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Honey Madeleines

Honey Madeleines
These small, feather-light French sponge cakes, believed to have originated in the town of Commercy in Lorraine, were made famous by Marcel Proust, who sang their praises in his novel Remembrance of Things Past. In this recipe, the buttery cakes are baked in a silicone baking mold and emerge with their traditional shell-shaped pattern. Madeleines are delicious dipped in coffee or tea.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at
     room temperature, plus more for brushing
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the 6 Tbs. (3⁄4 stick) butter until it starts to brown and gives off a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small heatproof bowl and let cool.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and honey and beat until thick, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, then the lemon zest, vanilla and melted butter and beat until well blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 375ºF. Butter and flour a 9-well silicone madeleine mold and place on a baking sheet.

Whisk the batter briefly. Fill each prepared well three-fourths full of batter. Bake until the madeleines are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Immediately invert the mold onto a wire rack and remove the madeleines, using a toothpick to gently loosen them, if needed. Let the mold and the baking sheet cool completely, then repeat with more butter, flour and the remaining batter.
Makes about 24 madeleines.
Hubert Keller, Chef/Owner, Fleur de Lys Restaurant, San Francisco