Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

endless experiments with small things that bring joy to life

Oh Madeleines…

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Here is my confession:  I have not become interested in madeleines until recently.  This popular and famous cake did not obtain my attention until couple weeks ago.  Having a full-time job and going to school do not leave much play time for me, but there are certain times I just feel the urge to do anything but homework. Here are some of the conditions that I have set for my baking relief:

  • The recipe cannot have more than five ingredients
  • The recipe will not yield a sinkful of dishes that I would have to clean up afterward
  • The recipe will not require my undivided attention for more than an hour

That definitely takes macarons out of running, as well as some more sophisticated patisserie, so I am left with either a pastry dough or some simple pleasures such as madeleines.  You might ask, did not you have a Baker at home?  In fact, madeleines are the Baker’s all-time favorite, but I do not care of his madeleine due to sweetness.  I am left with my own accord, and it just so happen that Marianne just recently published an egg-white almond flour madeleine recipe.  Best yet, it fits all my conditions!  While I do like the consistency of these very airy and delicate madeleines, they did not have the famous hump.  I suspected that I might have to whip the egg whites to a medium peak in lieu of a soft peak.

Madeleine. #baking #pastry
Egg white almond flour madeleines

Curiosity kills a cat, I recalled she did post a more traditional madeleine recipe awhile back, yes, let the experiment begin.

The reason why I call the second madeleine recipe more traditional is that the recipe calls for whole eggs instead of egg whites only.  The first recipe is very similar to a financier, but less dense.  If you are a Julia Child fan, you might recall that her Madeleines de Commercy (Commercy is a commune in the Lorriane region in Northeastern France, also the home of famed Madeleines that Marcel Proust reminisced) asks for melted but chilled butter.  Does that not contradict my own no-hassle policy?  Well, here is my way around it:  making beurre noisette (browned butter) while whipping the eggs and sugar.  The reason why Julia incorporated melted but cool butter is to prevent curdling of eggs, so I would make the beurre noisette while I am whisking the egg/sugar mixture to a ribbon stage.  When the butter is about to turn brown (you will not miss that nutty scent that literally warms up the entire kitchen), I remove the cast-iron pan from heat and let the residue heat turns the butter golden.  Since I am whisking by hand, it does take me awhile for the mixture to the desire fluffiness, hence giving the noisette a bit to cool.  The result?  Nice soft and moist madeleines with a lovely hump.

Here is a slow motion video showing how the mixture is at ribbon stage:

 

IMG_0291
See the color difference?  On the right is how the egg/sugar mixture starts.
Left is when the mixture reaches ribbon stage

 

Got the hump! #baking #madeleines #food
Traditional madeleines
Here are some of my thoughts on making wonderful madeleines:
  • Make sure that sugar/egg mixture is pale yellow, fluffy, and able to draw some nice ribbons on surface.  This is important because real madeleines do not need baking powder or soda to leaven.
  • I usually make the madeleine mix the night before baking and let the mixture rest in the refrigerator.  The temperature difference between the mixture and the oven will help with the formation of the hump.  That takes me to the next point…
  • Make sure your oven is at the temperature.  Many of us would be too happy about baking and forget about preheating/heating the oven.  If you want the hump, turn on your oven early.
  • Incorporate the beurre noisette into the batter as you pour.  Extra aeration helps.
  • Don’t be greedy when you fill the madeleine mold!  3/4 of the way is usually a good rule of thumb.
Thanks to these madeleines that I stay relatively sane these days!

 

Madeleiene, anyone? #pastry #baking #food
Until the next time….
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One thought on “Oh Madeleines…

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