I have been wanting to share this with you all for a long time. It is about a simple pleasure in life. A gourmet experience, except that nobody would ever call it gourmet really.
This is about a little cake, that is literally synonymous with a giant of the literature. It is small, plump, brings me back to my childhood, as it brings back many French people to their childhood, it is none other than “la madeleine” and of course it will be forever associated with Marcel Proust.
Proust describes it as “…one of those squat, plump little cakes called “petites madeleines”, which look as though they have been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell”.
One of the things that I love beyond words is when friends, or neighbors just show up at my house uninvited. I grew up in a home that was built on the land that my family farms “dans le Sud Ouest de la France”. During the summer there could be up to 50 farm workers coming in and out of the fields or greenhouses at any given time which meant that there was never a shortage of interactions with people, some interesting conversation (often trying to understand each other because we did not speak the same language), some beautiful encounters. A long story short, the madeleine is the perfect “petit gateau” that can be made within 25 minutes (that is including baking time) and served to unannounced guests! Besides, I am ready to bet that most everybody will have all the ingredients on hand at any given time: sugar, eggs, butter, flour, lemon or vanilla.
So if you have ever visited our farm in the US, most likely you have tasted madeleines and if you should ever visit us, I shall make sure and bake some madeleines for you.
I have now lived in the US longer than I lived in France, yet I yearn to keep my French culture well and alive in our home on our farm. This being said, I have given the madeleines a little American spin at times!
I bake 4 versions of madeleines:
- La madeleine parfumee au citron, (with lemon)
- La madeleine parfumee a la vanilla (with vanilla)
- La madeleine au chocolat (chocolate madeleine)
- La madeleine avec pepites de chocolat (vanilla madeleine with chocolate chips)
The ingredients and measurements are easy and I always use grams so here you have it in grams!
- 150 g de beurre (butter)
- 150 g de sucre (sugar)
- 150 g de farine (flour)
- 2 oeufs (eggs)
- Vanilla (vanilla)
- or Citron (zest of a lemon)
When you make chocolate madeleines, melt the butter with the chocolate.
Otherwise mix sugar and eggs, add melted butter, add flour, add vanilla, or lemon, and/or chocolate chips.
Mix it all and drop it in the special mold to make madeleines!