Bonjour my friends,
I hope some of you have a sweet tooth because this week’s recipe is a classic “mini cake” in France: The Madeleine. Kids (as well as adults) love them. It’s the perfect little treat to go with coffee/tea after lunch, without feeling guilty (well, if you eat the whole batch, you might feel guilty). What I love about them is not only the taste, but their cute shape. They look like little shells, it’s adorable.
For me, baking madeleines brings me as much pleasure as eating them. Once the madeleines are in the oven, and the sweet smell floats in my kitchen, it’s like being a kid again, waiting for my 4 o’clock snack with a hot coco.
The madeleine has been made even more “famous” by Marcel Proust, when he used madeleine to show the difference between voluntary and involuntary memory in the “episode of the madeleine,” (In Search of Lost Time). Like many French students, I studied this text in French class in High School. I had to present and analyze the text for one of my exams, and since I LOVED this text, I’m proud to say I aced it! Below is the text of “episode of the madeleine”:
No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. … Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.
—Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
I’m sure all of you have experienced a taste or a smell that just took you back to your childhood. Feel free to comment below to share it with us. For me, it’s my grandmother’s mash potatoes. When the mash potatoes are seasoned just right, it just transports me back to her kitchen. I guess cooking can also serve as time machine!
For a dozen madeleines (I prefer the lemon flavored ones):
- 3.5 oz. of Flour (approximately 1 cup)
- 3.5 oz. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3.5 oz. butter
- 1 spoon of baking powder
- 2 spoon of lemon juice (and/or 1 spoon of lemon zest, depending on how much lemon flavor you want)
Preheat oven at 400°F.
Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip the eggs, add lemon juice and zest. Slowly add the flour, and then add the butter. Mix thoroughly. Put mixture in mold (2/3 of it).
Put in the oven for 15 min.
Take out from mold right away and let it cool down.
Secret Ingredient: lemon zest (just because the lemon ones are my favorite, you can also replace the lemon by vanilla)
Radio Station: David Gray
Movie to watch after dinner: Now and Then (1995)
So Enjoy, Bon Appétit and C’est la Vie!