petite madeleines

When I first learned about madeleines I was in a literature class reading Proust. A couple of months later, Michael and I were in Columbus Circle buying Christmas cards and trinkets from the markets. Cinnamon lingered in the air and Christmas was aglow with fairy lights.

A small bakery had set up shop selling pastries and small cakes, and, to my delight, petite madeleines. I bought a pair and two cups of milky tea, and in Columbus Circle we sat, watching teenagers in t-shirts skateboarding. New York was warm in the height of winter, and even the nose-numbing, bitter winds couldn’t dampen it.

//A recipe for petite madeleines
You’ll need a good quality non-stick petite madeleine tray for this recipe. You can find them at most good homewares stores, and Peter’s of Kensington has a great one that isn’t pricey! You’ll also need an electric mixer. I use a hand-held one like this one from Woolworths which is also quite affordable (and super helpful in the kitchen).

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ingredients
95 grams (3/4 cup) plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature (note: it’s important that they’re not cold!)
100 grams (½ cup) caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
70 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
cooking spray, preferably vegetable oil
a little extra flour to coat the tray

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method
Sift the flour and baking powder together. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium-high until the mixture thickens and lightens in colour. This should take about 3 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla extract. With a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until completely combined. Then do the same with the butter. Cover the batter with plastic wrap – make sure it’s taut and airtight. Chill the batter in the fridge for about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly spray your madeleine tray and dust it with the extra flour, making sure to shake off any excess. Place your madeleine tray on a baking tray to make it easier for you to pull it out of the oven.

Spoon the batter into the little shell-shaped moulds until the batter is a millimeter or two below the top of the mould. Mine fit about a teaspoon of batter in each.

Bake your petite madeleines for about 10 minutes, or until the madeleines are puffed and golden and bounce back when touched. Remove the pan from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes (this will help them fall out easier). Tapping the tray should shake the madeleines out, and any stubborn ones can be eased out by running a knife around its edges.

Eat warm or at room temperature. Michael says these are even better the next day, too!

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I’ve adapted this recipe from smitten kitchen.

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