I love madeleines. So does everyone else in the family, too, so when I make a couple of batches I use every pan I have (I have three) to keep up with demand once they are finished. What is a madeleine? It is a tiny sponge cake baked in special shell-shaped molds. They have a characteristic 'hump' when baked, and are often found in pastry shops dipped in chocolate. While recipes range in flavor and list of ingredients, two common elements are beaten eggs and melted butter - two elements that make eating them fresh important. This means that while it is entirely possible to make a bunch and seal them up for a day or two, they are truly best when served the day they are made.
Here is my recipe for Honey Lemon Madeleines. Quantity will depend entirely on the size of the molds as madeleine mold sheets can be very tiny to large. Fill each about 2/3 to 3/4 the way full to allow for expansion once it bakes. I use clover honey in this recipe, but a lavender or thyme honey would make excellent alternatives.
Honey Lemon Madeleines
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons clover honey
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter (don't substitute margarine), cooled
In the bowl of a stand up mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, honey, extracts and lemon zest until light and thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Mix the flour and baking powder together, and fold into the eggs. Last, fold in the melted butter. If your butter was warm before adding, the batter will be soft/thin but will thicken upon standing. Prepare your pans by lightly spraying or oiling the mold cavities. Fill a pastry bag halfway full with the batter using a medium round tip (about 803-805 size, or one appropriate for the size of the mold). Pipe the madeleine batter into each mold cavity about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake the little cakes for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and when the centers spring back when touched.
Serve at room temperature. If making ahead of time, seal in an airtight container and keep for no longer than 3 days for best flavor and texture.
Note: Watch the little cakes as they are baking, especially if you are using different pans. I have three different pans made of three different materials, and they each bake differently. The non-stick pan always cooks the longest but also the darkest. The tin pan bakes them up perfectly and can go a minute or two extra without burning, but needs to be wiped down well after each turn. And my non-stick silicone mold sheet really isn't non-stick - I still need to spray it a little for them to pop out easily after baking.
This recipe is in the Holidays Issue of the Pastry Sampler Journal.