Classic French Madeleines

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Madeleines, the classic little French cakes that are sometimes referred to as biscuits or a cookie.  There are a few stories that surround the origin of these sublime cakes and I am unsure where the truth lies.  In one story the cakes were introduced to the French Court by Luis the XV in honoured of his father in-laws cook Madeleine Paulmier (Paumier).  In another, it has been attributed to Avice.  Talleyrand’s chef, who had the idea of baking a pound-cake mixture in aspic moulds.  Other authorities, however, believe that the recipe is much older and originated in Commercy, a town in Lorraine, which was then a duchy under the rule of Stanislaw Leszczynski.  It is said that during a visit to the castle in 1755 the duke was very taken with a cake made by a peasant girl named Madeleine.  This started the fashion for ‘Madeleines’ (as they were named by the duke) which were then introduced in Versailles by his daughter Marie, who was married to Louis XV.  The author Marcel Proust described them as “little shell cake, strictly pleated outside and so sensual inside.” No matter where these little cakes originated, they are a delight to eat, they form a light crisp coating on top, are spongy, soft and light on the inside.  They take a little bit of effort and I suggest you take the time and read through the recipe and Cook’s Tips.  You will achieve a great Madeleine and these simple steps are well worth it.  These classy little french cakes will be welcomed by all who like a little afternoon tea.

Ingredients 
2 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup plain flour
125 grams unsalted butter (melted & cooled)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
extra butter for greasing & flour dusting trays
icing sugar for dusting

Preparation Time:     20 minutes (approximately)
Cooking Time:      15 minutes (approximately)
Makes:     24

Preheat the oven to hot (220°C) for 15 minutes.  Grease two 12 shell shaped Madeleine pans.

Sift the flour and place aside.  Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat until completely melted.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.  In a bowl beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and creamy.  Add the lemon rind, vanilla extract and juice.  Fold in the sifted flour then add the melted butter, combine and mix well.  Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.

Using a dessertspoon, place the mixture evenly into each shell mould and bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes or until browned lightly.  Stand for 5 minutes before turning onto wire racks to cool.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Cook’s Tips

A few items to prepare in order to make things easier with this recipe.
Prepare the two 12 shell shaped Madeline pans (grease & dust with flour, remove any excess flour).
Sift the flour and place aside.
Grate the Lemon Rind and prepare the Lemon juice.
Melt the butter and allow to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar together.

Enjoy!

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