Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Chocolate & Lemon Madeleines ... a recipe by the master himself, Pierre Hermé.
Pssst, you. Yes, you. Can you keep a secret? I have some confessions to make.
- One, I have never eaten nor made madeleines in my life. At least I don't recall. They just never appealed to me. Crazy, right?
- Two, Clare (Mrs Multitasker) very generously gave me a copy of "Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé" almost 10 months ago, and I only made my first dessert from it today. Crazy, right?
- Three, these madeleines were made using a mold that cost me all of two bucks. Crazy, right?
Well, what can I say? French desserts always unnerve me. They have these strange, quirky requisites, like feet for macarons, bumps for madeleines, no domes for financiers, height for souffles ... argh, the list goes on.
But after I made my first grown-up chocolate cake, I have become emboldened. Of course, seeing that lone madeleine mold at Daiso helped seal the deal. Come on, two bucks ... and Made in Japan. Pffft, it's a no-brainer.
That's my $2 mold in the background. :)
Now, you can't expect to get the deep, clear lines a proper - and very expensive - madeleine mold would give (and I suspect, the dark chocolate colour of my madelines doesn't help either). But at two bucks, I'll gladly overlook that. They are still Pierre Hermé madeleines, made with Valrhona cocoa no less. Aesthetics will have to take a backseat this time. ;)
(from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé, written by Dorie Greenspan)
*Makes 12 cookies.
* An overnight rest in the refrigerator is what gives these madeleines their characteristic bump in the center. If you're in a hurry, chill them for an hour - you won't get as pronounced a bump, but cookies will bake better for the chill.
* Madeleines can be kept at room temperature in an airtight tin for about 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks, but don't toss them away if they get a little stale - that's when they're best for Proustian dipping.
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp (70 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona
- 1/2 tsp double-acting baking powder
- 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp (90 g) sugar
- pinch of salt
- grated zest of 1/4 lemon
- 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 6 1/2 tbsp (100 g) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Set aside. Put the sugar, salt and lemon zest into a bow and rub everything together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic.
2. Using a whisk beat the eggs into the lemon-sugar until the mixture is blended. Squish the butter through your fingers to create what is called a pomade and add it into the bowl. Still working with the whisk, beat in the butter just to get it evenly distributed. Gently whisk in the sifted flour mixture, stirring only until the flour is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the batter and chill it overnight before baking. The overnight rest helps the cookies develop their characteristic bump on their backs; if you don't have time for an overnight rest, try to give the batter at least an hour in the refrigerator.
3. When you are ready to bake the cookies, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425F (220C). Butter a 12-mold madeleine pan, than dust the molds with flour, tapping out the excess.
Note: I buttered but did not flour ... even though it is highly recommended in the book.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the madeleine molds. Place the pan in the oven, insert wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 350F (180C). Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes, or until they are domed and spring back when pressed lightly. Unmold the cookies onto a work surface - you may have to rap the madeleine pan against the counter to release the cookies - then transfer them to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Note: I did not do the wooden spoon trick. I simply reduced the temperature to 200C when the madeleines went in.
Also, much thanks to my fairy godmother, Monique, for the adooooorable little cocktail picks. :) I love them!
Oh and before I sign off, here's yet another confession: this photo above was a test shot (for lighting), and one which I did not style, which explains why it looks different from the rest. But it turned out to be the one I liked best ... so I saved the best for last. ;) The stars must have been aligned. C'est la vie!