Monday, April 09, 2012

Bear Bakes Madeleines

 While you're leisurely nibbling your chocolate Easter oeufs/eggs, Bear and I raised hell in the kitchen attempting to bake again. This time we may have hit the mark with the traditional French madeleine...almost.

 We did A LOT of research before plunging in.
Research is much easier than baking. We started with Chef Marthe Brohan's recipe since it was a terrific winner - perfect little yellow cakes. Solli Kanani of the blog, Solli's Lifestyle will be coming with me. We both have international press cards.
 We moved on to The Bonne Femme cookbook - very thorough.
 Finally David Lebovitz' The Sweet Life in Paris madeleine recipe. Bear and I mostly stuck with David, since the measurements were in English and there were plenty of minute details for 'idiots-in-the kitchen' like us.
Fortunately we brought home some real French baking powder we spotted in Chef Marthe's pantry!
 And we just got our first ever madeleine pan from Amazon. It worked well for us. Who knew?
 Now for the nitty-gritty of putting the ingredients (flour-eggs-butter-sugar) together. Why is painting a watercolor easy as pie? But go whip a couple of eggs and sugar and I want to jump out the window.
 David says to sift in the flour (with one hand) while 'folding' the batter with the other. At least you paint with only ONE hand.
 Then 'dribble' in the melted butter + zest (I only had an organic lime malheureusement). Again a two-handed operation. Do people bake without Zanex?
 My batter looked sad IMHO.
 Nothing like the golden, smooth-flowing batter of Chef Marthe. *Important secret to madeleines, after putting the batter into the pan (3/4 full only svp), they MUST REST in the fridge for at least ONE HOUR. That's how you get the precious 'hump'/bump.
Chef Marthe says, you must WAIT in cooking always.
Patience is required.
 Et voila!
By some miracle the stars were in the right constellation and our madeleines came out looking like MADELEINES! We even got the oft-missed famous 'poof', bump or puff!
 Bear and Babar were thrilled to take tea at gouter/snack time(4:30pm). The madeleines were nicely crunchy outside and NOT tough on the inside. I thought they could have been a tad sweeter. Perhaps lime zest was to blame? Certainly neither Bear nor I licked any spoons/bowls in the process. We're getting 'the training' c/o 'Bringing Up Bebe'.
Weekend baking is a oui. Licking the bowl is a non non.
As is tasting when it is not 'GOUTER' time. We cleverly planned our baking venture for late afternoon. Ha! Our neighbors got half the madeleines for safe keeping, ahem. Restraint is the next lecon and Pamela's yogurt cake.
A BIG MERCI to Girl's Guide to Paris for including PB on their BEST PARIS BLOGS list. Do take a look. I know you're waiting till 4:30pm to nibble those oeufs chocolat bien sur.


  1. Oh Carol Bravo the madeleines look so yummy! They turned out perfectly! I hope you had a lovely Holiday weekend!

    Art by Karena

    Art by Karena

  2. You and Bear are such a great team, perfect Madeleines at first try, I am in awe!

    I rather like the idea of lime zest. Your batter looks good, IMHO! Could be that Chef Marthe's egg yolks were a bit yellower, same for the French butter (which has a higher fat content than American butter - for next time, you may want to look for Plugrá, which is an American brand, but they make their butters in the French style).

    1. Excellent suggestions M.
      I did feel that somehow Breakstone butter didn't make the grade - not a buttery enough aroma or taste like the French ones.
      Plugra - we had that at the James Beard House all the time...
      Oui absolutement!

  3. Geri, NJ9:56 AM

    Oh! My fave thing to bake...but I give most of them away ~ those at home complain bitterly about this. Love B+B's place setting by the way.

    1. Giving them away Geri NJ is the best and ONLY solution.
      Having goodies in the house is not allowed here.
      Bear will eat them!

  4. Congrats to the Best Madeleine-Team:
    Your Madeleines look so Yummy ... my mouth is watering !

  5. Madeleines and drop scones are the only two baking items I can do! Have no idea why they always turn out right but it does take me tasting every one before I can say success again!!!!!!

  6. Sorry, but licking the bowl is a MUST!! :-)

  7. Anonymous10:42 AM

    i love your blog and just wanted to share my favorite recipe for madeleines
    it's from joel robuchons book
    "Simply French" it has madelines in 5 different flavors, includes brown butter and ground almonds in recipe and is SIMPLY THE BEST, EVER!!!!

    1. They may seem to be the best but his recipe is more like a FINANCIER. Robuchon uses only the egg whites not the whole egg.
      Plus almond flour not regular flour - not kosher IMHO.
      The recipes are here.

    2. Anonymous10:06 AM

      point taken
      i guess it's my personal idea of what a madeleine should be moist and buttery
      thanks for publishing recipes anyway
      have a nice day

  8. Congratulations. And FUN - a fancy new pan for your kitchen! I love new kitchen things. The sorry state of my life is that most often I'm boiling pasta or heating up soup as the extent of my "cooking."

    I saw a photo somewhere of a display of vintage madeline pans decorating the wall of a kitchen. A new habit for you when you're out browsing brocantes!

  9. Madeleines are one of my specialties (I'm baking Proustian moments for mes enfants) and I love good old American Martha Stewart's recipe but your Mads look soooo good that I think I'm going to experiment with some FRENCH recipes. Merci for the tips!!!!

  10. Forget Paris! I need to move to New York. Just call me "neighbor".

  11. The first thought is for my Grandmother named Madeleine

    Then second thought is for Proust and his beautiful writing about this little delicious sweet treat

    And thinking of it I might dig the four trays (regular size and mini madeleines) that I have not used for years…. And will make some this week…

    I enjoy your blog because it reminds me of all the great things that make France such a wonderful country….
    Thank you
    Enjoy this wonderful spring day.


  12. So how come you didn't invite me up for tea and a Madelaine or two over the weekend?
    And, when painting my watercolors, 1/2 of the time I have another wet brush (water)in my right hand, ready to kiss the edge of washes that need blending.

  13. I remember almond flower from one of your past projects - macs?
    Good to see Bear is so involved with household chores!
    The finished product looks great & I think that I made this comment right on "Bebe time."

    1. unfortunately we have been snacking here all afternoon today..
      I mean moi

  14. Chef Marthe5:39 PM

    Thank you very much Dear Carol for this article about madeleines.
    All my friends and clients are now reading regularly your very lively "Paris-breakfasts".
    As for the Robuchon's Madeleines - they are very good but it is more the Financier's batter than Madeleines, because if you read the Financier recipe you use brown butter, almond powder and egg whites.
    the same than Robuchon's recipe...
    Also his Madeleine's puffs are very small. So, I can say that Robuchon's Madeleines are a kind of Financiers (very good). When I do that recipe I call it "Financiers".
    Vous me donnez faim !
    A bientôt

  15. These look delicious!

  16. Congrats Carol, They look wonderful. Are you going to move to Paris and become a Pastry Chef? :))

    1. Pastry chef?
      Dog walker?
      certainement oui!
      Pet painter?
      Absolutement OUI!

  17. I had madelines for the first time recently and they were divine! Truly:)) Happy belated Easter PB:))

  18. Is it just me, or is Bear becoming a bigger all-around talent?!

    1. It's true SF
      Bear is expanding his horizons
      And perhaps his waistband...ahem

  19. Bravo! I've yet to make madeleines, but I've used M. Lebovitz's macaron recipe many a time! So delish. French baking is my favorite kind.
    Congrats on making the Best Paris Blogs list!

  20. Your madeleines look delicious- and well done you for showing such restraint. And congratulations on making the best Paris blogs list- of course It's only right that you should be there!


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