Thursday, July 2, 2009

Honey Madeleines

Brought to you by FairPrice


The secret to good cake is to use good butter. And the secret to bettering good butter is to brown it


Madeleine It's almost impossible to write about madeleines and not mention Proust (the famed French novelist who had waxed lyrical about these treats, placing them in the consciousness of many a dessert lover in the process).

But while the delicate madeleine is a wonderful cake indeed, it is only magical if you share Proust's childhood - which of course, few of us do.

Nevertheless, I have found that what is better than a madeleine are these honey madeleines. These will make a convert out of any non-madeleine lover. They are soft, moist and rich with the scent and flavour of good quality honey and butter.

Indeed, good butter with a rich texture and subtle flavour is important when it comes to turning out exquisite confections. A lesser quality butter, which usually has a strong, oily taste, can ruin a perfectly good cake.

Good butter, nevertheless, can be bettered by browning. Browned butter is the secret that adds depth to some of the world's best cakes and pastries, like the financier (the French gold bar-shaped cakes) and Thai coconut crepes.

For this recipe, I used FairPrice Pure Creamery Butter, which is made with high quality fresh cream in Australia and certified Halal. It has a rich, smooth texture that's ideal for baking, be it cakes, cookies or breads like brioche.

To get the best out of these madeleines, use a more mellow or floral flavoured honey. The result is full-flavoured delicacies that have a hint of toffee and that go down easily with a cup of coffee or tea.

FP-Butter FairPrice Butter ($2.95, 250g) is available at all FairpPrice supermarkets.

Honey Madeleines

Makes 24

  • 170g FairPrice Butter, plus extra for buttering the moulds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Let the butter cook until some of the milk solids fall to the bottom of the skillet and turn a rich hazelnut brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the browned butter through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
  3. Place eggs, sugars, and honey in a bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk till pale and foamy, around 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Sift both flours, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold in.
  5. Add the brown butter and fold in till blended.
  6. Cover the batter and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
  7. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  8. Liberally butter the Madeleine moulds, then spoon the batter evenly into the moulds. Fill them up to about half a centimetre from the rim of each mould.
  9. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Let cool completely on a rack before serving.

From TODAY, Makan – Thursday, 02-Jul-2009

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