Monday, July 23, 2007

Madeleines

I finally got to taste the madeleines, that were once made famous by french author Marcel Proust in his novel Remembrance of Things Past or, in a more recent translation, In Search of Lost Time. He describes the cake, as he dipped it into a cup of tea and how it triggered his childhoold memories. And if Proust immortalized madeleines, food blogs popularized them more than ever! The delicate shell shapes reveal cakelike cookies with great flavor, that are so easy to make and what I like best about them: they are lactose free. And speaking of memories, I hope that my children will have fond memories of their childhood with images of mom and dad cooking, our kitchen table conversations, and little things like a cake coming out of the oven, or one asking if it is Sunday school day or regular school day... Oh all the fun we have together!

Madeleines
4 oz./120 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

For icing:
7 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions:
1. Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until tripled in volume and a thick ribbon is formed when the beaters are lifted. Stir in the orange juice and zest.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until well blended. In alternate turns, fold the flour mixture and cooled butter into the beaten eggs, mixing well after each addition.

3. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375° F/190° C and grease two 12-mold madeleine pans. Dust the molds with flour and pour out the excess. Drop the batter by the tablespoonful into the center of each prepared mold. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and centers spring back when lightly touched.

4. Remove the pans from the oven and firmly tap each pan to release the madeleines. Transfer to wire racks to cool. Line two baking sheets with waxed paper and place wire racks in pans.

5. Place chocolate in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium (50% power) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave 30 seconds more or until chocolate is softened. Stir until smooth.

6. Dip each madeleine into melted chocolate, coating bottom third of madeleine. Shake off excess chocolate and place on wire rack. Repeat with remaining madeleines. Let dipped madeleines stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours or until chocolate is set.

Recipe adapted from the kitchen of Diana.

More ideas:

- You can use fresh lime juice and lime zest instead of orange.
- Add 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the batter and enjoy some chocolate madeleines!
- The first time I baked them, I forgot to refrigerate the batter, but they turned out wonderful anyway!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My newest acquisition

Just arrived! From e-bay, and soon I will be posting new recipes! If anyone has any madeleine recipes to share, please add to your comments or show me the link to your blog with the recipe. Thank you!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Grandma's Angel Food Cake

My grandma was born in 1912, grandpa in 1910, they got married in 1928, had six kids, several grandchildren and even greatgrandchildren. They would be almost 100 years old if they were alive. I think about them almost every day. I still remember my grandma calling my name and coming towards our home, with trembling hands, holding a plate to share something she had cooked for lunch. One of Grandma's specialties was this cake, that was beaten every Saturday using her hands, without a mixer. Grandma served it plain with coffee only and me too, until my oldest son's birthday, when I decided to add a milk caramel as filling and a whipped topping and he said it was his favorite cake ever. Needless to say that besides love as the main ingredient, this recipe carries sweet memories and it has been in the family for over half a century!

Grandma's angel food cake
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 cup water

This cake does not take baking powder.

1) Preheat the oven 350┬║ F/180o C. Grease a 12 inch/30 cm deep round pan.

2) With an electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites with one dash cream of tartar or salt until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in sugar, egg yolks, water and flour until just combined.

3) Pour batter into greased round pan. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven immediately, cool on a rack. Garnish as desired.

More ideas:
- For filling, use milk caramel and whipped cream as a topping. Add strawberries and blueberries.
- Add fresh orange juice to the batter instead of water.
- Drizzle cake in pan while still hot with a sweet orange glaze.