Madeleines pur beurre

March 14th, 2009 by Francis

Ah… such a lovely spring day, I felt like doing a bit of baking. I wanted an excuse to try out the fancy silicone madeleine forms I got for my birthday, and today was the day.

Rockin' in the ovenNo eggs in the fridge, so while Karyn was still sleeping, and before Cillian remembered he was hungry, I fastened him up in the sling on my chest, and wandered up to Co-op. Having stocked up on what I was missing, I walked back along the river, which was great. Bright and sunny, the first brimstone butterflies I’ve seen this year, people saying “Good morning” to one another… all very English village in spring.

Anyway, back to the house, and Cillian had realised that actually he was quite peckish. Happily, Ka was awake now, so I could plug Cillian in, and leave him to his feed.

MixingSo this was a first go at these yummy little cakes, carried from tea-time treat into a high-brow delicacy single-handedly by Marcel Proust. I’ll say now that the result was OK, but not what I hoped for. The recipe I went with (more-or-less) is below, but I think I might use a little bit more butter next time (and yellower butter, too), plus a couple of drops of vanilla extract.

This recipe mades about 24 madeleine cakes.

  • 3 medium eggs
  • 50ml milk
  • 250g plain flower (I suggest you sieve it)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 125g butter, gently melted
  • x1 sachet of “chemical yeast” (levure chimique) *
  • x1 sachet “vanilla sugar” (sucre vanillé) **

Sucre vanillé Levure chimique "Alsacienne" * I think that this is basically baking powder, although according to the ingredients, it also includes some wheat starch. I’ve seen an American recipe that doesn’t require this at all, though

** ummm… I’ve never noticed this in Sainsburys, but it appears that you can buy it in the UK. All it is is granulated sugar, flavoured with a bit of vanilla. Just add 5g extra caster sugar, and 3 or 4 drops of vanilla essence… the vanilla sugar I added just didn’t bring much flavour.

In a mixing bowl, fold together all the ingredients. Cover the bowl, and leave it aside for a couple of hours.

Pre-heat your oven to 220oC (200oC is enough in a fan oven).

Fill your forms about 3/4 full, and stick them in the oven for about 6 minutes. Turn your oven down to 200oC (180oC), and leave them for another 4 or 5 minutes. They should go brown at the edges, but otherwise golden… you know… like cake!

Pop them out and leave them to cool. Easy!

Madeleine formsSo yeah, mine were all right, but not quite as flavoursome as the ones we cram into our hand-luggage on the way back from France. These were just like my mum’s fairy cakes (little sponge cakes!), but without any icing or anything, they’re a bit plain. The bought ones seem to be greasier (so more butter? cheaper butter?), and have more of a hint of vanilla. Let’s see, next time round.

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