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Rosemary and Parmesan Madeleines

As this recipe demonstrates, the feather-light French cakes known as madeleines can be savory as well as sweet. After baking, they're sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and fleur de sel, one of the most prized sea salts in the world. This grayish-ivory salt from Brittany, France, highlights the natural flavors of foods and adds a pleasing crunch.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3 tsp. finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling*
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus
     more for sprinkling

Directions:

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.

Brush the molds of two 12-well madeleine pans with 2 Tbs. of the butter and dust with all-purpose flour; tap out the excess.

Sift the cake flour into a bowl and gently stir in the rosemary, the 1 tsp. fleur de sel and the pepper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on high speed until yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cream of tartar and sugar and beat until the mixture drops from the whisk in ribbons, about 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture and the 1 cup cheese, then fold in the remaining 6 Tbs. butter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared molds so the batter is even with the rims. Bake until the madeleines spring back when pressed lightly, about 12 minutes. Immediately remove them from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel and cheese and serve. Makes 18 madeleines.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen

* Available at Williams-Sonoma stores.