Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Madeleines and I





Never in my wildest dream did I think I would write about making Madeleines. I kept them as a cherished memory of that little pastry shop in the south of France where I used to buy and and enjoy them 5 years ago.   So you can be sure I’m pretty proud of myself that I was brave enough to buy the pans, make them and serve them to a special guest,  that I met for tQuilt_4he first time.  All this originated because of a trip to New Hampshire and seeing that my nieces Marielle and Kim produce this little gems,  so I thought if they can do it, so can I and I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                               Kim’s Madeleines


For those who don’t know what Madeleines are, I found this from Wikipedia. The madeleine is a traditional small cake from Commercy and Liverdun, two communes of the Lorraine region in northeastern France.220px-Madeleinetraysmall

Madeleines are very small sponge cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape acquired from being baked in pans with shell-shaped depressions. Aside from the traditional moulded pan, no special tools are required to make madeleines.

A génoise cake batter is used. The flavour is similar to, but somewhat lighter than, sponge cake.


There are so many versions  about the origin of Madeleines; it is difficult to pinpoint one.  According to one story, the name “madeleine” was given to the cookies by Louis XV to honour his father in-law’s cook, Madeleine Paulmier.  Louis first tasted them in Lorraine in 1755; his wife, Mari then introduced them at Versailles where they soon became all the rage.

Whatever the origins, they have become inextricably linked with the author Marcel Proust who, in his: “ Á la recherche du temps perdu/ Remembrances of Things Past, “called the madeleine, “a little shell of cake, so generously sensual beneath the piety of its stern pleating.” This book sounds like something I might enjoy reading one day;  but it will have to wait a while. It  has 7 volumes; I have decided to keep it for the days I will be sitting in the old age home….


The recipe I am offering today is  based“Madeleines de Proust” in honour of the writer who so loved them. The chef gives them a distinctive citrus flavour with the addition of lemon zest, but you’ll also find some flavoured with pistachios, tea, orange and chocolate.


“These Madeleines are all that a Madeleine should be: Tender little cakes with the fine flavour of soft flour and bronzed with a butter crust. But the finishing touch is the light citrusy glaze that moistens and elevates these Madeleines from being something ordinary (madeleines are never ordinary) to being the moist, yet delicately-dainty little cakes that makes writers rhapsodize about .” David Lebovitz


I also would agree that they’re definitely tea-worthy or with une tasse de chocolat chaud.                                               

For my recipe we must thank  David Lebovitz 


Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

24 cookies

Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz

They’re done when the cakes feel just set if you poke them with your finger. Avoid over baking them. There’s nothing better than a fresh, buttery madeleine.

I also prefer to bake these in the upper-third of my oven, so the tops get slightly-browned. I love the lemon glaze, but you can omit it if you want your madeleines naked.

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup (175g) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

zest of one small lemon

9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature,                                                                                              plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar

1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons water


1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter.                                                                                                              Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.

2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

3. Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)

4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4′s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it. I used my small cookie scoop.

10. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

11. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.

Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don’t recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Lemon Glazed Madeleines

I love to try new products and gadgets; this week I am adding a little segment to my blog.  I will share with you something I have discovered over the years that makes cooking easier and more fun. Everything I will review,  I have tried and gave it my little stamp of approval.


Kitchen Hints

Sage’s Tips:

 Bake Easy™ Non-Stick SprayFor cakes that turn out beautifully every time, start by spraying pans with Bake Easy. This convenient non-stick spray helps your cakes release perfectly with fewer crumbs for easier icing and a flawless decorated cake. Just a light, even coating does the job. Eliminate parchment paper; no more greasing and flouring your baking pans and muffin tins.  Versatile for all types of baking; I have been using this fantastic product; follow the instructions on the can. I found this in a kitchen store. There are many others on the market, but this is the one I found and tried. My madeleines slid off the pans.


Thank you for reading me; I love hearing from you.. If you have a product or gadget you are wondering about, send me a note. If I can, I will try it and give you a review; just another excuse to look for something new.

Happy Cooking.



  1. I have been tempted so many times to buy Madeleine pans but I don't know why I resist. Your wonderful photos and background are tempting me once again! They sound wonderful! I think I would love the chocolate-dipped version ;)

  2. What a wonderful post! You've chosen a terrific recipe for your madeleines. They look gorgeous. Have a fantastic day. Blessings...Mary

  3. These look just wonderful. I think I'll take 1 with a cup of tea, please! ;-D

  4. MMmmMmmmMmMm that looks so GOOD :D
    marry christmas <3


  5. Oddly enough I have never tried to make madeleines. Yours look very elegant. I am tempted to try them. I wish I could make a trip to New Hampshire. I studied there and I have so many beautiful memories.

  6. I'm going to have to get my pan out and dust it off, I haven't made these since the girls were little. They loved them dipped in chocolate, but I think I'd like the lemon glaze. I've never seen the bake easy, I will have to keep a look out, thanks for the tip!

  7. Your madeleines are so gorgeous. This must be a great recipe to use. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I definitely need to invest in some madeleine pans! Yours looks absolutely beautiful!

  9. I have been looking at those pans for a long time but never have bought any. Love the recipes and photos. Those would be great looking for a party dessert, looks tasty and moist!

  10. oh wow love madeleines my weakness :-)

  11. I loved reading your post. A couple of months ago I wrote about the madeleines we ate in Proust's hometown. Yours look just as good!

  12. I so love madeleines but have never thought to make them myself. Of course with my lack of baking skills, I probably should not :)
    These are so pretty Rita...someday maybe I could just hang out in your kitchen :)

  13. Now I know what to add to my Christmas list....madeleine pans! I have sampled these a few times in Europe, and they are so delicious. I can't wait to try my hand at them. They would be perfect with coffee! Thanks for sharing with me, my friend. Have a wonderful end to your week!

  14. Beautiful! I enjoy eating madeleines. You did a great job.


  15. Rita, your madeleines are beautiful! I have yet to buy some madeleine pans, but it's on my "to-do" list of 2011. I'm dying to make my own. They're so pretty, good job!

  16. Ah Rita, I'm so glad you found me so I could visit back. I love your blog and madeleines but have never made them. I made a pumpkin pie Tuesday, using some vintage pie pans (not deep dish) and it came out barely 3/4 of an inch deep and the crust was raw on the bottom because I put aluminum foil on the bottom rack so it wouldn't mess up my new hubby said I should stick to reading about cooking and buy Mrs Smith's pies. Now I have a lovely place to read about cooking..Take care.

  17. Rita, I love all the history you put in this post! I love to learn the origins of recipes. Your picture with the Madeleines an the cup of tea is too tempting! I am going to make a cup or tea now and grab a snack.

  18. Oh my goodness glory, I've gotta try these!!! They look so wonderful even my thighs are leapin' for joy!


    God bless ya and have a splendid weekend sweetie!!!

  19. These are on my to bake list. Great post.

  20. Those look great! I think I might have to try making them some day. I always wondered what those pans my grandmother has were for... :)

  21. Thank you David Lebowitz. These madeleines look absolutely perfect! I can almost taste them through my computer screen.

  22. Glad you finally got to make these! I've also felt daunted about making these, mainly because I didn't want to buy a special pan, haha. They look great :)

  23. pu post is always impressive .little madeleines are looking wonderful . ur clicks are suparb

  24. Wonderful recipe for madeleines. Dipping them in chocolate makes them even more deliciously exquisite. Marvelous work!

  25. These are beautiful!! I've made madeleines a couple of times this year but have yet to invest in a pan. I am still hoping to find one at the thrift store.

  26. I join you, your nieces and M. Proust in the liking of madeleines!! Thanks for reminding me of them. I shall pull out the mold and make some soon.


  27. O, Sage...these little shell cakes look so delicious. You come up with the most delightful recipes. Thanks so much for sharing.
    hugs, bj

  28. Rita, your Madeleines turned out perfect. You can always count on David.

  29. Perfect time of year for those great cookies. Mmm Madeleines.

  30. I threw out my old Madeleine pan years ago because it was made of tin and the little cakes always stuck no matter what I did. Now I see non-stick pans that would eliminate that problems. This looks like a wonderful recipe, Rita. I must try it.

  31. That is what I need for Christmas- a madeleleine baking pan! I love them! :)

  32. Your madeleines look fantastic. I can't understand why I haven't made them yet although I bought the tins last Christmas.

  33. Rita, your madeleines look delicate and love the lemony flavor...the pictures are absolutely gorgeous :-)

  34. i love madeleines and yours look so lovely..i usually get my fixed from starbucks on weekends.. thanks for sharing this..i love it. hope you have a lovely weekend.

  35. Delicious! And perfect for dunking into tea, as M. Proust would...

  36. You ahve tempted me to get DL's book:) Your chocolate tipped Maddies are so pretty..Are you being bombarded by snow?

    We have quite a bit here in QC..Thanks for the tip on the spray..I have never seen it!

  37. Hello Rita,
    I will be baking salted medeleine tomorow for appetizer. Ham ones, cheese...Tiny ones, it will be the first time . Usually i make some lemon ones or with the children, they use to make ones they dip in chocolate!
    A bientôt!

  38. Had to tell you because of your post I finally bought a Madeleine pan last week :) Results soon...

  39. Those are very lovely and delicious Madeleines!
    Lovely to have dropped to your wonderful space.
    Happy 2011 to you!


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