The full name for this recipe is Les Madeleines de Commercy and comes from a Julia Child’s cookbook. I found a nicely used metal Madeleine tray at a thrift store and couldn’t wait to make a batch. They are such a sophisticated and simply delicious cookie. Rather a tiny cake. When they are done you have the one side with the shell pattern and the other with a lovely hump that is often a bit cracked. Traditionally, the hump side is the top and so gets the powdered sugar. These really are delightful and not difficult to make.
2 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 ounces unsalted butter ( plus 1 1/2 tablespoon for buttering the molds)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated lemon zest from 1/2 lemon
3 drops lemon juice ( or 2 of lemon and 2 of bergamot)
2 large Madeleine pans
> All ingredients should be brought to room temperature before mixing so that the melted butter does not congeal in the batter before the ingredients have blended together.
Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl and add three-quarters of the eggs. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to blend into a heavy cream – if very stiff, add a little bit of the remaining egg, one droplet at a time. Set aside for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring all of the butter a boil until it begins to brown very lightly. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoon of the butter and tablespoon of flour in a small bowl and set aside.
Stir the rest of the butter over cold water until cool but still liquid. Beat the remaining bit of egg into the batter and stir in the cool butter. Stir in the salt, vanilla, grated lemon zest, lemon juice ( and bergamot if using). Cover the batter, and set aside in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Meanwhile, paint the Madeleine cups with a light coating of the browned butter and flour mixture, wiping up any pools that form in the bottom. Set aside or refrigerate if the kitchen is warm.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a spoon and rubber spatula, drop a rounded tablespoonful of batter into each Madeleine cup. Do not spread the batter to fill the mold. Repeat with remaining batter and mold. Set pans on the middle rack and bake for about 15 minutes. The batter will spread on its own to fill the cups and a hump will gradually form in the middle. Unmold onto a rack, humped side up.
Serve as is, or sprinkle tops with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.