of butter and the recipe called for 5, so 3 tablespoons were attached to the tea leaves. I went ahead with the recipe, and they thankfully turned out. I maybe should have left mine in the oven longer to get the beautiful brown hue, but they tasted fine and were cooked through.

Variations
Earlier in the week, I’d made some Lemon Cream for the Sugar High Fridays event, and Madeleines dipped in Lemon Cream were delicious.

Also, Nutella or Dulce de Leche sandwiched between two traditional Madeleines is a treat too.

Pound Cake versus Madeleines
In my reading, I found out that pound cake ingredients are a lot like Madeleines. I have a tried and true recipe for lemon pound cake that I love to make. Comparing the two recipes, the pound cake has ¼ cup more sugar, ¾ tablespoons more butter, and 2 tablespoons each of milk and lemon juice. I tried making this pound cake recipe as Madeleines, including chilling the batter for 3 hours.
Lemon pound cake à la madeleinesFor the most part, they worked. They overflowed and exploded a bit in the oven, some had holes in them, but some looked good, and they were tasty. The recipe is more lemony and sweeter than the traditional Madeleines. They had more of a crunch around the edges too. The pound cake also has a lemon glaze which would be nice on the Madeleines. If I were doing this again, I would use lemon zest instead of juice and reduce the amount of milk to eliminate the oven cleaning required (or put the Madeleine pan on a baking sheet-duh!). I can see getting more use out of my newly purchased Madeleine pan by trying different recipes like this with it.

Recipe
Mini MadeleinesYou can find the recipe for Madeleines at Tara's blog called Smells Like Home or in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger!

MadeleinesTasting Notes
These cake-like cookies are going to be a favorite around here, I can tell. I left the bowl of Madeleines out with the icing sugar sprinkler next to it, and in no time, the Madeleines disappeared. I’ve read you can refresh them in the oven, but who has time for that!

I enjoyed the Earl Grey ones more and my daughter enjoyed the traditional ones more, so we were a good team. I hope she has fond memories of Madeleines when she’s older, and I plan on making these often. I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate and marshmallow fluff versions in Dorie’s cookbook someday.

Recipe for Next Week (May 27)
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns on pages 51-53 chosen by Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen.





31 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

I love your teacup and saucer! The madeleines look wonderful.

Jacque said...

Your pictures came out so nice! I appreciate the links to information on madelaines... I can now say I learned something today :)

Bumblebutton said...

They are very sweet. I was really interested in your lemon cake batter results, too. Nice job!

CRS said...

They look fantastic. Great work.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Those look magnificent! So delicate!

kim said...

great work, the madeleines look wonderful! i will definitely try the earl grey flavor in the future!

ostwestwind said...

I love your teacup. It fits perfectly to the madeleines, small bump?

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Madam Chow said...

Beautiful, elegant photos. And I can't tell you what a comfort it is to read that other people goof up, too!

Melissa said...

Lovely! Yours look great!

Sharon said...

They look great! Since I didn't have a pan I didn't event look at the recipe, but now I will.....marshmellow and chocolate?!?

Rebecca said...

Madeleines and lemon cream ... Yum.

Mara said...

wow love the writeup...madeleine's as pound cake hmmmm!!! love the little holes inside, yummy. i did brownies which came out YUM but i am kind of sad that i didn't do madeleine's now!

mimi said...

love your tea set, how perfect with the dainty madeleine!

Dianne said...

They look perfect!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

madeleines dipped in lemon cream....oooo. that picture of the mad with the hole in it is wacky!

Tarah said...

I love how you present these. The tea cup it adorable! And your madeleines look wonderful!!

Christine said...

Your picture of the cup of tea and the madeleine is beautiful! Good job!

Garrett said...

Nutella between two madeleines? I wouldn't have thought of it, but it sounds magnificent!

Heather said...

yum! They look delicious! Love the idea of eating them with lemon cream!

Aardvark Cakes said...

Ooh your variations sound delish! Love the cup! Hx

bakersbakery said...

Your teacup and saucer are killing me, so dainty!

Katie B. said...

Your madeleines are so so pretty! I love your photo set-up!

CB said...

You always blow me away with your presentation and write up! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Lore said...

Very instructive post and the madeleines, well Proust might have been left speechless in front of these :)

rainbowbrown said...

Awesome write-up, as usual. Beautiful madeleines.

Jaime said...

so cute! great job!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Lemon cream dipped madeleines....you're killing me!!! I'm so curious about the Earl Grey madeleines, I can't wait to make them!

The Kitchen Vixen said...

They look so light and fluffy. Great job;)

LyB said...

Your madeleines look so dainty and cute! They look divine with that cup of tea, very chic!

missy said...

i have always wanted to make madeleines, but have never gotten around to buying a pan. yours look scrumptious, perfect with coffee! have a great long weekend!

Jayne said...

I did a double-take when I saw your teacup and saucer pattern - I have one kind of similar that belonged to my great-grandmother. Your madeleines look lovely.