I tasted my first madeleine as an exchange student in Provence, so the memory is particularly sweet. Mine was not soaked in tea, but this spongy genoise cake is ideal for dipping in coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. You may not experience the Proustian memory when you take your first bite, but you will certainly remember this recipe far into the future!
Here is where you can buy the necessary madeleine pan:
And this recipe is from Patricia Wells’ Simply French:
Unsalted butter, softened, and all-purpose flour, for the tins
13 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground unblanched almonds
6 large egg whites
1 tablespoon strong-flavored honey, such as chestnut
1. With a brush, evenly coat the madeleine molds with butter, making sure you get into the indentations, and dust lightly with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set aside.
2. Prepare the brown butter: In a large saucepan, heat the butter over moderately high heat. The butter will go through several stages, from a foamy white liquid to one that’s almost clear and golden, with big airy bubbles. When the butter begins to brown and gives off a nutty aroma (about 5 minutes), transfer it to a medium-size metal or ceramic bowl to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool.
3. Sift the sugar and flour into a medium-size bowl. Stir in the ground almonds, and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the almond mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the brown butter and the honey.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds, filling them almost to the top. Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm up the batter.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Place the tins in the oven and bake until the madeleines are light golden and springy to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Sharply rap the tins against a flat surface to loosen the madeleines. Unmold immediately, using the tip of a sharp knife if necessary, and transfer to a rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. When completely cooled, the madeleines may be stored for several days in an airtight container.
Yield: About 24 madeleines
Truc (Tip): Refrigerating the batter before baking is what makes the little lump that is so common on a madeleine. You will probably have to bake one tin at a time, depending on whether you buy more than one, but do not skip this step.