Madeleines…….those tender and airy cakes that grace dessert trays and bakery cases. Chocolate ones are good but you really can’t go wrong with any flavor you choose. I usually think of Madeleines as being a sweet treat but I’ve discovered that savory ones are even better. Served alongside a bowl of soup or a salad they add an elegant touch to what might otherwise be an ordinary dish. I’ve experimented with a variety of flavor combinations and adjust the flavors based on what I am serving with them. Fresh minced herbs are always good but moving beyond the expected I tried adding fresh lemon zest to a Parmesan cheese base. The flavors melded together perfectly and when I paired the Madeleines with a pea and mint puree, this starter was the hit of our dinner party.
Always use freshly grated Parmesan cheese; pre-grated store-bought cheese lacks freshness and since the cheese is the highlight of this recipe, you want the flavors to really pop. The cheese should be grated as finely as possible since you want the Madeleines to be as airy and light as possible.
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup cake flour
3 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 Teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 Teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 Teaspoon cream of tartar
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Coarse sea salt
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and pre heat it to 375.
- Brush the molds of two, 12-well Madeleine pans with 2 tablespoons of the butter and dust with flour; tap out excess.
- Sift the cake flour into a bowl and stir in lemon zest, fleur de sel, and pepper. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on high-speed until yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cream of tartar and sugar and beat until the mixture drops from the beaters in ribbons, about 3 minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture and cheese, then fold in the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared molds so the batter is even with the rims.
- Bake until the Madeleines spring back when pressed, about 12 minutes.
- Immediately remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rank.
- Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and serve.
YIELDS: 18 Madeleines