"an exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…":the madeleine.

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{can you believe it? that’s my madeleine}

the great french author, marcel proust, made the madeleine famous in remembrance of things past, and it is by far my favorite cookie. i actually have madeleine pans, but so rarely make them. they are, yet again, a timely venture. i see a pattern happening, don’t you? in looking at my choices i certainly have not chosen the easy road, that’s for sure, especially in choosing to adopt through foster care, but it’s been my experience that the best things in life do take time.

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“She (Marcel’s mother) sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called “petites madeleines,” which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop 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 mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses …

And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray … when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane …. and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea.”

i just had to have a madeleine the other day, when we also enjoyed the ficelles picardes, but because the crepes were taking so long, and i also had a little one to tend to, i decided to try a quick and easy recipe for madeleines. yes, it does exist. it wasn’t as fluffy and soft as i usually like them, but according to this npr story (read it here on slate), proust’s literary cookie crumbles, the cookie is supposed to be quite dry so as to produce many crumbs. in fact, the article points out, proust “soaked” his madeleine in his tea, rather than merely dunking it. i love that someone analyzed the little madeleine in this literary classic! with that said, i’d say this might be the perfect madeleine recipe!

(this recipe came from one of those home economics cookbooks (er, sorry, consumer and family studies…that’s for my friend, kristi) that students at my school sell, and which i get suckered into buying every. single. year.)

madeleines

makes 2 dozen cookies

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1 cup cake flour,sifted

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

preheat oven to 375 F. butter and flour madeleine pans. in medium bowl, break eggs with a whisk. beat in sugar in a stream and and orange extract. beat by hand several minutes until frothy. fold sifted flour into egg mixture, alternating with cooled butter. fill madeleine pan 2/3 full with batter. bake 8-10 minutes; remove the madeleines immediately from pan to a cooling rack. when cool dust with confectioner’s sugar.

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1 Comment

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One response to “"an exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…":the madeleine.

  1. Excellent site, keep up the good work

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