Madeleine - petite cakes from France
From the first time I ever saw these shell shaped cakes, I have been fascinated by them, actually this might be a good time to accept that I love individual portioned desserts, the bite sized ones, one doesn't need to worry to share besides if you control and have only one piece there is not much to feel guilty about.
Madeleine's are essentially sponge cakes (mostly lemon or citrus flavoured) that are baked in special shell shaped pans, they are said to be originated in France but are extremely popular in Britain now to an extent that they are now popularly considered English. They get their name from the 19th century pastry chef Madeleine Paulmier.
The Madeleine pan gives them the distinctive striped pattern on one side and the hump they are known for on the other, these are best eaten the day they are baked as they do not taste very good stale.
For the lemon syrup coating
- In a small pan, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Keep aside
- Melt the butter in the microwave or on stovetop, I like to brown my butter for Madeleine, as it adds a slight nutty flavour to it, but you can stop just when melted. We don't want the butter to go cold, so keep it warm in the microwave. Adding the warm butter gives the Madeleine a nice hump
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar till thick, pale and fluffy. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and the lemon zest.
- Now gently, while taking care not to deflate the air in the egg mixture, add the flour mixture in three parts using a spatula.
- Take 1 cup of this batter and fold into the melted butter, again very gently so not to deflate the batter. Fold in the rest of the batter.
- Cover this mixture and refrigerate for an hour, chilling the batter helps Madeleine to keep shape and have a better hump and pronounced lines
- Pre heat the oven to 190 C and grease and dust the Madeleine pan. Drop a heaped tbsp of batter in the center of each mould, do not spread the batter as the dropping will again help in the creation of the hump.
- Bake for 8- 11mins, until the edges are golden brown and the middle springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and tap the pan a couple of times on the counter when hot to release the Madeleines.
- Let it cool for 15 mins, in the meanwhile whisk together lemon juice and caster sugar together till the sugar is dissolved. Once the Madeleines are warm, dip them in the lemon syrup and serve immediately. You can also coat them with cinnamon sugar if you want.