Its been a long journey to create a Madeleine recipe that actually works, that’s actually just like the real thing. Madeleines, if you don’t know, are iconic little shell shaped cakes immortalised by Marcel Proust in ‘A la recherché du temps Perdu’ and are held close to every French persons heart. This is how Marcel Proust describes them with reference to involuntary memories;
No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. … Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea. — Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time
Definitely an experience worth recreating!
So how to recreate such an iconic classic – it was hard to get the right taste and texture without the essential ingredients of milk, butter and eggs, and many of my initial attempts looked good but simply didn’t have the right texture. This recipe on the other hand is spot on – the addition of aquafaba has lifted the fluffiness and and the sponge has the correct density. It is essential to have the correct madeleine pan, otherwise you’ll have to make mini cakes instead!
(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)
3 tbsp aquafaba
100g caster sugar
100 g plain flour
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dairy free milk
3/4 tsp baking powder
75g dairy free margarine, melted
1 tsp syrup (or honey if you are not vegan)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Grease and flour the Madeleine mould and place in the fridge to firm up.
- Whisk together the aquafaba and sugar until slightly foamy, then whisk in the lemon juice and dairy free milk
- Sift in the flour and baking powder and again whisk in.
- Then with the whisk running, gently pour in the melted margarine and syrup/honey and whisk until you have a gorgeously shiny, silky dough
- Transfer to a piping bag and if possible, place in the fridge for a while to cool.
- Pipe into the moulds so they are filled level with the top
- Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and risen. To get the correct domed tops, briefly open the door of the oven after 3-4 minutes, then continue cooking.
- Cool in the tins before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Serve dusted with icing sugar or dipped in melted chocolate