French Madeleines – small, soft and light shell-shaped sponges.
I figured it’s not only me that needs time to adjust to new surroundings, my camera does too!
Rather I need to get used to not having as much light permeate the windows and the harsher shadows that exist this time of year.
Maybe I just haven’t found the right spot for shooting.
In the old Kitchen when days were grey I would venture up into the loft conversion, it wasn’t a glamorous affair but the lighting was always on point even when though my photography skills weren’t, come to think of it they still aren’t much better now. Take for instance tastespotting – my only accepted photo is one taken with my mobile phone! notes: composition, composition, lighting.
Madeleines traditionally are a genoise(viennoise or cold method) sponge batter without any other leavener except whole eggs which are whipped with sugar until ‘ribbon stage’ (leaves a trail similar to a ribbon when you lift up the whisk / beaters)
I had a few hiccups making madeleines just like I did with my mint chocolate madeleines back in july 2012, I didn’t fold in my flour correctly thus after the batter had sat in the fridge for an hour and I came to scooping it into the mold (or mould) I saw a whole load of flour at the bottom of the bowl. I quickly folded the flour in and continued scooping.
The batter makes enough for 24 x 8 cm madeleines but I have only 1 mold with a capacity of 12. I didn’t want to mess around washing, drying, buttering and flouring all in the same day (i’m lazy like that) therefore the leftover batter sat in the fridge overnight until I was ready to go madeleine again the next morning. In a way I am grateful I have just the 1 mould as the first, second, third and fourth batch of 12 little delights were gone in no time at all.
The larger batter plus only having 1 mold is handy when your children and you are not much good at self-control and are pretty lazy to mess around making 2 lots of batter 2 days straight.
2 batters(1 orange, 1 lemon) and 4 days later……
Talking of buttering you must grease the mould, it really matters. The butter (and flour) coating on the mould even on ‘non-stick’ moulds make it
easy easier to release the cakes. You do have to tap or sometimes whack the mould on the countertop to encourage these shy shells to come out.
How much butter?, melted?, room temp?
For pale madeleines: use melted butter. Paint butter using a pastry brush into the mould ensuring every indent is coated then dust the pan with flour before tapping out the excess, preferably tap over your sink not on your clean kitchen floor, then refrigerate the mould until required.
For golden madeleines: use more, room temp butter which for me, this time of year is the same as refrigerated butter, rub it into the mould with your fingers or if you don’t like getting your hands buttered up (why not?) tear off a piece of the butter’s wrapping and use that instead. Dust with flour and again tap out excess then leave the mould on the countertop until ready to fill.
I prefer paler ones myself, the choice is yours.
The pearl sugar is optional and not traditional, I wanted a bit of crunch amongst all the softness.
Orange or lemon? I’ll have both…..
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
- zest of one orange, (or the zest of 2 average lemons)
- 9 tablespoons slightly salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- pearl sugar, for sprinkling *optional
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
- Sift the flour and baking powder in the egg mixture, using a spatula to fold in the flour.
- Add the zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425F / 220C / Gas Mark 7. Pour enough batter into the molds to fill them 3/4′s of the way and sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes.
- Remove the madeleines from the oven and unmold by tilting, tapping or whacking the mould onto cooling rack.
- I used an american cup, 1 cup = 240ml
- No pearl sugar? once the madeleines have cooled from the oven give them a dusting of icing sugar.
- Fancy a lime madeleine? use the zest of 3 limes in place of the orange zest.
- No madeleine mould? use the batter to make cupcakes instead- adjust the baking time accordingly.