Country of the Week: France / Madeleines
For a treat during France Week we made madeleines. Have you ever had these little sponge cakes? They’re delicious, but I think what makes them extra special is their fun shell-shape. I found my madeleine pan at Williams-Sonoma, but I’ve seen them at Target, too.
I have a madeleine recipe from Martha Stewart, but before I used it I checked out some posts like this one about the best way to make madeleines. I discovered that there is quite a bit of debate about how to make the “perfect” madeleine. There are different theories about how long you should mix the batter and how full you should fill the molds. There are arguments about whether or not madeleines should have a “hump.” Only one recipe recommended chilling the batter for at least 30 minutes before baking, but all of them listed lemon zest as an important ingredient.
This was starting to get complicated so I decided I’d better keep it simple and get it done. I went ahead and used Martha Stewart’s recipe but added a teaspoon of lemon zest.
I was happy with how they turned out, and judging by how quickly they disappeared, so was my crew.
modified from The Martha Stewart Cookbook
Makes 24 to 36 madeleines, depending on the size of your pans or molds
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pans
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush madeleine pans or small molds with butter.
Beat the eggs, salt, and sugar together until thick, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in the flour, rapidly but gently. Fold in the butter gently, but make sure it does not settle to the bottom. Quickly spoon the batter into the madeleine pans or molds, all the way to the top. Bake until the center is firm and the edges are golden, about 10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Immediately turn the madeleines out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
(Cookies can be stored in a single layer in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 day. But they probably won’t last that long.)
Madeleines may be dusted with confectioners’ sugar after baking.