Saturday, February 19, 2011

Madeleines with pine tree honey



What I love about baking is the fact that recipes are much more of a chemical formula. Exact amounts of flour, sugar, leaveners, fat and liquid involved. Adding a little more or a little less of any of these key ingredients could quite possibly throw off the formula, and result in a less than perfect outcome. And because these elements change in the baking process, tasting during the steps will not help in the finished product. And because of the precision involved in baking, pastry chefs tend to be much more disciplined with regard to their formulas.

This does not necessarily mean that baking is easy! Many say that baking is like chemistry and therefore the dosage of the ingredients is particularly accurate.

For example, if you look at the basic recipe for macarons, it is almost always the same, followed by some tips and tricks, depending on everyone's experience and this is what makes all the difference.

And as there's always an exception to the rule, I have been very intrigued by the diversity of recipes when it comes to madeleines, my favorite French shell-shaped cookie!

Some bakers use baking powder, some not, some lower the oven temperature after formation of the hump, some not, some leave the dough rest in the fridge, others do not and, worst of all, the proportions of the ingredients in each recipe seem to obey no rules!

After trying lots of recipes, I finally adopted this version. I enjoy these as simple desserts, but they are great with tea or coffee too. They taste like mini cakes, so soft and rich.



Ingredients (yield 24 madeleines)

110 g (1 stick) unsalted butter
extra melted butter for the molds
4 eggs, room temperature
85 g (3/8 cup) sugar
130 g (1 cup) flour
1 tsp (8 g) baking powder
40 g ( 2 tbsp) pine tree honey
a pinch of salt

Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.

Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat until it's brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, around 10 minutes. Strain (you want to leave the solids behind). Add the honey and let it cool to room temperature. 

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

Sprinkle the sifted flour and the baking powder on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture. Only stirring enough to bring everything together.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3 -3/4 full. I use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable, it is easier than using a spoon.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cakes just feel set and the edges are golden brown.

Remove from oven and tilt immediately out onto a cooling rack. Cool on racks.


Madeleines au miel de sapin

110 g de beurre doux
+ extra beurre fondu pour les moules
4 oeufs
85 g de sucre
130 g de farine
8 g de levure chimique
40 g de miel de sapin
une pincée de sel

Beurrez et farinez votre moule à madeleines et mettez-le au frais.

Faites fondre le beurre sur feu doux, dans une casserole, jusqu'a coloration, env. 10 mn, puis versez dans un petit bol. Ajoutez le miel.

Dans un grand bol, battez les oeufs, le sucre et le sel à l’aide d’un fouet environ 5 mn.

Ajoutez la farine, et la levure tamisées puis mélangez jusqu’à ce que la pâte soit bien lisse.
Ajoutez le beurre tiédi et mélangez bien.

Couvrez le bol et placez-le au frigo minimum 1 heure. Vous pouvez le garder toute une nuit.
Préchauffez le four à 180ºC.

Remplissez les alvéoles du moule à madeleines aux 2/3 et enfournez pour 12-14 minutes. Les madeleines doivent être dorées.

Laissez tiédir, puis démoulez en tapant le moule sur une grille.
Laissez refroidir sur la grille,  et dégustez.

22 comments:

  1. So pretty and delicious looking! Pine tree honey is very flavorful.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Cherine, your madeleines turned out very pretty. I made madeleines before but the weren't this good-looking. I agree about the chemical aspect of baking.

    Have a great weekend!

    Nisrine

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  3. Such a beauty!
    Your madeleine is perfect, and pine tree honey sounds enticing.

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  4. They looks extremely delicious!

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  5. Ce sont des madeleines de grand luxe! J'aime beaucoup l'idée d'ajouter un peu de miel.

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  6. J'ai un amour infini pour les madeleines (comme pour plein de choses à manger d'ailleurs)... Tu me rappelles que ça fait longtemps que je n'ai pas utilisé mon moule à madeleines... affaire à suivre !

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  7. Your madeleines really look delightful wearing their coat of honey. This really is a lovely recipe. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  8. I have trouble getting my madeleines out of my old tin pan and was just yesterday looking at a silicone mold. Have you every tried one, Cherine? Lovely recipe with the pine honey.

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  9. I love that madeleines are like mini cakes in cookie form! Yours sound delicious with the honey.

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  10. @ Cathy, I prefer metal pans to the newer silicon molds. The metal pan brings a beautiful golden hue to the cookies, and to be honest I never used the silicon molds but this is what i hear around me. If you grease your metal pans with melted butter, it should be really easy!

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  11. Your madeleines look lovely! Gorgeous photos. So glad to have found your blog - it's fantastic! Cheers, Nina

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  12. Cherine, I've never tried pine tree honey, but I'm awfully curious now! What lovely little cookies. They look just like the ones I buy at a little bistro down the street!

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  13. They look so perfect! I'd love to try pine tree honey, it sounds so fragrant and delicious!

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  14. They look so pretty, picture perfct!

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  15. These look divine! We'd love for you to share your recipe at dishfolio.com!

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  16. How can you make something so perfect? Great for my Buenos Aires "mates"...!

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  17. What a beauty! Cherine, your madeleines look really great!

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  18. I know what you mean, there are so many different madeleine recipes! I look forward to giving yours a good, they look perfect.

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  19. These look very pretty! I have yet to use my madeleine pans that I bought some months back.

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  20. Your madeleines turned out so perfect! Honey is surely giving a delicious flavour, too! The recipe I have is calling for high oven temperature, which is then reduced after a few minutes, but my madeleines turned out pretty dry :-( I will try your recipe for my next madeleine craving...

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  21. Cherine,
    These madaleines look terrific! I always associate madaleines with beautiful Paris. There was a bakery nearby my hotel where I would buy dozens of it to have with milk in the afternoons... so good
    I haven't adventured into making my own madaleines yet, this will be added to my list of recipes to try!
    Cheers,
    Heguberto

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