“L’heure du Goûter”, snack time, is a magical hour in the afternoon, when school or kindergarten end and the parents or caregivers take the children to their homes. On the way they pass via the Boulangerie to buy the snack (Goûter in French) of four o’clock. The variety of snacks is large, today, of course, healthier products also come in, but when we talk about the classic Goûter, we mean, among other things, pain-au-chocolat, some cookies or biscuits and of course the Madeleine cookie.
Madeleine is a small cake, some call it a cookie, spongy and very rich in butter. Its salient feature is the shape of the shell obtained as a result of its baking in a mold in the form of shells. Like any classic French pastry or dessert, many stories have developed around the Madeleine’s name and origins.
One of the most fascinating stories about the origin of Madeleine belongs to the 18th century. Stanisław Leszczyński, King of Poland, was exiled to France where he found refuge. Louis XV married Leszczyński’s daughter, making her Queen of France. At the same time, Leszczynski took control of the Lorraine region, where he established a royal court.
In 1755, during a reception organized by Leszczyński for his guests at his castle in the town of Commercy (in the Lorraine region), a heated quarrel broke out between the chef and the pastry chef. The baker was offended and walked away, leaving the king and his guests without dessert. Of course it’s not possible to finish a real French meal without dessert, here a maid named Madeleine Paulmier came into the picture, deftly improvising a dessert in the shape of a cookie, according to a recipe she inherited from her grandmother. The guests praised the aromatic, juicy and shell-shaped cookie, and the rest is history.
The Madeleine cookie has become a culinary, historical and literary myth, much thanks to Marcel Proust’s book “In Search of Lost Time”. The moving scene in which Frost depicts the moment the cookie is immersed in the cup of tea has become one of the pillars of French and world literature.
Madeleine cookies are the ultimate snack in my opinion, they are easy to make, delicate and buttery. This time I chose to bake the Madeleine in a special mold of one big Madeleine, “Mega” Madeleine if you will. Of course the recipe can also be prepared in a standard Madeleine mold, only the baking time will be shorter.
One big Madeleine or 8-10 small units, depends on your Madeleine mold size
120 g eggs (around 2 eggs)
100 g sugar
40 g milk
125 g flour, sifted
5 g baking powder (sifted with the flour)
140 melted butter
120 g confectioner’s sugar
30 g orange juice
1. In a medium bowl whisk eggs and sugar. You can use a mixer but no whipping is needed.
2. Add milk, keep whisking.
3. Add flour and baking powder, mix until the ingredients come together.
4. Slowly add melted butter, until the batter becomes smooth.
5. Cover the batter and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Grease the pan with soft butter and flour. Note that all the folds of the shell are greased and floured.
7. Transfer the batter into a piping bag or a plastic bag, with one of the edges snipped off. Fill the mold almost to the top.
8. Place the pan in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 160 degrees.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes for small units, or 45-50 minutes for a one big unit. Bake until nicely browned.
10. Meanwhile, make the fondant: mix the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice until the sugar melts and a kind of thick white liquid is obtained.
11. Remove the Madeleines from the oven and while hot, carefully remove them from the pan and brush with fondant. If you are a chocolate lover, it is recommended to melt chocolate and dip the Madeleines.