I have made thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of these madeleines. I can make them in my sleep. I may even have made them in my sleep, in fact. I can make them in an hour, enough for a giant birthday party with enough left over for breakfast.
In fact, I’ve made so many of these and done it so often that I never even thought of putting the recipe up here. I might as well explain how to make a cup of tea.*
But. I got into a discussion over on eGullet about making them. Someone posted a question about where to find new madeleine pans, and I posed a question asking why they didn’t even consider the possibility of using silicone molds? I’ve never, ever made them with metal molds. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen metal molds, and if I had I’d have thought them something from the ancient past, a museum piece.
Rusty, in fact. I think of the one or two cake molds I have in metal as rusty antiques which I should throw away. Silicone molds are practical, easy, cheap, durable. Superior.
So Jean-Rémi Joly taught me this recipe that winter when it was just me in the plonge and him cooking to do all the meals from November to Easter. I’d wash up, prep everything, do the amuse-bouches and the patisserie. Madeleines were a nice touch with our cafés gourmets and we made them by the hundred every day.
You start with 500 grammes of sugar and 400 grammes of butter, and cream them together. Use your food mixer, please, unless you want to end up with carpal tunnels swollen to the size of the Blackwall Tunnel like mine.
Then add, one by one, nine medium eggs (50 grammes each). Beat each one in gently until it’s fully incorporated before adding the next.
Then sieve in 400 grammes of flour (type 45 patisserie flour, if that helps); you may call it ‘plain flour’, or something else. It’s the kind with the most gluten in it. Fold it into the mixture along with a hefty pinch of salt (say, 8 grammes) and bicarbonate of soda (7 grammes).
Finish with a slug of rum and the grated zest of a lemon.
Then put a small teaspoonful of the mixture into your greased silicone or metal moulds (I grease them with melted unsalted butter) and pop them into a pre-heated oven at 180°C for 12 minutes. Then turn them around 180 degrees and leave for another 3-5 minutes until they’re browned nicely.
If you’re the sort of person who likes your madeleines to have a little ‘hump’ on the top, bump up the temperature 10 or even 20 degrees, but check on them after 10 minutes so they don’t burn.
The baby madeleines you may be able to make out in these pictures are from, natch, baby madeleine molds. Cute, eh? And so tiny they contain no calories at all.
Remove them from the molds after allowing them to cool for 5 minutes – otherwise they’ll stick to the inside – and cool on a wire rack for as long as you can resist eating them. The advantage of silicone molds is that they’re very easy to pop out, pushing them from the other side to get them onto your wire rack.
Miam, as they say in Proustian.