Friday, June 08, 2007
I'm Madeleine, I'm Madeleine...
A quick weekend breakfast in bed. I woke up on Sunday morning, just teetering on the edge of a hangover. Rather than curling up and giving in to the impending doom, I decided to quickly hop to it, and make breakfast. But what to make?
Waffles? A long and sometimes unrewarding exercise - the first few waffles get stone cold before you're halfway through the batter.
Bacon? Too greasy. And more to the point, I didn't have any.
What I really wanted was something small and sweet, something warm and decadent, but not too naughty or filling. And then it hit me... madeleines! I had made them once before, from Nigella's How to Eat, and very much enjoyed them. I would have made them again after that, but I was only 46.08% of the way through my How to Eat project and still and had another 213 new recipes to get through. But now, with my project well and truly behind me, I was free to dust off my good old Baker's Secret non-stick madeleine tin and revisit the joy of madeleines.
I immediately turned to my trusty copy of How to Eat, only to discover that Nigella's madeleines need 1 and a half hours resting before you bake them! There was no way I could wait that long. I then looked up Donna Hay's recipe in Modern Classics II, which had no such waiting time. However, it also used baking powder and no honey in the recipe, which made me think they'd be more like little sponge cakes dressed up as madeleines, rather than des madeleines vraies.
I said, "fout la merde" (not-so-literal-translation: stuff that crap!), and followed my instincts. I went for Nigella's seemingly more authentic recipe, and throwing caution to the wind, only let them wait for half an hour. While they were having their little wait, I macerated some strawberries in vanilla sugar and some Maggie Beer vino cotto. Vino cotto is, by the way, a reduced, sweet and syrupy balsamic vinegar. Perfect for this type of thing. (My Baker's Secret madeleine tin, by the way, is really non stick. I didn't grease the tins at all, and after baking, one light tap was enough to dislodge all madeleines unharmed).
The result? A kitchen full of good smells, and 12 of the most delicious, light, buttery, ever-so-slightly crisp edged little cakes I've ever made. Delightful partnered with the sharply sweet strawberries. Lovely! If I had the time, I'd definitely take the required waiting time. But it is reasurring to know that they will turn out nicely even without it.
What a wonderful breakfast. I guarantee you it will not be another 18 months before I make madeleines again. As proof, later in the week I went out and bought a mini-madeleine tray (not non-stick), a pastry brush (to apply butter to said not-non-stick tray), and a flat whisk to fold the flour ever so gently into the aerated egg mixture. Stay tuned for more adventures in my (perhaps brief, but definitely passionate) love affair with madeleines...