Wednesday, 3 September 2014


".. .. one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She 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 pilgrim's shell....No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses..." 

"..And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before church-time), when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea. And once I had recognized the taste of the crumb of madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me... ..the whole of Combray and of its surroundings, sprang into being, town and gardens alike, all from my cup of tea. "
And with these evocative words on the power of food to evoke memories in his novel 'In Search of Lost Time', Marcel Proust would ensure that food writers and with time, food bloggers, would mention him every time they encounter a batch of madeleines. And yours truly is no different. I couldn't resist the opportunity to sound literary high brow!

Madeleines are dainty, French tea time cakes with a distinctive shell-like shape which is achieved by using a distinctive madeleine pan to bake them. The literary cliché aside, I have wanted to bake madeleines ever since I started writing this blog but not being able to find the appropriate pan has meant waiting till now. Finally, after two years of searching and a horrendously exorbitant price tag, I found my pan and you get to see my first batch of madeleines.

Madeleines are made using a genoise batter where, as opposed to a traditional sponge cake batter, melted, warm butter is used. This ensures that the madeleines, fresh from the oven, were crisp around the edges and soft, light and buttery on the inside. They are much easier to make than you think and this recipe from 'Joy of Baking' delivers beautifully.  I do wish I had been more generous with the lemon zest. These are elegant and dainty and moreish, and if like me, you bake them in a mini madeleine tin, it is easy to lose count of how many you've had!

Proust had his with tea, I had mine with coffee. And talking about coffee, have a little peek at the coffee mugs and platters I have used in this post. They were a surprise gift in the mail from my favourite lifestyle brand, 'Good Earth'. Eight times out of ten, the props such as the mugs and glasses that I use in my posts are from Good Earth. And these are from their collection titled 'Serendib', one of their most elegant collections, designed by the fabulously talented Pavitra Rajaram. I can't remember ever getting a surprise gift in the mail, let alone something so fabulously beautiful. To say that I was thrilled would be an obvious and gross understatement. Hopefully, these madeleines do them justice!


Recipe source: Joy of Baking

I made half of the following recipe. It made 40 mini madeleines.
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt     
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature   
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then keep it warm.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugars at high speed until the mixture is thick and pale in colour (about 5-8 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Then sift about one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and gently fold in, using a rubber spatula or whisk. Sift and fold in half of the remaining flour, and then sift and fold in the rest. (Do not over mix or the batter will deflate). 
  • Then take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it into the warm melted butter. (This lightens the butter making it easier to fold into the batter.) Then, with a spatula, gently fold the butter mixture completely into the egg batter. Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least an hour or two, preferably overnight (can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days).   
  • Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C.
  • Generously grease the molds of the Madeleine pan (preferably non stick) with very soft or melted butter. Then dust the molds with flour, tapping out the excess flour. Refrigerate the pans until the butter hardens (about 10 minutes). (Make sure the pans are well greased or the Madeleines will stick and be hard to remove.) 
  • Drop a generous scoop of the batter into the center of each prepared mold, leaving the batter mounded in the centre. (This will result in the classic "humped or domed" appearance of the Madeleines.) After you fill the pan, you will be left with half of the batter. Place it back in the fridge while the first batch bakes.
  • Bake the Madeleines for about 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centres spring back when lightly touched. (Do not overbake these cookies or they will be dry.)
  • Remove the pans from the oven and immediately tap each pan against the counter to release the Madeleines.
  • If still left with batter, grease the madeleine pan again with butter and dust with flour and refrigerate for ten minutes. Then repeat the entire process with filling in the moulds and baking.
  • Place Madeleines on a wire rack to cool. Best served immediately and dust with powdered sugar before serving.


  1. Beautiful beautiful post Sarvani!
    I too have been looking for a madeleine pan forever and I am hoping I can find one here in the UAE
    Your madeleines look perfect and your new cups fit them beautifully :)
    My friends laugh when they see how excited I can get around beautiful plates or cups but I guess only a passionate fellow food blogger can understand

    1. Thanks Sawsan!! :) So true...only another food blogger can understand our excitement at coming across a beautiful plate/mug/glass/bowl and our random collection of single plates..

      I too, have been looking for a madeleine pan forever ..and when I saw this one just picked it up even though it was crazy expensive!! The things we do for this blog of ours...


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