I've said it before and I'll say it again... I suck at baking. But sometimes I eat something and think "God, I really need to learn how to make these..." and the delicate little Madeleine cakes at the 3 Daniel Boulud restaurants in NYC, London and Vancouver, are truly wonderfully light Madeleines, gently crisp on the outside and comfortingly warm and featherlight on the inside. I decided that these little sponge beauties are worth the effort and so I ordered a this wonderful Madeleine pan from Amazon and found a recipe online for the exact Madeleines I was looking for.
My first batch were a complete disaster (see 3rd image above)... I realised that the recipe measurements were beyond ridiculous after a bit of guesstimated tweaking, I baked 6 batches of perfectly formed Madeleines that were fantastic. I even got creative and found some pistachio 'butter' (basically 100g of pureed pistachios) from Whole Foods and tweaked the recipe again, using less butter and less flour and produced an even better Madeleine than I could have hoped for in the first place... and here is how I did it:
Perfect Madeleines (Makes 20-22 large Madeleines)
110g plain flour
2 large eggs
75g butter, melted (salted or unsalted, makes no difference really!)
2 heaped tablespoons of light brown sugar
4 heaped tablespoons of caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 tablespoon of clear honey
1 teaspoon of best quality vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
A little icing sugar for dusting
Spray oil for greasing Madeleine pan
Sieve the plain flour and baking powder into a bowl. In a seperate bowl, add your grated lemon zest, honey, brown and white sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter and mix well with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add your flour and baking powder and incorporated well, without over-mixing it but until an even consistency is reached. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for an hour.
About 10 minutes before the hour is up, preheat your oven to 190 degrees (180 if fan assisted) and then spray your madeleine pan lightly with oil spray. If you have a piping bag, pour the batter into it and carefully pipe your batter in a line into the mould, allowing a gap of about half a centimetre from each side (as the cake will expand!) If you don't have a piping bag (which I didn't) you can use a sandwich bag and cut a small cm wide incision in one corner or simply spoon 1 heaped teaspoon of the mix into the centre of each mould - which will spread out during cooking.
Then place the tray in the oven for 4 minutes, after which you need to turn the tray around so the Madeleines brown evenly and bake for another 4 minutes. Once done refill your tray and repeat baking process. You should if you correctly measured the batter out, have anywhere from 20-22 Madeleines. Allow them to cool for about 10minutes and gently remove them from the mould and dust with a little icing sugar and serve. I defy you not to eat 6 of them all in one go... !
To make the pistachio version, I used 50g of butter instead of 75g and added 100g of pistachio butter with only 50g of flour and I omitted the lemon zest. I must say, these were my favourite...! Maybe its because I'm a pistachio junkie, but they were (past tense, because I literally inhaled them all) very, very good!