These little delicacies have a long history and many theories about its origin. It may have been invented in Lorraine offered to the King of Poland or in Avice by the pastry cook to Price of Talleyrand, but doesn’t matter where it originated, these delicacies are easy to make and very delicious to consume.
No wonder madeleines were known in 17th century as “tôt-fait” (French for “quickly made”). It takes no more than 35 minutes total for the whole process including preparation and cooking.
Honey Lavender Madeleines
Adapted from Bijouxs and Pierre Hermes
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup wildflower honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Night before | 20 minutes
1. Sift flour with baking powder
2. Melt butter and add dried lavender. Infuse for 10 minutes then discard lavender and cool (don’t over-infuse, lavender flavor will become overpowering)
3. Beat the eggs with sugar until pale (3-5 min)
4. Mix in honey
5. Mix in flour and baking powder
6. Mix in cooled butter mixture into batter until smooth and homogenized
7. Cover the batter and refrigerate overnight (I’ve tried baking the batter as soon as 1.5 hours after refrigeration and they turned out fine)
Day of |15 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Butter the madeleine molds
3. Fill the prepared molds 2/3 full
4. Bake for 8 minutes
5. As soon as they come out of oven, unmold and transfer to wire rack to cool
6. Dust madeleines with powdered sugar before serving
If you don’t finish using the batter, you can store them for up to two days. I would say they are the best dessert if you have guests over on short notice.
My favorite presentation of madeleines is at db Bistro Moderne in New York. They were served warm and bite-size in a napkin folded like a lotus. It took the four of us less than 5 minutes to finish the whole basket of mini madeleines. And I spent the next 5 minutes trying to figure out how the basket was folded. You can imagine my surprise and relief when the waiter walked up to us and offered to teach us. Maybe I’ll cover how you can fold your own lotus basket with your napkin in future post.
db Bistro Moderne 55 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 391-2400 http://www.dbbistro.com/nyc/