After I confronted myself for the very first time with a classic Overseas sweet (if you missed them, I remind you my brownies), this time I decided to dedicate myself to a great, great classic of Transalpine pastry making. Who, in fact, on a little trip to our French cousins (here in Piedmont these cousins are very very close) has never tasted a soft madeleine?
Sure, maybe the croissants or the pains au chocolat are more famous (and easier to find here in Italy), but I wasn't psychologically ready for my first attempt to make puff pastry, yet (and maybe it's better to wait for a more cold season to give it a try, huh?). Also, I recently received a brand new nonstick pan for mini-madeleines… should I leave it untouched?! Never!!! It would be an insult and a mortal blow to my self-esteem.
So, looking for a recipe for madeleines, I came across this video, which explains in detail (in French) how to prepare the most classical madeleines, lemon-flavored. Of course you can flavor them as you wish: coffee, matcha tea, chocolate chip, orange rind, with jam heart and so on.
I start from the basics and, seeing the result, I will continue to experiment with madeleines, 'cause these little cakes are soft and fragrant, perfect for breakfast, as snacks to accompany your afternoon coffee or tea (and mine, being mini-madeleines, attenuate the standard sense of guilt) or as little desserts.
MADELEINES AU CITRON
Ingredients (about 48 mini madeleines)
* grated zest of an organic lemon
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 tspn of salt
* 100 g granulated sugar
* 100 g all-purpose flour
* 100 g unsalted melted butter, cold
* 8 g baking powder
In a bowl beat the eggs with the lemon zest, sugar and half a teaspoon of salt until mixture is soft and fluffy (I did it with electric whisks). Gradually add the sifted flour and baking powder and stir well with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula, until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Finally add the cold melted butter and stir with a spatula (or wooden spoon), to incorporate it well.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it to rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (but you can leave it there for a longer time, even overnight).
After this time, pre-heat the oven to 390° F (200° C) and grease/flour the madeleines pan (obviously if you don't have a nonstick pan. If you haven't bought your pan yet, I strongly suggest you to purchase a non-stick or a silicone one, since you have to bake several batches). Pull out the mixture from the refrigerator and fill each madeleine mold with a spoon of batter (filling the mold with the right amount of batter is the hardest thing. As you can see in the video I linked before, the batter shouldn't fill completely the shell form for the result to be optimal). Put the remaining dough in the fridge.
Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes if the pan is for regular madeleines (usually this pan has room for 9 madeleines), but if you have a mini-madeleines pan (usually this has room for 12 madeleines), it should take about half the time to cook. Check constantly the baking of the first batch in order to adjust the times and to avoid that the madeleines become too brown: the important thing for madeleines is that they swell just fine (assuming their typical rounded shape) while regarding the color, they should become golden on the edges, while their bodies remain quite clear.
Remove the madeleines from the oven, remove them from the pan and set them to cool on a wire rack. Repeat until the mixture exhaustion.
Their fragrance and softness is amazing, and the slight lemon flavor makes them delicate and suitable for every moment of every day.