"one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines,' which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell... No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses..."
~ Marcel Proust, "Remembrance of Things Past"
It has taken me more than two years to finally make an attempt at baking the lovely little French tea-cakes that bear Madeleine's name. But now that I've done it once, I'll be making these again and again! The recipe I used was super easy, and quite forgiving. (For example I had to estimate the amount of butter to include because I'd rewrapped the cooking butter without lining it up with the measurements on the paper, you know what I mean? And I don't have any kitchen scales. But I digress. My point is the madeleines worked out fine anyway.)
This particular version was made a bit decadent and fancy-sounding with the browned butter (beurre noisette) and vanilla beans.
Do you want to try it? Here's what you'll need:
You mix the dry ingredients together, then add everything else gradually, one by one. The full recipe is here. The batter needs to rest for an hour or two but that's ok, because madeleines are best eaten warm, straight from the oven.
I made my mixture during my lunch break on Friday (oh hello, benefits-of-working-from-home), then popped them in the oven on Saturday afternoon after brewing up a strong cup of tea. They only take about 10 minutes to bake.
If reading this has not sent your cholesterol through the roof already, make a note that you're supposed to eat them dipped in melted butter and liberally dusted with sugar. Just do it. The diet starts tomorrow.