We've been eating a bit more healthily here recently and I haven't done any baking (apart from B's birthday cake, of course). This weekend I thought it was time I made a little something, and I knew just what it would be. B gave me this sweet little book as a present when she visited France a few years ago, and I'm very fond of it.
The illustrations are so good, it's one of those cook books which are lovely just to look at, and I also enjoy trying out my A level French on it. This is my favourite page - so pretty!
The madeleines in particular caught my attention; light little buttery sponge cakes. After a bit of investigation I discovered that they come from northern France and are traditionally made in the shape of little scallop shells. They use a genoise batter and can be flavoured in different ways, and are even mentioned by Proust in 'Remembrance of Things Past'.
I knew I could make them in my usual bun tray and they would taste the same, but I really wanted them to be shell-shaped. So I saved my pennies and bought a lovely madeleine baking tray last year. Here it is. A thing of beauty in its own right.
I used this recipe which is very easy to follow, but have made some from this one as well which were very good. First of all I zested and juiced a lemon.
Then melted the butter.
I whisked together the eggs and sugar until they were frothy.
Then I brushed some melted butter into the shell shapes and dusted them with flour to prevent sticking.
It was time to mix all of the ingredients together now and whisk them lightly.
After that I covered the mixture and left it to stand for 20 minutes.
I carefully poured the mixture into the tin, making sure not to go over the edges.
After 10 minutes they were done, although perhaps slightly overdone - maybe 8 minutes next time?
Once cooled I eased them out of their tin and dusted them with icing suger, sweet little lemony sponge shells.
The recipe says that they are best eaten within an hour of baking and who am I to argue? I ate one with a cup of tea, and it was very yummy. I'm just deciding what flavour to make next time ... lavender maybe, or almond, earl grey, rose and honey, lemon verbena, gingerbread? The possibilities are endless.
Have a good weekend x