One of the rewards of reading David Lebovitz’s Sweet Life in Paris was discovering some of his favorite recipes interspersed among entertaining story-telling of adapting to Paris and French culture. This recipe is one of my favorites – you can find David’s original blog post here – definitely a must-read.
For this, my second-ever batch of madeleines, I followed the recipe exactly. The key to success – in my humble amateur-baker opinion – is to pop the madeleine tray into the freezer while the oven heats up. Keeping the batter and the madeleine mold super cold resulted in perfectly shaped madeleines. My other cautionary advice is know your oven. Mine is a little quirky, i.e., it runs hot, which I discovered as I turned the first batch of 12 out of the pan at 8 minutes. The second batch which meant I needed a good cool-down of pan and batter after the first batch of 12 – came out more madeleine-like at 7 minutes. So noted.
I’ve recently begun using volume measurements for baking and followed the amounts given for grams in the recipe.This recipe yields 24 madeleine, so be sure to either have 2 pans or be prepared to do a little juggling in between batches.
Also note David’s suggestion regarding storing unless you’ve got plans for all 24 pretty soon after baking.
If you’re a fan of Proust, these lovely French treats will help pass the time spent reading the longest novel known to humankind. But if you just want to enjoy a treat that can transport you back to Paris – that works too.
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
- rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder, (optional)
- zest of one small lemon
- 9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- 3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. (I melted the butter as I was assembling the ingredients for baking – doing so meant the butter was cooled down when needed) Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer. (I used the freezer)
- In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened. (no shortcutting – set a timer)
- Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter.
- Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
- To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter (remember, this makes 24, which may help with eyeballing the amount of batter) which you think will fill it by 3/4’s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
- Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.