Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tea Time for Madeleine

I've been continuing to dabble in The Little Paris Kitchen and made "Madeleines with Lemon Curd (Madeleines a la creme au citron)." Madeleines (aka., "Madeleine Commercy") are small sponge tea cakes made in distinctive scallop-shaped molds, originally created in the town of Commercy, of the Lorraine region in northeastern France. They consist of a simple blend of sugar, butter, eggs, flour, and a touch of lemon. They are very popular at "gouter," France's tea or snack time which bridges the gap between lunch and dinner.

According to A La Cloche Lorraine (one of the major madeleine producers in Commercy), in 1755, King Stanislas of Lorraine was having an elaborate meal when his chef stormed out of the kitchen leaving him and his guests without dessert! Inconceivable! After diverting attention with games and stories, dessert of little golden cakes miraculously appeared! The king summoned the creator of these buttery cakes, who turned out to be a "pretty young maid; pink confusion and hands still white flour..." The king asked, "What do you call this masterpiece?" She replied, "There is no name, sir, it's that it is home to Commercy." The king asked the maid her name, in which she replied "Madeleine." He answered, "Well, as you call it: Madeleine Commercy." Madeleines grew in popularity and have become a time-honored custom, practically becoming France's National cookie, sold in patisseries all over the country!

This version from Rachel Khoo adds a little something extra, a raspberry/lemon curd surprise inside! This recipe was very easy to follow and my madeleines turned out beautifully! Keep in mind that the lemon curd and batter are best made hours, or even overnight, before using. In addition, if you don't want to use the raspberry/lemon curd mix, simply make them without, or be creative by adding blueberries, mini chocolate chips, a dollop of Nutella, dip half the cakes in melted chocolate, or even sandwich them together with pastry cream! The sky's the limit!

Madeleines with Lemon Curd (Madeleines a la creme au citron)

Makes about 24

For the lemon curd
Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks

For the madeleines
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1 pint basket of raspberries
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

For the lemon curd
Put the lemon zest and juice, salt, sugar, and butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and butter have melted. Remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add to the pan and whisk vigorously. Return the pan to a low heat and whisk constantly as the curd starts to thicken. Don't stop whisking or the eggs will curdle (if the curd starts to boil, take off the heat). Once the curd thickens and releases a bubble or two, remove from the heat, and pass the curd through a sieve into a bowl. Place plastic wrap in direct contact with the curd and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

For the madeleines
Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and frothy. Measure the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl and add the lemon zest. Mix the honey and milk with the cool butter, then add to the eggs. In two batches, fold in the flour. Cover and leave to rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour a 12-shell madeleine pan. (I have a non-stick madeleine pan, so I don't flour it, but the butter is an essential part of creating the golden crust!) Put the lemon curd into a piping bag fitted with a small, pointed nozzle and place in the fridge.

Put a heaped tablespoon of batter into each madeleine shell and press a raspberry deep into the batter. Bake for 5 minutes, turn the oven off for 1 minutes (the madeleines will get their signature peaks), then turn the oven on to 325 degrees and bake for another 5 minutes. Transfer the madeleines to a wire rack and leave for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, wash and dry the pan, then repeat the baking as for the first batch. While the second batch is baking, pop the piping nozzle into the mound in each baked madeleine and squirt in a teaspoon's worth of lemon curd.

Repeat with the second batch, then dust with confectioners' sugar and serve straightaway.

Recipe from The Little Paris Kitchen, by Rachel Khoo.

1 comment:

  1. I've been making these with blueberries (3 per madeleine) for my kid who loves blueberries, they are delicious! Very fresh and easy! I make the batter and have it in the fridge for a day or two, to pop in the oven on any whim! Great for after school or breakfast! Bonus: it only makes 12 per pan! Just enough to satisfy, without overindulging or ruining dinner? The perfect gouter!