Ahhh the French and their impossible desserts! (said in French accent) I have always been fascinated with this biscuit délicat and actually have never tried any until I went to a Japanese supper club. I know. Random, right? And why do people call it a cookie when it is clearly a tiny, tiny cake???
I’ve heard and read many horror stories about how it is almost impossible to achieve the humps in the cake/cookie, and how it is so delicate that getting the right consistency in the batter will be your biggest accomplishment ever. Surprisingly, the recipe I used turned out to be very easy and my fear of everything going belly up never materialized. My first batch turned out so beautifully that I thought I had beginner’s luck but I managed to make the second batch without referring to the instructions and they also grew humps. Yay!
The trick in growing humps is to let the batter rest in the fridge for at least an hour. This allows the gluten to relax and give a very soft and airy texture. Also, instead of just melting the butter in the recipe, try making a beurre noisette. This is done by heating up a saucepan, then melting butter in it until the melted butter browns and gives off a nutty smell.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that this recipe has passed the ultimate test yet as Le French Monsieur Audoin was not around to give his seal of approval. It looks like I will be making more in the near future!
Classic Lemon Almond Madeleines Adapted from here 50g lightly salted butter 1 medium egg 40g caster sugar
30g plain flour
20g ground almonds
1 lemon, zested Grease madeleine moulds with butter. Make the beurre noisette by warming a heavy-based pan over a moderate heat and add the butter. Swirl the butter every now and then until it has melted, turned a golden colour and gives off a nutty scent. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly and strain the beurre noisette. In a metal bowl, whisk the egg with the caster sugar until the mixture has become light and airy. You should be able to briefly leave a figure of eight with the balloon whisk on the surface of the mixture. Sift the flour and ground almonds into the bowl and gently fold into the egg mixture together with the lemon zest. Finally, gently stir the beurre noisette through the mixture. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 190C. Spoon the batter into the madeleine moulds filling them 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the mould for a while until cool enough to handle and then turn out onto a wire rack. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. Madeleines are best eaten fresh but will keep to up to 2 days.