I finally had a chance to sit down and read through your copy of Patricia Wells' Simply French. I paid special attention to your dog-eared pages and added a few tags of my own. Before returning the book, there are a few recipes I must try out. I am drooling over her recipes for thick veal chop with wild mushrooms and asparagus (p. 175), and cheese and bacon potato cake (p. 203). But today, I am once again enamored with the idea of making madeleines.
I realize I already told you about my love for these delectable shell-shaped cookies, but I must do it again. Please indulge me. I'm always looking for new ways to make madeleines, and Patricia Wells offers five variations! (Madeleines aux cinq parfums: au chocolat, au citron, au miel, aux noisettes, et aux pistaches.) Obviously, she loves madeleines as much as I do.
I considered her flavoring techniques and made some adjustments in my latest dozen. Using a mortar and pestle, I ground the lemon zest into the sugar, gently persuading the zest to release its essential oils. What the Meyer lemon lacks in size it more than makes up for in flavor. The zest is intense and flowery. The juice is like lemon concentrate, with sweet notes and a distinct tang. The addition of honey subdued the intense lemon flavor while adding a subtle nuttiness. It is popular to take your tea with lemon and honey, why not a madeleine?
The only thing consistent about a madeleine is its shape. I am always surprised how different the recipes are for these treats. Patricia Wells asks for six large egg whites whisked until frothy and mixed with 13 tbsp of melted butter and 1/2 cup of finely ground almonds. I'm sure it tastes fantastic, but I'm not in the mood to separate eggs, so I went back to Dorie Greenspan's recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours.
Waiting for them to emerge from the oven, I am tortured by their sweet buttery fragrance. At the end of my patience, I burned my hasty fingers sliding them from their molds. The results, as always were fantastic. Tart lemon and the round, smooth flavor of honey are perfect in the buttery madeleine.
Meyer Lemon Honey Madeleines (makes 12)
adapted from Dories Greenspan Baking from My Home to Yours
inspired by Paricia Wells Simply French p. 262-265
5 tbsp butter, melted
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp honey
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
1 meyer lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a madeleine pan. Set aside.
Melt butter in a double boiler over moderate heat. Set aside to cool. Using a mortar and pestle, grind sugar and zest from one Meyer lemon. Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale yellow and doubled in size. Fold in the sifted flour, pinch of salt, and baking powder. Gradually whisk in cooled melted butter, honey, and juice of the Meyer lemon. Spoon into molds and bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown and plump. The madeleines should slide easily out of their molds. Serve with coffee or tea.