Madelaines are a small sponge cake originally from the town of Commercy in the Lorraine region in Northeastern France. While I have fond memories of madeleines while in Paris, I also associate them with the Camino de Santiago given their shell shape. With the exception of the mold, which can be obtained in a specialty kitchen store, no special equipment is needed to make madeleines. The most prized madeleines are those that have a raised bump, resembling a woman’s nipple, in the back. This is achieved by allowing the batter to rest in the refrigerator for an hour before baking. Because they contain orange zest, I frequently like to dip them in chocolate fondue.
10 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 orange, zested
Melt eight tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan and allow to cool down. Whisk the eggs together with one cup of powdered sugar for about five minutes until they foam. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add it to the egg mixture. Follow with the melted butter and the orange zest while whisking constantly.
Allow mixture to rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Butter the madelaine mold with the remaining two tablespoons of butter. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag and fill each mold about two thirds full.
Place the mold in a 425-degree oven. Bake for about five minutes and then reduce the temperature to about 400 degrees. Bake another 10 minutes. Unmold the madelaines while they are still warm and allow to cool on the baking rack. Using a sieve, decorate the “shell” side of the madeleines with powdered sugar.