As many people know, my love for France is one that simply cannot be explained. The food, culture, people, sights, I fell for them all the first time I went. To me, the pastries are in a class of their own, divine, simple, delectable, unlike anything else. Madeleines are a perfect example of the art of French pastry.
With their sea shell shape, light flavor, and buttery sponge cake, madeleines are pretty much as French as you can get. What is so wonderful about them is that you can add almost any flavor to them and they will absorb it. Traditionally, madeleines are made with very finely ground almonds or some lemon zest, which is what I have done in this recipe.
When I think of France, whether it's the beautiful countryside or the lovely city of Paris, what comes to mind? How absolutely beautiful it is, fresh, clean, unique and simple; how I adore that a baguette, some brie and a bottle of wine is completely acceptable for dinner. Clearly the French know how to live a great life all while looking (and baking!) fabulous.
Butter--4 oz, or 8 TBL
Brown Sugar--0.55 oz, or 1 TBL
Honey--0.4 oz, or 2 tsp
Granulated Sugar--4.15 oz, or 1/2 cup
Salt--0.2 oz, or 1/2 tsp
Flour--5.5 oz, or 1 cup
Baking Powder--0.05 oz, or 1/2 tsp
Lemon Zest--1/2 lemon
Combine the butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan. Put over medium heat to melt. Once melted, take off of the heat and reserve.
Whisk together the sugar, salt, flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Once you have added all 3 eggs, slowly pour in the melted butter mixture and whisk together.
Fold in the zest. *Note: you can add any zest you would like! (Orange, lime, etc.) This small cake is the perfect base for many flavors.
Cover your bowl with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic touches the batter as to not form a film. Store it overnight in the refrigerator. This gives the baking powder a little time to start working, which helps this petit gateâu ride properly when baking. As you will see, it puffs up in the middle a bit!
Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray your madeleine pan with non-stick spray.*Note: my pan is a great non-stick madeleine pan, so spraying it was not necessary.
If you have a pastry bag, this makes it much easier to fill the pan! Fill up your bag with the batter, cut about 1" from the tip of the bag off so that there is a small opening. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a spatula.
Fill each section about 3/4 of the way full, this batter will rise and you do not want it to overflow!
Bake for 4 minutes, turn, and then another 4 minutes. Your madeleines should have puffed up a little bit in the center, which will indicate that they are done!
Take out of the oven, let the pan cool on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before taking them out of their shells.
You may either dust with powdered sugar, lemon zest, or some cinnamon. A drizzle of chocolate never hurts either! These cakes are so versatile, and no matter what, they will taste so light you will want to eat 2 or 3 at a time!
Inspired by Dominique Ansel