Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Coconut and Lemon Madeleines!

I, like so many people out there, thrive on daily cocktails of little rituals. They form part of my life and I wouldn't give up on them for anything. Morning starts with a cup of cup sipped while watching the news and the afternoon is coffee time again but with a sweet nibble like a cake or a cookie!

When I have the time, I like to indulge and treat myself with layered cakes, stuffed with creams with countless flavor combinations. However, time is precious and not always available. Short on time, I look for simple yet delicious cakes that need no extra cream or filling to sing!

Madeleines de Commercy are one of those recipes that I think everyone should have in their repertoire. While they have a reputation of being hard to master, they are in fact easy. Of course, like all French desserts, you need to respect a certain protocol, but once you do that, the result will always be in your favor. Madeleines are also a good dessert to prepare ahead of time as you can prepare the batter up to one day in advance.

These little buttery cakes were first made in 1755 by a young girl named Madeleine.
King Stanilas of Lorraine was holding a lunch with guests when he knew that his pastry chef left after an argument. As a royal lunch would not be complete without a dessert, something was needed to be done.  The King's butler went on to it and found the right dessert. Cakes of a new and unusual shape, nice golden color, and a rich and deep flavor. The cakes were an instant hit and the king asked to know who was the genius behind the cake. The king was presented with a shy young girl. He then asked her about the name of the dessert. The girl said they didn't have a name and that this is what we usually bake at la "Commercy". The king asked the girl about her name and she replied" Madeline". The king then said "well then, we will call them after you" Madeline.

And after a bit of history let´s make these wonders with a little twist!

For 12 Madeleines you need:
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 50 g sugar
  • 50 g pastry flour
  • 25 g shredded coconut
  • zest of half lemon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • dash of salt
  • 4 g baking powder
  • 70 g butter
First, put the butter in a saucepan and let it melt on a gentle flame, leave until it browns a bit and a wonderful nutty flavor fills your kitchen. Add the lemon zest and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the egg, vanilla and the sugar until it dissolves. Add the flour, salt, coconut, and baking powder. Mix until well combined and add the butter and the lemon.

Cover the batter and place it in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight for better combination of flavors!

When ready to bake, grease the Madeleine mold, cover with flour and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can also do that step the night before!

Preheat the oven to 210 C, fill 2/3 of the mold to leave space for the cake to rise, place in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 170 C. The Madeleines should be done in 10 minutes.  The typical Madeleine bump will form and the edges will turn golden. Your cakes are done!

These cakes are better consumed the same day and they are so good dipped in a cup of coffee or to be enjoyed with tea or hot chocolate.

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