Hello, Madeleines

SONY DSC

Well hello there, madeleine pan. I’ve been waiting for you.

I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living back in 2011 and knew that it was for me. I have loved madeleines since I was a little girl. Soft, sweet, buttery — why am I even describing how good they are? If know, you know.

SONY DSC However, making your own madeleines involves a fairy high barrier-to-entry — that is, buying the stupid madeleine pan. I have a real aversion to single-use kitchen implements. Avocado corers, garlic presses, egg slicers, anything that’s used for basically one thing and one thing only isn’t worth the space in my kitchen.

But then I realized that I had an event coming up that justified – even encouraged – the selection of unnecessary kitchen items. My wedding! I registered for the madeleine pan from Williams Sonoma and then waited almost a year for it to arrive. Yes, I could have just bought it myself for $15 without getting married, but I have patience.

SONY DSC

(Cut to a year later when Jesse and I are opening wedding presents and I tried to convince him that we had registered for the madeleine pan, together. I hadn’t tacked it on at the end when he had stopped paying attention. That would have been…wrong…)

So now I have the pan and have tried the recipe and, well, good things come to those who wait.

Vanilla Madeleines (made with moderate success but lots of happiness from Martha Stewart Living, September 2011).

SONY DSC

I say that this recipe was a moderate success because, while the flavor was perfect, my execution needs some work. My madeleines were not pretty. They had lots of air bubbles and didn’t really look like they came crisply out of the mold. They were, however, totally and completely delicious. 

I partly blame the recipe for giving rather vague directions on putting the batter into the pan. I tried it a couple of ways — one by putting the batter in very very carefully and trying to spread it out evenly, and one just globbing it in there and letting it settle itself. Both gave exactly the same results. I also tried warming the pan in the over before filling, and that didn’t make a difference either. Stay tuned for improvements. 

I made a half recipe (reflected in measurements below) because there is no reason for me to have 32 madeleines in my apartment.

Make sure to leave time for the batter to refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted, plus more, softened, for pans
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting [I didn’t have this and didn’t use any, but in hindsight a sprinkling of sugar probably could have made them look nicer]

Instructions

1. First things first, bring your eggs to room temperature. It will make them fluffier. If you forget to do this like I always do, put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Whisk together your eggs and sugars in a mixer (or with a hand mixer) on high speed for about ten minutes, until the mixture gets nice and fluffy.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

4. While it’s mixing, melt your stick of butter and add vanilla and honey. Set aside.

5. Add the flour mixture into the eggs/sugar in two parts, folding it in after each addition. I watched this helpful video on how to fold. You don’t want to mix or whisk because it will deflate all the air bubbles that you just spent 10 minutes putting in there. Folding is frustrating and you feel like you aren’t going to get anywhere with it but it eventually works.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

6. Then add the butter mixture in two additions, folding it in as well. The original recipe said to add the vanilla and honey separately from the butter, but I felt like that led to too much folding and mixing in the delicate batter, so it worked better for me to add the vanilla and honey directly to the butter (in step 4).

7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

8. Take batter out and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

9. Soften or gently melt some butter and brush it into the nooks of the madeleine pan.

10. Using a pastry bag or two spoons (I certainly did not have a pastry bag), fill each mold about three quarters full. I didn’t notice any difference between doing this carefully or not carefully, so take your pick.

SONY DSC

As you'll see in next photo, I think I overfilled these.

As you’ll see in next photo, I think I overfilled these.

11. Bake on middle rack until pale gold, about 8-11 minutes. Immediately remove madeleines with a gentle spatula (the original recipe says to “shake them out” but I found that shaking resulted in one madeleine flying across the kitchen and then rest sticking stubbornly. So spatula it is.)

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

12. Wash and rebutter your mold and repeat with remaining batter.

13. Eat immediately or at least within a day (they get stale quickly – all the more justification to eat them all at once).

SONY DSC

I am going to do a little bit of research to see how I can improve these. Maybe a pastry bag is necessary after all? Stay tuned.
Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Hello, Madeleines

  1. YUM. Most sources recommend buttering, then flouring the pan. Knock out the excess flour over the sink. Many recommend letting the madeleines sit for a minute before removing them from the pan. I agree with this, as just the short rest will let them release. You don’t need a pastry bag, in a pinch you can use a plastic bag with one corner cut off. Make the opening smaller than you think you need. Generally with a batter like this, you alternate folding in the flour mixture and the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. When you beat the eggs and sugar together, you are “forming the ribbon.” With your KitchenAid mixer and the whisk attachment, you achieve maximum volume in 4-5 minutes at medium speed. You have a terrific result for your initial attempt at a genoise (accent to the right on the initial e, I don’t know how to add it). You write and photograph beautifully. Dorie Greenspan writes very well about baking. Keep up the great work!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s