Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Madeleines



I can't really think about madeleines without thinking about Marcel Proust, whose bite of this small cake provokes a vivid childhood memory, the lengthy examination of which lasts for seven volumes of A La Recherche Du Temps PerduNow he really was a navel gazer. He would have been an excellent blogger. 

"[My mother] sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called "petites madeleines", which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrims shell...I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place."
Proust, M, Swann's Way,  Penguin 1957, pp 55-56.


I did not get on with Proust. I read Swann's Way, the first in the series, when I was an undergraduate, and found it rather like wading through treacle. It was not for me. One professor told me that Proust is "the Everest of literaure" which I think he thought was a good thing. Well, I got halfway to base camp before giving up and going home for a cup of tea and a murder mystery. How I passed that semester I will never know.




The recipe is from my current recipe book obsession. I promise I will put it down now and cook from another book. Madeleines are basically small light, buttery sponge cakes baked in a shell shaped tin and the recipe can be found here on the BBC website.




I overfilled the tin when I made the first batch and they came out looking like this:




so I was careful to put half as much in for the second batch, barely a small tablespoon. I wanted them to have their pretty shell shape, and the second lot came out looking like the ones in the book. They are very, very delicious. I have eaten four. Possibly five. The sharp, moist bite of raspberry and lemon curd in the middle is wonderful with the buttery sponge. I baked them first thing in the morning and the house smelt wonderful all day. Perfect to cheer one up on a cold and wet Wednesday morning!


16 comments:

Oh Abigail said...

They look delicious and you have made two batches of cake before i think we were up!

Alex said...

I could certainly eat a couple of those with a nice cuppa!

Monica said...

i didn't know madeleines had lemon curd?? i'm going to give these a try, love buttery cookies. although i don't have the shell pan... hmmm.... wonder if i could get away with a muffin tin? lol

swann's way is infinitely improved with age on one's side. i think anyway.

Col @ Hello Olive said...

yum yum yum! I must remember NOT to read your blog when I'm feeling peckish :-)There has been so much online about Rachel Khoo that I've asked my mum-in-law to bring me back a copy from the UK. Can't wait! x

Julia said...

They look delicious....raspberry and lemon are awesome together! And I bet your home did smell yummy all day! Stay dry...it's raining where I live today too!

Anna said...

This looks like a delicious variation of Madeleines. I've always found them a bit plain but I adore lemon curd so I bet they were yum! My sister-in-law bought us some Madeleine tins and although she used them when she came to stay, I've not actually used them yet. Best get baking! xx

cassie said...

filled with a raspberry and lemon curd! perfection...

Gillian said...

That's the school run for you - get's you up and out early!

Gillian said...

Hi Alex - I did eat many of those with many cups of tea, throughout the day. Possibly too many.

Gillian said...

I don't think they usually do, I think it's just this recipe. I may give Proust another ten years and have another go! x

Gillian said...

I know, I think there is a lot of blog love for her! Her book is fab, hope you like it. x

Gillian said...

It's still raining today! Better do some more baking to cheer myself up. x

Gillian said...

Wish i'd know you had madeleine tins before I bought mine...although, thinking about it, with 250 miles between us it would be tricky to pop over and borrow them! :-( Bake some, they are very nice. xx

Gillian said...

I think the raspberry and lemon curd was the best bit! x

Jenny Woolf said...

I've never got on with Proust either, but I do get on rather well with madelines!

Gillian said...

Hello Jenny - i think you've just summed up my entire post rather beautifully! Gillian x