Madeleines madness

madeleine

I have been working on creating my ultimate madeleine recipe for a while.  I’ve researched as many recipes as I could get my hands on, and in as many languages as I could comprehend.  I also baked batch after batch of madeleines, testing different recipes and variations. My friends are complaining they’re gaining weight, I thought them silly:  How could one gain weight on these tiny delights. 🙂

I consider this recipe It!  My perfect madeleine recipe.  The base recipe was borrowed from Mariage Frères, but I’ve changed the proportions and the technique.  These madeleines are infused with honey and Earl Grey tea.  They are so very good.  Follow the recipe very carefully, these little yummies are quite tricky I tell you. 

Madeleines au thĂ© façon Pim   
Tea Madeleines
(make about 24 madeleines)

Ingredients:
200 g. Pastry flour
4 eggs + 1 yolk
120 g. granulated sugar
160 g beurre noisette
10 g. soft butter, for greasing the mold
20 g. tea (preferably good quality loose leaves Earl Grey, I use Mariage Frères)
80 g. liquid honey.  If your honey has crystallized, just warm it in the microwave for 20 sec.

mise en place
1.  To make 160 g. of beurre noisette, you need to start out with about 240 g. of cold butter.  The butter will lose 20-30% of weight in the process.  Put the butter in a medium glass bowl, cover, and microwave (yes, really) for 2-3 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.  Watch it carefully, when the butter turn dark golden brown, take it out and add the loose tea leaves.  Let the tea infuse for 3 minutes, strain and weigh the resulting beurre noisette liquid. You will need exactly 160 g.  Add more butter if you are short a few gram.  Let it cool to just above room temperature.

Now you make the batter: 
1.  beat the eggs and sugar together on top of a bain-marie, until the eggs mixture is warm to the touch and looks like yellow syrup.  (or, if you are as obsessed as I am, use your candy thermometer and measure the temp to exactly 135F, take the batter off the heat immediately, continue to beat, then follow the next steps)
2.  add the honey and mix well, beat the egg mixture (preferably using your KitchenAid) until triple in bulk.  When in doubt, beat a bit more.  You can’t really over-beat at the moment.
3.  take about a cup of the mixture and put into a separate bowl, mix well with the beurre noisette that has been infused with tea.
4.  add the flour, don’t use the machine, you should fold the flour in by hand.  I use a slotted spoon to do the job.  Be careful not to over mix, your madeleines will come out tough.
5.  fold in the beurre noisette mixture, very gently.
6.  cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rest in the fridge for a few hour, or overnight even.

Now you bake:
1. preheat the oven to (just a tad higher than) 350F. or exactly 185C
2. butter and flour your madeleine pan–make sure you completely cover each mold with butter and flour, shake off the excess.  I use a strong shiny tin pan, not the dark non-stick type which will bake your Madeleines too dark. 
3. put the batter in a large pastry bag fitted with a medium-size round tip.  If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can just spoon the batter into each mold instead.  It will take longer to fill a pan, but it will work just as well.
4. fill in each mold by squeezing a 1.5-2 inch round ball into each mold, slightly toward the wider end.  If you use a spoon, use about a scant 1tbsp of batter in each mold.  Note: Every single Madeleine recipes I have seen calls for filling the mold 3/4 full.  This of course makes no bloody sense, since the batter is usually very cold and forms a rather stiff ball instead of softly filling the mold 3/4 of the way.  I think my method makes a bit more sense.  What do you think?
5. bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges turn a bit darker than golden brown. 
6. unmold and let cool on a rack. 
7. repeat the process with another batch of madeleine batter, until you are done. 

Troubleshoot:
Here are a few problems I’ve come across and found a way to fix.
1. Madeleines are too tough.  This is most likely because the batter was over-mixed after the addition of the flour.  This creates more gluten, toughening the madeleines.  It could also be that your batter has not rested properly, so the gluten has not had enough time to soften.  Mix the batter more lightly next time around, and perhaps let it rest a bit longer.
2.  No bump!  This could be due to a few things.  One could be that your batter is not cold enough.  Second, your oven may not be hot enough, check the temperature.  Third, you may need to fill the mold a bit more.  You need enough batter in each mold to fill it and push up as it bakes.

Enjoy!
Let me know how they turn out for you.  Feel free to share my discovery with anyone you’d like–just a little attribution will be appreciated. 🙂

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If you find this recipe useful, please consider giving a few dollars to help my charity drive for Doctors without Borders by clicking on the picture below. (This fundraising is over.  Thank you.)
 Spareusagrainofrice

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32 Responses to “Madeleines madness

  • ChrisBBton said:
    April 5th, 2004 at 12:24pm

    Hi Pim-
    You’re right, it is a pretty good recipe. It worked! They do not taste at all cakey, but rather more buttery and slightly sweet as they should. Do you mind if I ask you a few more questions, because we did try several recipes before as well.
    – What is the key thing that makes it the way they are? Comparing other recipes, I think the bain-marie for the eggs and sugar + beating to death is probably the most important thing, isn’t it?
    – They came out with a bit too many small bubbles. Is it because I might have mixed too much after floding the flour and the butter? But I was careful not too to do that. I used a slotted spoon, but I felt it was creating bubbles in the mixture. I was using the back of it and as if I was mushing them.
    – In step 4, do you add the flour to the eggs/sugar mixture or to the butter noisette? I assumed it was to the eggs/sugar.
    – I used half the ingredients to test it out, but could only get the mixture to double, on the Kitchen Aid speed 8 for 6-7 mins. What speed to you use? How long do you typically beat it for until it triples?
    – There was no bump, but we didn’t fill out the molds too much. Next time, I will do that. We have the steel molds, made in France, not the cheaper ones that are made in China. My wife is considering buying the silicone molds; have you tried these by any chance? Do you lose any brownness?
    – Does it matter if you butter the mold cold off the freezer, or with a brush and liquid butter?
    – Question: when you spoon the batter into the mold, does it matter if you worry about its shape, or does it always espouse the mold anyways once in the oven?
    – Finally, I didn’t infuse the tea, as I thought it was really optional. I don’t know what it would have added except some sense of mystery about a secret ingredient.
    – I want to experiment with different flavors like lemon and orange. Was thinking about adding 2 tbsp of lemon juice for lemon or 1 tbsp of orange zest and/or orange flower water. What do you think?
    Thanks a lot if you have time to answer our grievances. How did you really land on this tricky recipe?
    Regards,
    Chris

  • Pim said:
    April 19th, 2004 at 4:14am

    Chris: What is the key thing that makes it the way they are? Comparing other recipes, I think the bain-marie for the eggs and sugar + beating to death is probably the most important thing, isn’t it?
    Pim: That’s probably it. I’ve seen many recipes that ask for baking soda, but only the recent ones. All the old recipes, in French and English, didn’t call for it.
    Beating in a Bain-marie is an old method for classic Genoise. When my friend the pastry chef Doree suggested it, it was obvious to me that it’s the way to go.
    Chris: They came out with a bit too many small bubbles. Is it because I might have mixed too much after floding the flour and the butter? But I was careful not too to do that. I used a slotted spoon, but I felt it was creating bubbles in the mixture. I was using the back of it and as if I was mushing them.
    Pim: Folding is a very personal experience, I find. Everyone has their own preferred way. I use a slotted spoon mostly, but also use a huge flexible rubber spatula sometimes
    Chris: In step 4, do you add the flour to the eggs/sugar mixture or to the butter noisette? I assumed it was to the eggs/sugar.
    Pim: To the egg/sugar, then fold in the butter at the end. I use a little bit of the egg/sugar mixture and add to the butter. Folding pure liquid butter into the egg/flour mixture at the end proved to be a bit of a challenge, adding some of the egg/sugar mixture into the butter first temper the two mixture, making them much closer in texture and easier to blend.
    Chris: I used half the ingredients to test it out, but could only get the mixture to double, on the Kitchen Aid speed 8 for 6-7 mins. What speed to you use? How long do you typically beat it for until it triples?
    Pim: Hmm, I don’t remember exactly which speed I use, toward the higher end, I think. That you halve the ingredients was probably the reason. Another important thing is you need to make sure you heat up the egg/sugar mixture to the right temperature: too cool, it will not rise as high, too warm, you will scramble the eggs.
    Chris: There was no bump, but we didn’t fill out the molds too much. Next time, I will do that. We have the steel molds, made in France, not the cheaper ones that are made in China. My wife is considering buying the silicone molds; have you tried these by any chance? Do you lose any brownness?
    Pim: I am not at all convinced by the silicone molds. They look horrid to me, to tell the truth. I use a very heavy tin mold that I got from France. I’ve seen exactly the same one at Sur la Table though, it’s the heavy mold for 24 Madeleines. The more you use the mold, the better seasoned it will be. Never wash it in soap or your Madeleines will stick, just use warm water.
    The “no bump” problem could be because there wasn’t enough batter in each mold to raise the bump up properly. Also, you should know that I myself dislike Madeleines that have a huge hump like a nasty tumor. I prefer a gentle and graceful bump that is characteristic of classic Madeleines rather than ugly humpback monsters that are prevalent these days.
    Chris: Does it matter if you butter the mold cold off the freezer, or with a brush and liquid butter?
    Pim: I don’t think so. Brushing with softened butter will be much easier though.
    Chris: when you spoon the batter into the mold, does it matter if you worry about its shape, or does it always espouse the mold anyways once in the oven?
    Pim: I pipe the batter into the mold. I usually make sure I finish the piping toward to wide part of the mold, to help it rise a bit higher where it’s supposed to.
    Chris: Finally, I didn’t infuse the tea, as I thought it was really optional. I don’t know what it would have added except some sense of mystery about a secret ingredient.
    Pim: If you use good Earl Grey tea, the Madeleines should be wonderfully perfumed with Bergamot and a slightly toasty taste that comes from the tea. Try it, you might like it.
    Chris: I want to experiment with different flavors like lemon and orange. Was thinking about adding 2 tbsp of lemon juice for lemon or 1 tbsp of orange zest and/or orange flower water. What do you think?
    Pim: See the Madeleine au Citron recipe that I posted today.
    Chris: Thanks a lot if you have time to answer our grievances. How did you really land on this tricky recipe?
    Pim: This recipe is a culmination of a mad search, during which I tested so many different recipes and methods, and finally settle on my own creation. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • EmilyB said:
    November 9th, 2004 at 9:28am

    Pim, if one doesn’t have a microwave, do you have any tips for making the beurre noisette on the stovetop?

  • Pim said:
    November 10th, 2004 at 3:42am

    Emily,
    It’s easy. The classic method is to heat butter over very very low heat until the milk solids separate and turn golden brown. You have to watch carefully as the golden brown bits turn dark brown in about a heart beat. Strain and use the liquid, throw about the brown solids.
    good luck,
    Pim

  • dorene said:
    March 6th, 2005 at 11:14am

    I wanted to try your recipe, but the ingredients were listed with metric measurements. It would be good if there was an option to convert to standard measurement which is used in the US
    Thanks.

  • Judi said:
    May 20th, 2005 at 1:30am

    Do you have the recipe convert not in gram but in cup / tsp/ TSP metric?

  • flo said:
    September 20th, 2005 at 9:13am

    I am definitly gonna try them. I have been looking around for a tempting earl grey tea recipe, and guess what, this is the one for me!
    I guess it’s a bit late to tell Dorene and Judi, that when I need conversions (for me it’s the other way around), I go to http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2003/10/conversions_equivalents.php
    which is very very helpful, besides being one of my favourite foodblogs in english!

  • David said:
    November 17th, 2005 at 4:24am

    Don’t bother with the silicone mold = too flexible
    No shell pattern definition. Still have to butter
    so no advantage.

  • Deva said:
    February 11th, 2006 at 4:08am

    Thank you for posting this, especially all the little details and troubleshooting tips. My friend and I attempted the recipe this week, and enjoyed the results (now documented even more fully in my food blog). Thank you, as well, for stopping by my journal to comment and congratulate! I hope that means other folks followed my link and are now availing themselves of your madeleine wisdom.

  • Victolyn said:
    December 16th, 2006 at 10:42am

    Thanks Pim!
    You put a lot of work into this, not only in researching your recipe, but also for the detailed answers to Chris’ questions above. I’ve decided to make madeline’s for Christmas this year (not 10 different selections) and in searching the internet for the ‘perfect’ madeline, you’ve given us lots of information.
    FOR US BAKERS: go to http://www.convert-me.com and choose Cooking Conversion, then go down to Metric Kitchen units, enter the grams and the US measurement will appear directly below. Make sure to choose your ingredient from the pull-down list above.
    I know madelines can be rather tricky and trying to convert the ingredients properly will be a challenge, but hopefully I won’t wish I’d baked those 10 different batches! 🙂
    Happy Holidays!

  • Amye said:
    October 5th, 2007 at 1:51pm

    Where is a cheap but good quality seller of madeline pans. I bought one at William Sonoma, but would like to purchase more elsewhere at a more reasonable price.

  • MaxineDC said:
    October 12th, 2007 at 3:57pm

    Dear Amye, You can get a nice pan for $15 at Bed Bath and Beyond (I assumed that you are in the States like me), if you go to their website and sign up for the newsletter they will give you 20% off coupon every month too! I ended up paid $13 for my pan!
    Dear Pim, Sawasdee Ka thank you very much for the recipe and I love your blog. One of my favorites blog all the time. Greeting from Washington DC.

  • Adelina said:
    March 18th, 2008 at 7:22am

    Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful recipe and great advices! I’ve always obsessed with baking Madeleines and will always be – you are right, these little miniture cakes are quite tricky!

  • Jeremy said:
    March 20th, 2008 at 11:22pm

    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I’ve got my own Chocolate Citrus Madeleine recipe I tend to use, but I’m liking the technique you are using. Very nice.

  • Jen said:
    April 14th, 2008 at 8:31pm

    Hi Pim! My friend and I tried your madeleine recipe and loved it! I blogged about the baking process, complete with pictures, here: http://writerbakermusicmaker.wordpress.com/2008/04/14/mmmmmadeleines/

  • patricia jiacopello said:
    June 23rd, 2008 at 4:13pm

    wonderful recipe, can’t wait to try the tea infusion. I, however, put the grated zest of a whole lemon in my batter last thing. I love the flavor.

  • Gary Dumon said:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 4:51pm

    This recipe is magnificent. I’ve been searching for one that produces authentic textures, lightness and flavours (like my grandmother used to make – she never wrote anything down when it came to cooking and baking), and I can honestly say my search goes no further.
    Fantastic work.

  • Allan Risk said:
    October 20th, 2008 at 10:56am

    I’m intrigued by the part that has one refrigerate the bowl of batter overnight … what is this supposed to accomplish? It seems somewhat counter to the whole idea of following the Genoise technique to beat the warmed eggs and sugar, which is intended to incorporate air into the mixture. Wouldn’t letting it sit overnight cause it to deflate?

  • Victoria said:
    December 2nd, 2008 at 8:48pm

    Thanks so much for posting this! I can’t have enough of it. Now, it’s time for me to save money and make some myself.

  • Liza said:
    December 6th, 2008 at 4:30pm

    Pim, I’m excited to try your recipe! Just wondering…is it salted or unsalted butter?

  • Gina said:
    February 19th, 2009 at 12:53am

    I’m not much of a baker of sweet things and I have never made Madeleines before. I went out and bought a tray yesterday and then researched recipes, there are so many! Yours looked like it had had the most work put into it so I gave it a go; thank you so much! They were ‘almost’ perfect, by almost I mean they were slighty lacking in bump, the taste was amazing though. Thank you for posting all your hard work for all to see and use.

  • Gina said:
    February 19th, 2009 at 12:55am

    I used salted butter, they were fine. Some recipes call for the addittion of salt anyway.

  • fin said:
    March 25th, 2009 at 3:36am

    i’ve just bought the moulds and will make this today. I was looking at david lebovitz’s recipe earlier and i will compare it to your and make my decision today. You are so dedicated, it’s unreal. Keep it up na phee, and thank you for fb message.

  • Alissa said:
    May 9th, 2009 at 12:02pm

    Dear Pim,
    this is the best madeleine recipe i have ever had… i used green earl grey tea and i did everythig as you suggested – they texture is like from a madelein in a french boulangerie… i can’t thank you enough for this!!
    You have put a lot of work and research , tests and everything into this recipe i really appreciate that and especially sinc eyou share this with us!! I will also mention it on my blog – of course giving you credit for it!!
    I will use the madeleines as part of my Mother’s Day dessert. It’s going to sit next to a Bavarian Creme, raspberry coulis and a dot of tarragon pesto and a few fresh rasberries.
    Cheers Alissa

  • Fast Weight Loss Diets said:
    June 3rd, 2009 at 11:19pm

    Great site! very good information, thanks! Fast Weight Loss Diets

  • Weight Loss said:
    June 24th, 2009 at 1:45am

    Looks so yummy. I just tried them, but instead of honey i put some powdered sugar. Tastes really good! Thanks for sharing

  • agoodic said:
    March 23rd, 2010 at 12:00am

    Pim, if one doesn’t have a microwave, do you have any tips for making the beurre noisette on the stovetop?
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  • Cho Yung Tea said:
    July 19th, 2010 at 2:54pm

    Hi Pim. Great post. I find it very useful. I’ve already bookmarked your blog and will tweet it to my followers. I’m sure the will also find it useful.
    Thanks.
    p.s. How often do you update your post?

  • Nils Mönkemeyer said:
    December 6th, 2011 at 5:13pm

    Hi Pim,
    your blog is absolutely gorgeous!!
    I have been obsessed with Madeleines for months now, I tried at least 20 recipes, but didn’t find the perfect one yet. I liked the LeNotre recipe the best so far, but eager to try out yours!

    Just a question, with the Kitchen Aid, how long do you beat the eggs and the sugar? Until recently I didn’t have one, so I beat it for about 15 minutes with the handheld mixer. However, with the kitchen Aid I did it about 5 to 7 minutes and the texture is different, not as creamy and the little “air bubbles” are bigger….

    Anyway, keep up your amazing posts and thank you for making me not feel alone with my Madeleine frenzy:-)

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  • JD said:
    December 18th, 2012 at 2:16am

    This is a really old post. Oh well. I’m going to try out your madeleine recipe, because I like the idea of flavouring madeleines with Earl Grey. On that topic, I’m also curious which book you got the Mariage Freres madeleines recipe from.

    Thanks a lot,

    JD

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