French Fridays with Dorie: Honey-Spiced Madeleines
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines. In two straight lines they broke their bread and brushed their teeth and went to bed. They smiled at the good and frowned at the bad and sometimes they were very sad. They left the house at half past nine in two straight lines in rain or shine — the smallest one was Madeline”
– Opening lines from Ludwig Bemelmans’ Madeline
I know the madeleine connection is really through Proust, but this is what kept running through my mind as I baked…
I suppose I’m a bit of a hoarder in the kitchen. I have a pantry full of obscure ingredients, in addition to the usual staples. I’m ready to make lots of not yet discovered recipes on the spur of the moment. I also have a variety of cooking tools to be prepared for who knows what.
This is a long winded of way of saying that I have had a madeleine pan for over 20 years, and this week is the first time I’ve ever used it. In fact, I’d only even had a madeleine once before. That was last year when someone told me the madeleines at Starbuck’s were good. Why I’ve had this pan for so long and never actually used it is a mystery.
So, this week, for French Fridays with Dorie, the on-line cooking group I participate in, the recipe was Honey-Spiced Madeleines. What a perfect opportunity! I had all the ingredients, and the proper bakeware, too. Actually, I didn’t have an orange, but I did have a lemon, so I substituted lemon zest for orange.
The batter for the madeleines needs to rest before baking, at least 3 hours. As a convenience, Dorie suggests that you can fill the pan with batter and chill the pan. That’s what I did, chilling it overnight. In the morning, I preheated the oven and baked the madeleines while I ate breakfast. I brought them to work as a treat for my co-workers, who seemed to appreciate them.
When preparing the pan, I decided to brush melted butter onto the pan because I thought I’d get better coverage. I liked the way it worked out. As for getting the thick eggy batter into the pan, I took a tip from Sarah at Frankly Entertaining and piped the batter instead of spooning it. I wasn’t sure whether to smooth the tops or not, so I did some of each. It didn’t seem to make a difference either way.
Dorie calls the madeleines cookies, but I think they are more like little cakes. Having only had madeleines once before, I don’t have a good point of comparison, but I liked Dorie’s version. I liked their simple elegance, and they are lovely with a cup of tea. The flavors of the honey and spices weren’t very strong. (Maybe I should have added more.) I enjoyed these enough to experiment with other flavors, and I definitely won’t wait another 20 years to use that madeleine pan again – unless I end up buying a mini-madeleine to make tinier cakes. I’m tempted.
Usually, if you want the recipe for these French Friday posts, you have to buy the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. However, Dorie posted the recipe for the madeleines on her site, so you can find it here. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ thoughts on this recipe at French Fridays with Dorie.
Happy First Day of Autumn!!!!