I've suddenly got a craze for Madeleines- those delicious French tea-time treats; similar to little cakes, but shaped into scallop shells: fans of Proust will I'm sure, agree. I made a batch yesterday afternoon, and I think I've got the recipe almost exactly right. Here's how to do it:
First, heat up your oven to 200∘C. Crack three eggs into a bowl, and add 150g of white sugar. Using an electric beater, whisk until the eggs and sugar form a white, creamy and reasonably stiff "cream".
In a small pan, melt half a pack of butter, and then set aside to cool down. Sift 150g of white flour into the beaten eggs and sugar, and pour in the melted, liquid butter. Using a spoon, very slowly and gently fold in the sifted flour and butter to form a batter.
Now's the time for the flavouring. Last week I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract and that worked reasonably well. You could also use lemon juice. However, yesterday I decided to give my Madeleines an orangey tang- and this seemed to work best of all. So, mix in the finely grated zest and juice of half a small orange.
Next, you'll need a Madeleine baking tray. I managed to find mine without any problem- and any decent, reasonably upmarket kitchen shop should sell one. It's a tin baking tray with twelve scallop or shell shaped molds. Brush the molds with melted butter (I dipped my brush into the butter I had previously warmed up). Pour the batter into each mold. Surprisingly, you will find that the Madeleines don't expand that much during baking, so I would level off the batter in each mold, making sure that the "scallops" are properly filled.
Bake in the hot oven for about nine minutes- until the Madeleines are a light brown and golden colour. Take the molds out of the oven and let them cool down slightly, before turning out the Madeleines onto a plate. Sprinkle them with sifted icing sugar. I found that as the Madeleines cooled down, the outside bit became crunchy and slightly caramelised, while the insides remained soft and slightly moist.