Go in Search for Lost Time and prevent your oven from getting depressed : Madeleines by Pierre Hermé

Jan­u­ary. A fresh start. A new year. A vir­ginally white page in the great big book of our life.

Also the month which sees a huge increase in the sale of fruit, veg­eta­bles and sports gear. Not to men­tion the sale of gym –memberships.

Over all Jan­u­ary is a happy month. Peo­ple wish­ing other peo­ple happy New Year, kiss­ing (three kisses on the cheek) peo­ple they nor­mally wouldn’t touch with a fifty foot pole but hey, it is New Year and kiss­ing some­one who gives you the creeps is sup­posed to bring good luck!

But some­one is not happy in Jan­u­ary. Or rather something.

I’m tak­ing about your oven.

Tra­di­tion­ally ovens are some­what neglected these days. After the busy bak­ing months of Octo­ber (Apple pies! Pump­kin pies! Turkey!) Novem­ber (What­ever, it is cold and we want some­thing hot in our stom­ach to warm us up from the inside) and espe­cially Decem­ber (Christ­mas cook­ies! Christ­mas cake!) ovens all over the world suf­fer from neglect and abuse.  Either they are not used at all or – even worse – their task are severely limited.

Peo­ple hear me out. Stop this ter­ri­ble abuse. Your oven is not fit for just grilling that piece of lean chicken or those veg­eta­bles. And you are def­i­nitely not doing it any ser­vice in just using it to heat up last night’s left­over lentils.

Please stop this mad­ness. Pre­vent your trusty bak­ing friend from grow­ing rusty and from suf­fer­ing from bak­ing – with­drawal. It is for your own good really. Because what do you think will hap­pen when your finally do need to use the oven for seri­ous bak­ing? Chances are the oven will be con­fused or over­en­thu­si­as­tic  and will spoil your per­fect cake batter.

Does this mean you have to throw all your healthy food plans away? No, of course not. By all means grill those veg­eta­bles and chicken, but bake the occa­sional cookie or cup­cake. Make them small, light and savoury. Per­haps add a lit­tle lemon to boost your vit­a­min C intake.

Coin­ci­dently I made a batch of cook­ies who answer to your and your oven’s needs : “Madeleine”.  Yes the same ones Proust waxes about so poet­i­cally in his “In Search of Lost Time”.  Mon­sieur Proust and I may not share the same fond mem­o­ries when it comes to Madeleines but I’m pretty sure our love for this most deli­cious treat is the same.

So please: do your oven a favour and put him to good use by mak­ing Madeleines. They will brighten your Jan­u­ary day and who knows, maybe you will be inspired to read Mr. Proust’s mas­ter­piece. (If you have read it: I applaud you! I did not have the hon­our of read­ing this myself and – look­ing at the size of it – I don’t know if I ever will). The recipe I used is from Pas­try Maester Pierre Hermé, I don’t know if it is the same as Proust’s ma used but they taste so good some­one ought to write a book about them, not just a paragraph.

Madeleines after the recipe by Pierre Hermé.

Ingre­di­ents (Mon­sieur Hermé says this will get you 12 dream­ily good cook­ies, but I got 20 out of it)

100 gr. / 3.53 ounces of flour

3 gr./0.16 ounces of dry yeast

100 gr. /3.53 ounces of good qual­ity butter

2 eggs

120 gr./4.23 ounces of pow­dered sugar

Zest of one whole lemon (here I dif­fered from Pierre’s recipe: he uses ¼ of the lemon, I pre­fer my cook­ies to taste prop­erly lemony not just Is-there-a-lemon-in-it-or-not)

You will of course need a bak­ing tin to make Madeleines.

 How to:

Com­bine the yeast and the flour into a bowl, while you are at it melt the but­ter in a lit­tle pot as soon as it has melted take it off the heat and put it aside to cool.

Now break your eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Beat them together until foamy and unc­tu­ous, the vol­ume should be dou­bled and the foam should look like this :

(bad pic­ture I know, I know, per­haps I should take a pho­tog­ra­phy course this year… or get Photoshop)

Next add the flour and yeast mix­ture, but here it gets a lit­tle tricky: put a strainer over the sugar-egg mix­ture and gen­tly sieve the flour/yeast combo over the sugar and eggs. When you are one third through put aside the strainer and MANUALLY (no Kitchenaid! No Ken­wood! NO NO No, thou shalt not use them, you go old school. Point final) fold the flour/yeast into the bat­ter, gen­tly does it. When all the flour has been added put the colan­der over the bat­ter again and start the process again until all the flour is gone.

Now add the molten but­ter  and the lemon zest while gen­tly stir­ring the mix­ture. Keep stir­ring until all the but­ter has gone.

Heat your oven up to 220C°/428 F°.

Fill the shells in the bak­ing tin for 2/3 with the bat­ter and put in the oven.  Bake for 5 min. at 220C°/428F° then lower the tem­per­a­ture to 200C°/392F° and bake for another 10min.

Take out of the oven and leave to cool before tak­ing the cook­ies out of the tin, it will be eas­ier to get them out in one piece this way.

Con­tinue until you have fin­ished all the batter.


Happy Eat­ing!!

5 thoughts on “Go in Search for Lost Time and prevent your oven from getting depressed : Madeleines by Pierre Hermé

    • I’m glad to hear you have a healthy rela­tion­ship with your oven. The madeleines are deli­cious! I’m kinda obsessed with them right now and plan to play around with the basic recipe and try new things.

  1. Pingback: Chocolate Covered Orange Flavoured Madeleines | Tantrums and Tomatoes

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