Tuesdays with Dorie: Traditional MadeleinesMay 20, 2008 at 3:37 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, cookies & bars, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 55 Comments
I’d been crossing my fingers that Tara of Smells Like Home would choose a cookie for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. Then Tara picked Dorie’s Traditional Madeleines–score! I know that a madeleine is really cake in cookie’s clothing, but after all the hard-core desserting I’ve been doing (and still have left to do this month), I was happy to have something that’s just a sweet bite.
I have fond voluntary (as opposed to Proustian-ha!) memories of these little scalloped-shaped cuties. Actually my memories are quite recent, as we made madeleines as part of the petits fours plate at the restaurant I last worked for. That recipe uses browned butter and almond flour, and we made a variety of flavors, from lavender to lemon-thyme, depending on what we felt like or what we had available.
Dorie’s recipe is flavored with lemon zest, and even though she doesn’t instruct you to brown the melted butter, I went ahead and did it anyway. Browned butter just has such a beautiful flavor, I used my non-stick mini madeleine pan (which is the only one I have, and trust me, you still need to grease it well) to bake them off, and made half of Dorie’s recipe. Rather than sprinkling them with powdered sugar before serving, I tossed the still-warm madeleines in some finely ground vanilla sugar.
I will say that these make very good little lemony tea cakes. They are soft and light and tasty (do bake them right when you are ready to eat them though, as they stale quickly). But I have one gripe. If we are talking about “tradition” here, then madeleines are supposed to have a bump on their backsides. We learned in culinary school that the bump is desirable, and our instructor said that madeleines are often presented with their bums in the air (rather than scalloped side up) to show them off. Dorie calls for chilling the batter for at least three hours to help form this bump. The same day I made the batter, I baked up half of it after letting it chill for several hours. No bump. The next day, I baked up the remaining batter (it had now been chilling overnight). Two madeleines had the bump…the rest didn’t. Ah well…after conferring with other TWDers, this seemed to happen to most everyone. And as Ulrike pointed out, even the Traditional Madeleines pictured in Dorie’s book don’t have bumps!
If you’d like to try your hand at baking madeleines (and see if you get the coveted golden bump!), you can find the recipe here on Smells Like Home or in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!