Serves: Makes 24 to 36 madeleines
- 1½ sticks unsalted butter (6 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (for greasing pan)
- ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- A pinch fine-grain sea salt
- ⅔ cups sugar
- Zest of one large lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Powdered sugar
- A bit of extra flour for dusting baking pan
- Special equipment: A madeleine baking pan, regular or small
- Lavender Ice Cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- ⅔ cup mild honey
- 2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers
- 2 large eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Procedures:Ethereal lemon-scented sponge cakes destined to inspire poetry from the first bite onward.
Madeleines: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Melt the 1 ½ sticks of butter in a small pot over medium heat until it’s brown and gives off a deliciously nutty aroma, roughly 20 minutes. Pour the butter into a mesh strainer covered with a paper towel, making sure to remove the solids. Cool the butter to room temperature. By doing the butter first you can complete the rest of the steps while it is cooling.
While the melted butter is cooling, use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to grease the madeleine molds—get in there and make sure you get in all the ridges. Dust with flour and invert the pan tapping out any excess flour.
Tip: Cooking spray with flour may also be used to simplify this part.
Put the eggs and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a whisk attachment , whip on high speed until thick (approximately 3 minutes)—the eggs should double or triple in volume. Continuing to mix on high speed, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and ribbony. With a spatula, fold in the lemon zest and vanilla (just until mixed).
Sprinkle the flour on top of the egg batter, and gently fold in. Now fold in the butter mixture, only stirring enough to bring everything together.
Spoon the batter into the molds, filling each mold 2/3– ¾ full. Use a small cup filled with batter to keep things clean and manageable; it is easier than using a spoon.
Bake the madeleines for 12–14 minutes (7–10 minutes for smaller cookies), or until the edges of the madeleines are golden brown. Remove from oven and unmold immediately. Cool on racks and dust with powdered sugar.
Lavender Ice Cream: (Special equipment: a candy or instant-read thermometer and an ice cream maker)
Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat; stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and let steep, covered, for 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to clean saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl; Slowly add 1 cup hot cream mixture into bowl, whisking while pouring. After mixed, pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon (about 5 minutes). Temperature should register 170 to 175°F on thermometer (do not boil).
Pour custard through sieve into clean bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill covered for at least 3 hours.
Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.