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Madeleines from Dax

Madeleines from Dax
Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

The best way to get to Paula Wolfert's house is to start out by the duck pond in the Sonoma town square. Drive east through a neighborhood of beautifully maintained Victorian and Craftsman-style homes. After a couple of blocks, you'll ... Read more

Total time: 40 minutes, plus overnight chilling | Makes 18 (3-inch) cakes or 24 (2-inch( cakes)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange flower water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour plus 5 1/2 tablespoons cake flour, combined and sifted twice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons clarified butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter

Step 1One day in advance, using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the eggs, salt and sugar. Beat until thick and light, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the orange flower water and vanilla; whisk to combine.

Step 2Sift the flours with the baking powder. Gradually stir into the egg mixture; do not overbeat. Add the butter and the cream. Stir gently until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3The next day, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the hollows of a madeleine pan with softened butter. Use a teaspoon and a small spatula to fill each hollow about two-thirds full. Tap the mold on the table to allow batter to settle. (It is not necessary to smooth the surface or fill the bottom of each hollow.)

Step 4Bake for 5 minutes on the upper middle oven rack. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 6 to 10 minutes longer.

Step 5When the madeleines are golden and just turning brown around the edges, remove from the oven. Use the tip of a knife at the base of each to loosen; turn out onto wire racks to cool. Serve warm with fruit compotes, sorbets and granitas. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight tin and heated gently before serving.

Note: From Paula Wolfert's "The Cooking of South-West France." She recommends using Plugra butter, which does not need to be clarified.


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