By Charmaine Gooden
All year long, I've been completely besotted by madeleines, those soft, scrumptious little shell shaped cakes you have with tea or coffee. The great French author Marcel Proust put madeleines on the map in his novel Rememberance of Things Past. Unfortunately he did not leave a recipe, and a great one is hard to find. A well-made madeleine consists of a pleasing scallop shape, a double surface texture (ridged on one side, smooth on the other) and a buttery, lemony taste. This Christmas, I decided to give the gift of homemade madeleines, nestled in a fancy box and tied with a pretty ribbon. Here's the best recipe I've found for this 'magical' pastry, courtesy of Sarah Bell, pastry chef and co-owner of the recently expanded Bobbette and Belle (bobbetteandbelle.com). Mix up a batch and you, like Marcel, will have madeleine memories.
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
11/2 cups white or brown sugar
1Tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Lemon- Juice
1 Lemon - Zest
1cup confectioners' sugar (optional)
· Preheat over to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour twenty-four Madeleine molds.
· Melt and cool butter. Add vanilla, lemon juice and zest.
· Wisk eggs and sugar together until volume is tripled. Transfer mixture to a very large mixing bowl.
· Sift dry ingredients together: flour, salt and baking powder. Sift one-fourth of the flour mixture over the egg/sugar mixture, gently folding in, taking care not to deflate. Continue until all flour is added.
· Fold in butter mixture gently.
· Scoop mixture into a disposable piping bag and squeeze to fill each mold completely.
· Bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly touched, and edges are slightly golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack.
· Sift confectioners' sugar over the tops
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