Yes, I am forging ahead, yet again with Pierre Herme's recipes. I can't seem to get enough of it - not so much because he is THE pastry guru but because there are so much to discover in terms of technique and methods in the recipes documented in this particular book, Le Livre des fours sees et melleux de Pierre Herme . In my last post, I was exposed to the methology of using cooked egg yolks in a butter cookie recipe to achieve a crisp texture. Today, just as I thought I have understood enough about madeleines, the famous little French cakes that have come to be associated with Proust, I find interesting elements in Pierre Herme's recipes that started me wondering and thinking about these scallop shaped snacks again. After I had acquired my very expensive madeleine pan in Paris, I milked it as much as I could by making madeleines, here, here and here...
As pretty as they may look, they were, honestly beginning to bore me... the crumbly, not very moist texture did not exactly stimulate moreish inclination. The 2 elements in this recipe that made my eyes pop were : the incorporation of inverted sugar and caramel. Most of the other recipes I had worked with looked more like a straight forward sponge formulation.
Inverted sugar, for those who may not be familiar, is actually sucrose broken down by water to form Fructose and Glucose. These are smaller molecules and are known to be sweeter. The products made with inverted sugar tend to retain their moistness and softness better. Professional bakers normally reach for a product known as Trimoline when the recipe calls for inverted sugar. I, however, did not bother with that and just used Glucose to substitute the inverted sugar.
I will have to say that this is by far, the most tender and moist Madeleine I have made. I was at first concerend that the recipe, with so many sugar components, would be too sweet but suprisingly, it wasn't. Addition of the glucose does yield a more tender and moist crumb. The caramel (I cheated by using bottled Dulce de Leche), I thought ,gave more body and creaminess to the little cake. This was then balanced by the bits of fruity apricots.
One word of caution about baking a madeleine - make sure you work with the right baking temperature. When the temperature is too low, the batter will fail to 'swell' and you will not get the famous hump on the cake. Not only that but the crust will remain moist. When you have the right temperature, the levening agent will puff the cake correctly to yield the hump. In addition, the crust will be dried out a little to offer a nice textural contrast to the tender crumbs.
For me now, this is THE madeleine recipe for me.
36g Castor Sugar
10g Invert Sugar (I use glucose)
1g Vanilla Essence
65g Plain Flour
2g Baking powder
65g Clarified butter/ melted butter
25g Dried Apricots
37g Caramel ( I used Dulce de Leche)
40g Castor sugar
40g Fresh cream
1. Preheat oven (fan assisted mode) to 200C.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together.
3. Dice apricots into small bits.
4. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, inverted sugar using a hand whisk until well blended. (do not whisk)
5. Add in Caramel and mix well.
6. Add in sifted flour in 3 additions mixing well after each addition.
7. Add in melted butter in 3 additions, mixing well after each addition.
8. Add in apricots.
9. Leave to stand for 20mins.
10. Place batter into a piping bag and pipe into a buttered and floured mandeleine pan.
11. Bake at 200C for 7 mins.
1. Place sugar in a heavy saucepan. Wet the surface of the sugar with just enough water. Heat sugar until melted and turns brown (3-4 mins)
2. Remove from heat and carefully add in cream and stir until smooth. Leave to cool down.