Friday, January 23, 2015

Maple Oat Pecan Madeleines

There are people who love cake but don’t like the commitment of baking one at home.  Sometimes too much cake on hand can be a problem.  Maybe that’s how and why cookies were invented?  And certainly that’s where madeleines come in.  They’re considered both a cookie and a wee little cake, a bit like financiers, chewy little nut cakes made with browned butter.  Leave it to the French.

Madeleines are prepared in the génoise sponge cake tradition and are usually offered at tea time.  The tiny edges of the cakes are crispy while the interior is soft and spongy.  In this version, I’ve used oats and pecans finely ground with flour for a more interesting texture and flavor.  And just because maple goes so well in this crowd, I added a taste of that as well.  I think it may have been a subliminal moment of granola worship. 

Since these only bake for 12 – 14 minutes or so, the oatmeal needs to be ground as finely as possible in a food processor so it blends with the flour.  Even so, there’s a whole grain-ish bite to them.  And just as they come out of the oven, I brush them lightly with a mixture of maple and butter to fortify the flavor.

Next time you long for a tiny cake with your warm beverage, try these madeleines.  And if they make too many to harbor in your household, do pass them around.

Bench notes:
- The eggs and sugar are beaten to the “ribbon stage,” which is a method of using a whisk to beat air into the mixture until thickened and tripled in volume.  You can test for the ribbon stage by stopping and lifting the whisk.  The batter should stream down from the whisk and form a cascading ribbon on the surface of the batter that holds for a few seconds.  I usually lift the beater about 6" and scrawl out my initials. If they hold for a moment by the time I've finished, it's ready.  I use a stand mixer.  If you're using a hand mixer, it will take a bit longer to get the eggs and sugar to the ribbon stage.
- For a light salty edge, use a slightly mounded 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
- Madeleines are best eaten the same day.

Maple Oat Pecan Madeleines
Makes 20 madeleines

1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) flour                               
1/4 cup (3/4 oz) oats
2 tablespoons (1/2 oz) toasted pecans
1/2 teaspoon baking powder                   
1/4 teaspoon salt                                       
pinch nutmeg
3 oz (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons (1 1/4 oz) maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) sugar                                                    
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract                      

1 tablespoon oats, for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted pecans, finely chopped for garnish

3/4 oz (1 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, for finishing
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, for finishing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Generously butter one madeleine mold pan and eight wells in a second pan.  Lightly dust with flour.

Place the flour, oats, pecans, baking powder, salt and pinch of nutmeg in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the oats are finely ground. 

Melt the butter with the maple syrup and set aside to cool.

Whisk the eggs and sugar on high speed until thickened and the batter falls in ribbons when whisk is lifted, about 5 minutes.  Add vanilla and blend.  Fold in the flour mixture by hand with a rubber spatula in 3 additions.  Fold in one-third of the butter mixture until combined.  Fold in another third until blended and then fold in the remainder. 

Scoop the batter into the wells of prepared madeleine pans.  Garnish each one with a pinch of oats and pecans.  Bake until the cakes spring back when touched, about 12 – 13 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool for 1 minute, then tilt the pans to dislodge them. 

Melt the 3/4 oz butter and the 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup together.  Stir to combine and brush on the garnished side of each madeleine.  Cool completely.

1 comment:

mimi rippee said...

I've never seen Madeleines with goodies in them, but why not? They look fabulous!