Recipe 76 – French Madeleines

24th May 2012

The third recipe of the week and this one was chosen by my husband.  I had bought the Madeleine tin in Lakeland in January in their sale, so it had been sitting around in the cupboard since then waiting to be used.

It was a very hot day again (not that I’m complaining), so baking didn’t start until mid-afternoon.  It was strange having the house to myself, I have quite got used to having my daughter around whilst she’s been revising, but this afternoon she had gone into school for a French revision class before her exam tomorrow, so it seemed very quiet – the dog has settled down outside in the shade and was fast asleep as well, so I really did have the house to myself!

The oven was put on and the Madeleine tray was removed from the cupboard – you could almost see it smiling as it was put on the worktop!!  Each little shell indentation in the tin had to be greased and then dusted with flour.  This was quite difficult – well the greasing part was easy, but to shake flour into all the ‘shells’ was quite fiddly.  I think about two-thirds of each shell was covered in the end, but not very well.

A small saucepan was put on the hob and into this went the butter.  This was gently melted and then put to one side to cool.  Into a bowl went the eggs and sugar and these were then beaten together until pale and thick.  Thank goodness for electric whisks, this would have taken an age if I’d used a balloon whisk.

Half the flour was then sieved in to the mixture and folded in, together with the lemon rind and baking powder.  Next it was onto the butter, half had to be poured around the edge of the bowl (the recipe is very similar to that of the ‘Christening Cake’, so it didn’t seem a strange thing to be doing this time) and gently folded in.  This was repeated with the remaining flour and butter.

The mixture then had to be spooned into the moulds, just level with the top.  This was quite difficult and quite fiddly, I think the first few moulds were overfilled slightly, but I reduced the amount with the rest and luckily they levelled themselves out.  This was going to take some time as my Madeleine tin only had 12 moulds in it and the mixture was meant to make 30.

Into the oven they went for 8 minutes.  A quick look and they didn’t look golden enough so I left them for another two minutes before taking them out of the oven.  They had risen quite a lot and were very springy to the touch.  I removed them, with remarkable ease from the tin using a palette knife and left them to cool on a wire rack.

It was a quick wash and dry of the tin, re-greased and filled with mixture before it went back into the oven for the second batch.  It was at this point I realised I hadn’t ‘floured’ the moulds after greasing them … ooops!  8 minutes later and this batch was ready, so fingers crossed I hoped they would come out as easy as the first ones – they did, phew, must be down to the quality of tin or the ‘cake release’ I used for greasing the pans.  The process was repeated again with the remaining mixture.

I don’t know why but for some reason I had always imagined these to be biscuits not cakes – I think it’s due to the ‘shell moulds’.  The shell pattern on the cakes is very subtle and I love the fact that they almost wobble from side to side where they have risen.

Taste wise they were extremely light and very tasty.  My husband took them into work the next day as I told him they were best eaten on the day of making and everybody loved them.  One thing I didn’t try which Mary has put at the top of the recipe is in France they are dipped into their cups of tea before eating.  Oh well, I’ll have to make them again to try that out, won’t I?!


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