Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TWD: Madeleines

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
Contributing Baker: Flo Braker





This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is Madeleines - probably didn't know that did you?

The cookbook mentions that this type of tea cake (or cookie, your choice) is the same that "caused Proust to remember things past". Who the hell is Proust? I had to google the name - and if you google madeleine, several entries mention the two together. I even texted my sister who is an avid reader to ask if she had read any of his work, and if I should know who he is. No she had not, and yes I should, for he is famous.

Well, after researching him on-line, I have to say I don't feel I'm missing much and therefore will not be reading any of his works anytime soon, if ever. (No offense to those who enjoy Proust.)

These little tea cakes are made with a GĂ©noise batter, very much like the Strawberry Cake we made last year. Personally I found the strawberry cake quite boring in taste, though stunning to look at; so to amp up the flavor I added the juice and zest of a couple of lemons and a few limes.

The recipe calls for two whole eggs and four egg yolks. I was short an egg so I only used three yolks. The finished product had a nice citrus flavor, but the texture was too spongy, almost to the point of rubbery. I would have preferred a more cake-like texture. 

Reading the P&Q (pointers & questions) section on the TWD site, a few bakers mentioned their cakes were drier than other madeleine recipes they have tried. I have to say, my little cakes were moist and stayed moist a couple of days later. I'm sure the addition of the juice helped with that, and I'm not sure, but maybe one less egg helped as well?

The lemon and lime lended a bright taste to these little cakes, so I may try my hand at madeleines again, but with a different recipe. Until then, if I need a citrus fix, I'll make these delicious gems made with grapefruit and lime.

Success meter (1-3): 2





Homemade vanilla. A gift from my lovely daughter.


I added about one-half tablespoon lemon zest and one whole tablespoon lime zest. I would have used equal amounts, but I only had two lemons. I also used one tablespoon each of the juice.

As suggested by a few fellow bakers, I used only butter to coat the pan; giving it two coats of butter - chilling between coats.


Perfect looking little cakes! Don't they look like they'll just slip right out of the pan? Not the case - had to pry these puppies out. Not too much damage though.


The second batch I decided to experiment a bit. Instead of butter (too lazy to melt more) I coated the tin with olive oil and to half the pan I dusted with flour (as suggested in the recipe) and the other half I dusted with sugar; I also baked them a bit longer - hence the darker edges - hoping this would help them release from the pan easier. Nope. Still had to be pried. Maybe a non-stick pan would alleviate my sticking issue.

If I do get around to making these again, I would use the butter and flour process, for the cakes turned out the best as appearances go - and bake them less so they are not quite so dark. Using the sugar actually gave the cakes a nice little crunch which I enjoyed, but I would like to have the more noticeable ridges that were achieved with the flour method.

The cookies did not quite develop the prominent hump that madeleines are known for. Some recipes call for a teaspoon of baking powder where others such as this do not. I think the addition of baking powder would have helped with obtaining the signature hump.



Because it's fun to play with your food! (A future post.)



You can find the madeleine recipe on pages 41 and 334 of Baking with Julia, or at our host's site, Counter Dog. To see other wonderful creations of these tea cakes, check out the talented bakers of our virtual cooking group - you can find their links on the LYL: Madeleines link over on the TWD site.

29 comments:

meli melo said...

Your madeleines look nice, much more beautiful than mine!!
I love your addition of lime in the dough, and the zest give a nice color!!!
For me this recipe taste more like ladyfingers!! Not too bad, I'll keep this recipe as a base for dessert!!

Liz Berg said...

I love how you experimented with the greasing of the molds...great to know. And don't you love those silicone brushes? I use mine all the time. Not a huge fan of madeleines, but these weren't bad :)

haginashley said...

I've read that piece by Proust! I think I have it somewhere if you ever want to read it. These look so pretty :) I love the pictures

Cathleen said...

Of course you have! Maybe I should... Thank you sweetie. :)

Kathy said...

I’ve made citrus flavored madeleines before and really enjoyed the lovely flavor the citrus adds to these cakes. Yours look beautiful! I never add flour to my pans…I've always found that they come out prettier without the flour…you have me rethinking that! Beautiful photos!!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Cathleen, I really like that you added citrus to your madeleines - zest and juice - I also like them with just vanilla, there are just so many different ways to enjoy them. I also butter and flour my madeleine pans and I never have trouble unmolding these pretty little French tea cakes. Maybe it also depends on the kind of madeleine pan used - be that as it may, your post is wonderful, great pictures and lots of helpful information!

saucygander said...

Hump or not, your madeleines look perfectly baked, and I love the different ways you presented them in the photos. I wish I had thought of the gift box. Great post!

homemadeandwholesome.com said...

Great photos!

Tomato Thymes said...

Your photos are stunning and I agree with using butter and flour.
LIsa

Cher Rockwell said...

It looks like you did have fun playing with your food! Great photos.

C said...

Loved your post. I too went to Google to find out more about Proust. Haven't ever read it, probably won't. I used citrus in mine and really liked them. Also - I want to make homemade vanilla, I hear it is divine! Blessings! Catherine

Sara said...

Yours look so pretty!

Karen Kerr said...

Fabulous post Cathy. Thanks for sacrificing your time to try the different pan coating methods =) The citrus sound terrific too. By the way, I always though Ps and Qs meant "problems and questions" (I'm late to TWD)! Your photos are great btw.

Liz Berg said...

PS...your photos inspire me as well! Thanks for your sweet comment :)

oven chaos said...

What was more fun - baking the recipe, playing with the cookies, or taking the pictures? :) Cute post!

Amanda said...

They look great, the citrus sounds delicious. I loved the photo of the little gift box, so cute!

TeaLady said...

What a good idea to add the citrus. I bet they were delicious.

Cathleen said...

Thanks Karen. That is just my educated guess - don't know for sure if that is what the p&q stands for. :)

galettista said...

Beautiful photos. Adding the lemon and lime was a great idea, as was using sugar to coat the molds.

Teresa said...

Great photos - I love all the variations in presentation you came up with.

yummychunklet said...

Definitely fun to play with your food! Great photos!

CathyB said...

I love to play with my food! If you make these again, try Pam Baking spray (it has flour in it.) I used it with my tinned steel pans (like yours) and the Madeleines practically fell out.

Cathleen said...

Thanks for the tip Cathy!

Jora said...

It's so fun to see all of the different variations that people tried. I made the plain ones and found these a little boring. I also really liked the photos and description of your butter/flour, butter/sugar, butter comparison. It's good information!

Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing all the variations. You sold me on the butter and flour method. Very pretty packing and they look so cute in the teacup.

spike. said...

they look so beautiful! Glad you got moist madeleines. Mine were a little dry, sadly.

jen said...

What a great idea! I love how you experimented with buttering the pan. I agree crispy edges make them so much better. I'll have to try the butter and flour method sometime. Oh and I love the idea of adding citrus. Yum. Grapefruit and lime sound like they would be fantastic additions!

Claudia said...

I love Julias recipes and I love Madeleines. Yours look absolutely gorgeous! I had the best ones in south France - they add a little bit of olive oil to the dough which adds a nice twist.
Cheers, Claudia

Bev said...

Those tea cakes are lovely- perfect idea to add the zest & juice. Yes, I think mine came out so easily, because I had double buttered & refrigerated a non stick pan.