I doubt they have as profound an effect on me as they did on Proust but I find there’s nothing nicer than a golden, buttery madeleine with vanilla tea (to which I have become accro)! The iconic shell-shaped bumpy cakes are made from a sort of genoise batter which makes them a bit dry, hence the addititon of the lemon glaze. Some say a girl named “Madelaine” offered pilgrims a cake shaped like the shell of Saint-Jacques during the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela, others say they were first made in Commercy and named after Madeleine Paulmier, a cook for an 18th century Marquise, and others say it was made for Prince Talleyrand in the 1800s by his pastry chef. Wherever they were originally from, you can make them easily yourself with this recipe!
– 3 large fresh eggs, room temperature
-140g caster sugar
– Tray with madeleine moulds
– 175g plain flour
– 130g butter, melted (unsalted)
– 10g butter, room temperature
– 1 tsp baking powder – optional
– A bowl, preferably a metal or glass one
– A whisk (preferably a metal balloon whisk)
– 70ml lemon juice
– 130g icing sugar
1. Coat the madeleine moulds with the room-temperature butter and dust them with flour, removing any excess by tapping them over the sink. Refrigerate the moulds.
2. Place the eggs, caster sugar and salt in the bowl and beat with the whisk until the mixture is thick and frothy.
3. Sift the flour (and baking powder) over the surface of the batter, then use a spatula to fold in the dry ingredients.
4. Mix the lemon zest with the butter. After it is evenly mixed, add a very small amount (a few spoonfuls) of butter to the batter and fold it in. Continue adding the butter through the folding action until all the zest-butter is gone – stop as soon as the butter is all incorporated!
5. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least one hour.
6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 230°C.
7. Fill each mould about three quarters full but don’t press or spread the batter to check how full it is or you might ruin the bump! Pop them in the oven on the top tray and bake for just under ten minutes, until the cakes just about spring back when poked. You can make the lemon glaze while they’re cooking by mixing together the water, lemon juice and icing sugar until the lumps dissolve.
8. When they’re ready, pop the madeleines out of the moulds to cool. When they’re cool enough to touch, dip each one into the lemon glaze, covering both sides. Let the icing harden by leaving them on a rack, scalloped side up.