Marcel Proust once described La Madeleine as “a little shell of a cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating.”
Originating in the Lorraine region of northeastern France, a post about madeleines would be incomplete without a quote from Proust. He taught us how best to enjoy these delicious genoise cakes – dipped in something (tea, for instance). For him, they were the “essence of memory,” snippets remembered in bite-sized chunks.
The reality of time lost in the whimsical present, the desire to see the past in the light of perfection, like a seashell shining up from the sand. “The sight of these little madeleines had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.”
Here’s to Sunday mornings at Combray, warm cups of tea, and the simplest of pleasure such as a warm cake fresh from the oven. But most importantly, here’s to you! May your memories always be as treasured as Proust’s seashelled madeleine!
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1/32 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons Egg Beaters
- 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Madeleine Pan
- In a small mixing bowl, microwave the butter for 10 seconds or until melted. Add the sugar, honey, vanillas, a pinch of salt and the Egg Beaters whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the batter is thick and pale yellow in color. Gently fold in the flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or even better, overnight.*
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour 4 moulds on a madeleine pan. Divide the batter evenly among the molds being careful to only fill them 3/4 full to encourage even baking!
- Bake for 6-8 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the cakes are puffy and set at the center. Remove from the oven and use a butter knife to gently coax them from their "shells." Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately! Don't wait. Madeleines are best enjoyed straight from the oven.
- Recipe yields 4 madeleines
- *Best thing I've ever learned from Mimi, "It is very important for the batter to be cold - that's what makes a good rounded madeleine with a nice bump."