The Perfect Rainy Day Baking Challenge
It’s been rainy here in the Bay Area the last few days, and I’ve been drinking a lot of tea to keep warm and cozy. It’s been the perfect time to perfect and TASTE test a recipe I have been working on in the Crespo Organic Kitchen this winter- Mango Madeleines.
Madeleine cookies are little French cakes made with a lot of butter and often served with afternoon tea. They are soft and spongy in the middle and little chewy on the outside, a lovely variation of textures. Most folks outside of France consider them more of a cookie than a cake. They are by all counts, pretty damn exquisite, in texture and flavor.
The little cakes seem like they would be easy to make, but in reality they require a lot of diligence in recipe following. Browning butter takes practice. And you need a few madeleine pans. Adding mango to the mix has been a little complicated, especially in order for the mango flavor to be front and center, but without making them taste too tropical. Our recipe testing has finally paid off and I am happy to report the final version, which tastes classic with a slight mango sultriness. The recipe was adapted from Julia Child’s recipe les Madeleines de Commercy published in her book, From Julia Child’s Kitchen in 1999.
The mango component adds a sophisticated essence to these little cakes, not over powerful with tropical flare, as lemon tends to tame mangoes tropical wild side and bring out it’s softer side, which melds perfectly with a classic madeleine.
It’s really the perfect little winter kitchen challenge for a cold or rainy day locked in the house.
Makes 24 little cakes
1 stick (8 tablespoons), plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons thick mango puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1¼ cup all purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon separated
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
powdered sugar for dusting
Melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Brown the butter, by letting it bubble and cook, stirring or swirling every 20-30 seconds, until it gets slightly brown and toasty smelling. This should take about 5-6 minutes total and as the butter cooks it will begin to foam. Once the butter begins to foam the butter will burn rapidly, so watch it carefully and take it off the burner before it burns. Always error on the side of slightly toasted vs over toasted as the butter tastes bitter when overcooked. Once the butter is browned pour into a bowl and stir for an additional minute so the butter stops cooking and cools slightly. Add the mango puree and vanilla and stir together.
Set aside 3 tablespoons of the browned butter.
Whisk together the sugar, flour (minus the additional 1 tablespoon set aside), salt.
In a separate bowl whisk the lemon zest, eggs and lemon juice until the eggs are well mixed and frothy.
Combine these measured wet and dried ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the melted butter (the 8 tablespoons, leaving the other 3 tablespoons still to the side) and continue to stir until the butter is incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for about one hour.
In the meantime prepare the madeleine pans. Combine the remaining one-tablespoon flour with the remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter and stir until totally incorporated. Using a pasty brush, brush the insides of the madeleine forms so that they molds are totally covered and coated. Place the pans in the freezer for one hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the over to 350°F. Using the refrigerated batter, fill each madeleine mold with 1 tablespoon of the batter. The madeleine pans can be placed on a baking sheet for easier handling at this point. Bake the madeleines for about 8-10 minutes and rotate the pans. Bake another 3- 5 minutes. The madeleines should spring back when touched in the center and be brown around the edges when done.