Thursday, 22 March 2012

Madeleines de Commercy


I tried making Madeleines ages and ages ago, to a recipe I can't remember, and not very successfully. I put it down to using a silicon baking mould for the madeleines, but it might just have been a bit of a rubbish recipe. I can't even remember what was wrong with them - I think they didn't really rise very well and refused to take any colour at all. It was a most frustrating experience and I gave up.

A good while later my interest in Madeleines was again prodded with this beautifully photographed and written post by Joanna @Zeb_Bakes about her Limeblossom Tea and Madeleines. And then as a final reminder, I saw Dan Lepard's recipe for them in Short and Sweet. I was obviously intending to make these because I bought a Madeleine mould ages ago - a metal one this time. I bought mine from Lakeland, but a brief warning - the mould is actually quite wide and just barely fits into my oven - it's more a case of balancing it on the runners at the edge of the oven than placing it on the shelf. I think this means it's likely to get very scratched at the edges, which is a shame. There is a version of Dan's recipe here, but the quantities in the book are really quite different, for all of the ingredients! So not really the same recipe at all, although I think the method is similar. A case of having to buy the book.


He has a very helpful tip about getting the characteristic 'nipple' that is seen on Madeleines. Adding a tiny little piece of cold butter before they go into the oven will allow the nipple to form. I cut up my butter and then put it into the freezer as I prepared the rest of the batter, removing it just before adding it to the mixture in the moulds. I did find that I had a little too much batter for my moulds, perhaps had I added less I would have got the characteristic thin, crispy edge to the cakes. I don't mind though!

Not all that easy to see in the photos - the front one is the second batch - the back ones are the overdone ones - much more obvious in real life.

I had to make these twice. The first time, they rose beautifully, peaking and so forth, but I think my oven has a tendency to run hot at the top end of its range, and even though I removed them at 9 1/2 minutes with my oven set at just over 200C/just over Gas 6 they were really quite overdone (the recipe specifies 10 minutes at Gas 7/220C). The second time I set the timer for 7 1/2 minutes, which was much, much more successful - no more overdone Madeleines for me! In fact, they might even have come out a little earlier.


I was really pleased with the way these looked - beautiful little peaks and nice soft, tender cakes. I think I perhaps needed to add a little salt to the recipe, and be rather more generous with my flavourings (I think I only added 1tsp of vanilla rather than the specified 2tsp the second time I made them). These are a great starting recipe to give the correct result aesthetically, so it should be fairly easy to ramp up the flavours in them. Lots of spring flavours come to mind - elderflower, lemons, honey (ok, honey isn't really spring) or perhaps even chocolate substituting some of the flour for cocoa powder. Endless opportunities for variations. After all, now I have the shaped tin I need to use it!
On a slightly odd, personal, side note... my paternal grandmother was called Madeleine. I never met her, but I wonder if she ever ate these delicate cakes and what she would have made of them. All the pictures I have seen of her show her as being very elegant, and I can imagine her sitting down to afternoon tea, playing Bridge (popular in my family!) and eating these in a bygone era.


As these begin with an M I'm submitting them to AlphaBakes, run by Ros at The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes. Caroline is hosting this month and the letter this month is (unsurprisingly) M.

10 comments:

Dipika @ The Very Hungry Baker said...

I love the look of these! I've never made madeleines before, but as I have the same book I might have to give these a go. I'll have to invest in a madeleine tray/tin first - I'm starting to run out of cupboard space...

Choclette said...

Oh C, I've still never made Madeleines and I'm not sure I've even had one. Yours look lovely and yes, I can see these being eaten at an elegant Bridge party. I think my oven is like yours, it's much hotter at the top end of the scale and I suspect lower at the bottom end.

Suelle said...

These look great - lovely nipples! :)

If the tray was a tight fit in the oven, as you say, it might have affected the circulation, making the oven seem hotter at the top.

Jacqueline said...

They do look good. I really must try to make these sometime. Love the nipples tip, lol!

Baking Addict said...

Thanks for entering these to AlphaBakes. I love madeleines and have the same tin from Lakeland. My oven must be wider as I have no trouble fitting it in. Thanks for the tip about the nipples - will have to try that next time! :)

Katie said...

They look so professional. Great tip for the tiny blob of butter. Haha I've had to balance a few of my tins on the runners of the oven before, guess we have smaller ones than in the USA

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

I first discovered madeleines in a cafe in a hostel in San Francisco - I fell in love! They are the most perfect little cakes to accompany a good strong coffee. I've been meaning to try them out at home. I love recipes that one can tailor. Sounds like I need to master the original recipe before I start making inventive flavours, thanks for your tips!

Chele said...

I had no idea that the little peak was called a nipple - mind you I shouldn't be surprised really should I lol. Great tip though.

Johanna GGG said...

never made these and I don't think I have ever even tasted them but proust does make me want to try them - so your tips are very useful

Caroline said...

They look great, thanks for entering them into alphabakes!

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