Madeleines are one of my favorite tea cakes. Maybe it is because of Marcel Proust, maybe it is because of the beautiful shell-like shape. I guess it is a combination of both that makes it to one of my favorite little treats. Tradionally madeleines are made out of eggs, sugar, butter, flour, sometimes lemon zest and baking powder are added. And the madeleine batter needs to rest in the fridge, so the cakes get this characteristic hump in the middle. Last year I was experiementing with new recipes but I was not happy with any of my madeleines that I made. In my book the cakes were too airy and too light and I want the madeleines to have a more of a dense texture. I am still on the hunt of the perfect traditional madeleine recipe. But I found my perfect "non-traditional " madeleine recipe. In fact I posted this recipe here on the blog almost two years ago and this recipe is my updated version. I love this recipe a lot. Instead of using whole eggs I used only the egg whites, which I happen to have in the fridge all the time, for the recipe and the texture of the batter is very similar to a financier batter. The edges of my madeleines are crispy and the middle of the cakes are very moist. It is exactly how I like my madeleines. It is perfect - a word that I rarely use (maybe this is not quite the truth because I talk all the time that I am a perfectionist and everything has to be perfect but I rarely archieve this, at least I think so ...).
The madeleines taste the very best on the day that they are made. The next day the madeleines are still very moist in the middle but they loose the crispy exterior. I highly, highly recommend to eat the madeleines on the day you make them. You can easily half the recipe.
Of course you have to dip the madeleines in tea, do not dare to accompany the madeleines with coffee. Proust would not agree.
In my childhood I used to travel a lot with my parents. We used to go on road trips across Europe and visit cities, museums, churches, little villages and such. When I was 16 years old my parents and I traveled to Illiers-Combray where we visited the La Maison de Tante Leonie. At that time I have not had read Proust (when I cam back from the trip I started to read Proust) but nevertheless I was mesmerized by the beauty and atmosphere of the village and the surroundings. A decade later I still have such fond memories of this place. One of my favorite art books that I own is a book by Francois-Xavier Bouchart ("La Figure des Pays") who took photos (black and white) that are connected to Marcel Proust. It is such a delight too look at Bouchart's photographs and whenever I read Proust and I have a look at Bourchart's photos.
The photo above is the Maison de Tante Léonie. I took this photo while my parents and I visited this place. It is such a beautiful house (unfortunately, the quality of the photo is not the best since I had to scan the photo) and to our surprise there were no tourists at all.
In the photo below you can see an empty madeleine bag which is more than a decade old. There is still a pâtisserie around the corner of the Maison de Tante Léonie that sells madeleines. Of course we had to buy a bag of madeleines. The madeleines were not that great (who cares because I have my won recipe) but the bag is very pretty and it is a nice souvenir as well that I keep in one of my Proust books.
Makes 14 madeleines
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 35 g all-purpose flour
- 75 g almond flour
- 100 g egg whites (about 3 egg whites)
- Finely grated zest of 1 organic lemon
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Grease ad flour a madeleine pan, in case you use a silicon pan, you can omit this step).*
- Sift the powdered sugar and flour into a bowl. Add almond flour and mix well.
- Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until the egg whites form a light foam.
- Make a well in the flour-almond mixture and dip in the egg whites.
- Melt the butter on medium heat until the butter turns into a golden brown color and develops a nutty flavor.
- Add the melted hot butter gradually and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Fill the batter into the madeleine pan all the way to the top since the madeleines rise just a little bit.
- Bake the madeleines for 12 to 14 minutes until they are slightly golden at the edges.
- Remove the madeleines from the pan and sprinkle the cakes with powdered sugar.
- I cannot recommend highly enough to eat the madeleines on the same day you make the cakes.
* For this recipe I am using a silicone madeleine pan. If you use a metallic nonstick pan the baking time may be a bit shorter since silicone moulds require longer baking time. Just make sure that the edges of the madeleines are golden brown, then you know the cakes are done. Enjoy.