You know that something is broken when you have to start hitting it to make it work. I first found this out when I was 14. It was 1996 and our television began its slow decline into disrepair. First it would flicker black and white, then green and red, then blue all over. Colour television, this familiar luxury afforded by our generation soon became a distant memory.
Our routine of watching hours of cartoons every afternoon after school soon came to none, as futile attempts were made to convince our parsimonious father to buy us a new TV. It was only until my sister and I became so fed up with the thing and began to beat it violently that we found a way around this problem. Blow after blow to the top of the TV with a closed fist seemed to make the picture get better and better. I guess we thought that no damage could be done, how much more broke could this TV get?
Well, I have now been in denial about the condition of my car radio for quite some time but it looks as if the same fate is inevitable. It never bothered me at first, it became somewhat of a morning ritual having to strike at my car radio like a mad woman to just get it working. A few slaps with an open palm, then if that didn’t work, a fist would be formed and off I went pounding at the thing until some form of resonance would materialise. It’s not pretty, but I have now come to accept that my car radio does need replacing, at least until all the hitting stops working.
Which brings me to these madeleines, now do we really need another madeleine recipe? Will the world profit any gain if another madeleine recipe is posted on a blog, perhaps not, but I must say that these madeleines are exceptional and best of all, this recipe works. There’s no need to throw these madeleines out as I think they are just perfect.
I’ve already posted about them twice before but somehow I can’t seem to bring a halt to this fixation. I don’t know if it’s how they taste or how they look or the fact that they originated from France, but I cannot get enough of these little treats. Last year may have been the year of the cupcake, but I think I have to say that this year could be the year of the madeleine.
I have a tendency to romanticise certain things and I imagine that I have done this very thing to the madeleine to the point of placing them in them in too lofty a pedestal. They are just too delightful and whatever it is about them that I love, yet cannot articulate, then so let them remain on that pedestal. Perhaps it’s that sense of serenity that they elicit; the innocence and simplicity of days gone by. But there is something idealistically rustic about them, like spending a weekend in a summer cottage. I don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, it works for me.
This madeleine recipe is from Matt Moran’s self-titled book that was released in October last year. He doesn’t really illustrate what these madeleines taste like, unlike his other recipes that are preluded with a short description. I guess most people know what to expect with madeleines; yet I was really intrigued to try them.
This recipe calls for honey and butter to be melted together, something I have never seen in a madeleine recipe before. What results is a moist cake with a crisp outer edge. Despite the absence of any sort of leavening agent like baking powder, the cake produces a light airy crumb. I guess the inclusion of 4 egg whites aids in the rising part.
Classified as a tea cake by many, typically, madeleines are paired with tea or coffee; although this time I wanted to do it as a dessert. So instead of tea or coffee I decided to pair it with some Bailey’s Ice Cream that I had made earlier. The ice cream’s taste is quite subtle and has a somewhat soothing effect against the sweetness of the madeleines. You can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe of you don’t want the ice cream to be too sweet although I found that the 100g is quite adequate.
Homemade ice cream, unless you have one of those professional grade ice cream churners will never turn out as fluffy as those store-bought ones. Simply put, your home ice cream maker cannot physically churn that much air into the ice cream as the ones you find in your supermarket, so don’t lament at the fact that it doesn’t look as light and airy. It should taste a lot better than those generic brands you find while grocery shopping.
The texture is much thicker and creamier and the good thing is that it isn’t full of preservatives, you can pretty much make whatever flavour you fancy and you can eat less of it and feel more satisfied. It's the pleasures of making ice cream yourself!
Matt Moran’s Madeleine Recipe
from his self-titled book
100g unsalted butter
100g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
40g almond meal
40g plain all-purpose flour
4 egg whites
butter for greasing
a little caster sugar, optional
Melt the butter and honey in a small saucepan, remove from heat and allow to cool to body temperature.
Combine the icing sugar, almond meal and flour in an electric mixer.
With the motor running at low speed, slowly add the egg whites.
Once all the egg whites are incorporated, gradually add the butter and honey mixture and combine well.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly brush a madeleine tray with butter and sprinkle with caster sugar for a nice crunch.
Half-fill the moulds with the batter and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on large your madeleines are.
They should be golden brown and well risen.
Immediately turn out the madeleines onto a cooling rack.
Serve while still warm.
Bailey’s Irish Crème Ice Cream
makes 1 litre
500g pure cream
300g full cream milk
4 egg yolks
100g granulated sugar
¼ cup Bailey’s
In a large saucepan set over simmering water (double broiler), whisk cream, milk and egg yolks together.
When the mixture is starting to heat up add the sugar and continuously whisk until dissolved and the mixture has thickened.
This will take about 20 minutes and the custard should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the custard from the heat and mix in the Irish creme liqueur.
Allow the custard to chill in the refrigerator.
When the custard has completely chilled, pour into an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Store the ice cream in a 1-litre air tight container and freeze.