Earl Grey Madeleines
My best friend J. inspired me to make these Earl Grey Madeleines from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. She's definitely an Earl Grey gal and as I was having tea with her this afternoon, it was the perfect excuse to try this recipe. The Earl Grey flavor is created by infusing the tea leaves in melted butter, a technique Dorie learned from the Parisian "tea masters at Mariage Freres".
Alas, while I may eye a recipe and give it considerable thought (read: imagine how it's going to taste), I don't always notice whether I have all the ingredients. I found myself with only one egg at hand and was forced to make a half batch of these goodies (just 6 madeleines). They disappeared so quickly I barely had time to take the photographs. (The recipe below is for 12. ) J.'s comment: "They taste like they were made by a professional baker!" Hubby and the kids liked them too.
While you could taste the Earl Grey flavor in the background, it was overwhelmed in this case by the lemoniest lemon zest of all time (a neighbor's home grown lemon). That said, the flavor was complex and the texture light and wonderful. Next time, I'll err on the side of less lemon zest (or use one of those less tasty supermarche lemons). I also cheated on the time to chill the dough. Dorie says at least 3 hours, but mine got 15 minutes. The chilling time, Dorie explains, improves the chance the batter will develop the characteristic hump. Mine were humpy even with the shortcut here.
My other shortage was cheesecloth to strain the tea leaves from the melted butter after the taste infusion. My solution was to dismantle a tea bag and use the bag paper in place of the cheesecloth in the strainer, which fortunately worked a treat.
One thing I particularly love about this book is the "Playing Around" variations with each recipe. Variations include Lavender Madeleines, Rosemary-Orange Madeleines, and Spiced Madeleines. They all sound really good.
Earl Grey Madeleines (from Baking: From My Home to Yours):
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp Earl Grey tea leaves
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs,
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
powder sugar for dusting
Melt the butter and add the tea leaves. Stir to combine and allow the tea to infuse into the butter for 15 minutes. Strain the tea leaves from the butter using a strainer lined with cheesecloth (or tea bag paper).
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
Mix together the sugar and lemon zest with your fingers.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, and zest until thickened (2-3 mins). Add the honey and vanilla extract and whisk for another minute.
Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture very gently with a spatula. Gently mix in the strained butter (mine had hardened so I softened it a bit in the microwave). Cover with plastic wrap and chill ( 3 hours- 2 days, per Dorie).
Preheat the oven to 400. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Distribute the batter equally between the 12 molds.
Bake for 9 minutes and check (mine were done at 10). Bake until the tops are firm to the touch, up to 14 minutes. Remove from the molds by tapping the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.
Serve with a cup of Earl Grey tea.