Apparently I’m on a French dessert kick. Last week, I deep-fried a batch of lovely Merveilles. And yesterday, I made a dozen Madeleines. Who wants to taste these adorable shell-shaped cakes?
Madeleines are shell-shaped, because they are baked, surprise-surprise, in a pan with shell-shaped depressions. I obtained my excellent quality Madelein pan for $15.00 at the kitchen-supply store. The same model is available from Amazon and other online sources.
The cakes begin their career as a génoise batter, which is indeed very easy to make. All you need is a couple of bowls, a whisk, and a spatula. Flavor the batter with lemon zest and rose water, as I did the other day, and you’ll produce the most extraordinary Madeleines in the world.
Note: In France, Madeleines are pronounced MAD-uh-lenn.
My step-by-step recipe:
I hope you have a micro-zester. If not, you can order the gadget at the same time you order your Madelein pan. If I may be so bold.
Revel in the aroma, baby. Lemon-sugar smells exactly like sunshine.
Ain’t no sunshine in New York’s Hudson Valley today. In fact, would you like to see the view from my kitchen window?
And a healthy splash of rose water. Rose water — it must be food grade — is available from online sources, as well as kitchen supply stores and gourmet food shops. It has a gorgeous floral scent. To me, it recalls the antique damask rose.
When you are ready to bake, place a baking sheet on the center rack of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Now a life-altering decision must be made: Shall we dust the cakes with confectioners’ sugar — or glaze them?
I say glaze ’em, baby.
First, preheat the oven to 500°F. Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, the juice of the lemon you previously zested, and a splash of rose water. The glaze should have the consistency of heavy cream. In other words, it must not be terribly thick.
Place the rack of cakes — still on their baking sheet — in the oven, and keep a close watch on things. When the glaze begins to bubble in 1 – 3 minutes, promptly remove the Madeleines and let them cool.
Here’s the printable: