Saturday, April 07, 2007

DIY: Madeleines for Easter Brunch

"Sunday was only invented so that one could brunch." Jill Dupleix

I am not one of those people who can go without breakfast; it is a very necessary part of my day and one that I enjoy whether it may be a mere bowl of meusli or the very personal breakfast in bed. Brunch is even better:an excuse to take breakfast to a whole new level, which I am more than happy to do! Open all the homemade jam in the house, chill a bottle of champagne, wait outside the bakery for the freshest baguettes possible, track down the sweetest strawberries and whip loads and loads of cream. Whatever you do, don't get stuck in a rut of sweetbreads, fruit salad and scrambled eggs. The possibilities are vast and these madeleines are a fabulous way to start any morning, especially Easter Sunday.

My love affair with madeleines began as most of my food obsessions did: at Toque! Here, one of the finest pastry chefs in Montreal introduced me to these dainty shell-shaped, lemon flavored cakes and I was smitten from the very first one I popped into my mouth. I remember he made them bite-size, using the smallest molds I had ever seen, and when they came out of the oven and he inverted the pan upside down on the cooling racks, I used to hover around, just hoping that one of those enticing little beauties would make their way into my mouth and brighten up my day. I was hooked!
Keep reading for the recipe and a few more brunch ideas...

Citrus salad with thyme is a pretty and simple alternative to a standard fruit salad. Just peel and slice a variety of citrus fruit (blood oranges look amazing), arrange on a plate and drizzle with some orange blossom water or fresh OJ. Sprinkle some fresh herbs such as thyme, basil or mint on top and serve at room temperature.

Bacon and Eggs: Soft-boiled egg on a crispy potato galette with fried lardons and apple butter

Perfect with a wedge of toast

I’ve never found any in stores or bakeries that have ever come close to those Toque! madeleines, but I have found a recipe that is worth while making. Actually, they are surprisingly easy to make yourself, but do require the special oval shaped molds with ribbed indentations know as Madeleine pans. I borrowed my pans, but I can see a trip to the baking supply store coming up pretty soon!

I think I’ll have to get the mini molds for old-times sake.

Lemon Almond Madeleines
(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

½ cup unsalted butter, plus more for pans
¾ cup all-purpose flur, plus more for pans
½ cup finely ground almonds
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon almond extract
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and sugar; set aside.

Add the lemon zest and the extract to the cooled butters; stir to combine. In a large bowl, combine the eggs with the salt and whisk until frothy. Whisk in reserved flur mixture to combine. With whisk, fold in butter mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter 2 12-mold Madeleine pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitter with a ½ inch plain round tip. Pipe the batter into the prepared pans, filling each mold about halfway. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the edges of the cakes are golden brown, 12-14 minutes.

Immediately invert madeleines onto a wire rack to cool. Madeleines should be served the same day they are baked.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful, A. Nice departure from the usual brekkie fare.

Anonymous said...

Wow...looks amazing. Beautiful presentation as well...

Aimée said...

Thank you Ladies! You are too kind.

Michelle said...

Always beautiful presentations with you! I have never tried a Madeleine. One of these days...

Tammy said...

I can't get over the amazing presentation of the eggs and bacon. Wow.

Mandy said...

Very beautiful! And what timing! I am hosting a brunch this Sunday at our house. Freaky that you should post brunch pix now! Lovely presentation.


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