Memory Monday:

Citrus-Scented Madeleines with Burnt Honey Cream

If there ever was a mindful thing to bake, it is madeleines. 

These are the little, scallop-shell-shaped cakes that famously brought back memories for French writer Marcel Proust. 

Tender, buttery, aromatic with citrus, the madeleines are as light as a passing thought. And then there's the fabulous caramelized honey cream to dip them in. Another piece of heaven!

Here's my in-process photo, below, from Bake Happy (Running Press, 2015)

There is something about the scent of butter and citrus together that does take you back, pleasantly, in time. 

Flavor, like scent, can do that.

Lemon is the delicious and aromatic core of my new novel The Memory of Lemon (Penguin Random House) which comes out on June 14, 2016. It's a sequel to The Cake Therapist and continues the story of Neely, the baker who can "read" people as flavors, discovering their secrets.

When I make madeleines, I’m back at La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine when it was in Paris, and Dehillerin, an Aladdin’s cave of culinary equipment, where I bought my madeleine pan. 

Madeleines can be tricky—you’ll need a madeleine pan—so set aside the time, follow the
directions, and give yourself up to the moment and the exacting method. 

I’ve found that lightly but thoroughly coating the madeleine molds with baking spray—definitely not French, but it works—is the easiest way to get the scallop shell-shaped cakes out of the molds after baking. Only fill the madeleine molds halfway full. 

Just figure the first batch is practice, and they don’t have to be perfect: just delicious.

The Burnt Honey Cream is also delicious spooned over fresh fruits and pound cake. Adapted from a recipe by Eryn Chesney.
Citrus and Browned Butter Madeleines with Burnt Honey Cream
Adapted from Bake Happy (Running Press, 2015) by Judith Fertig.
The scent and flavor of citrus and browned butter in the madeleines and the caramelized honey in the dipping sauce will transport yout to a happy place, just as Proust was in his early twentieth century novel In Search of Lost Time.
Makes 24 large or 40 small madeleines
Citrus and Browned Butter Madeleines:
1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (125 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Baking spray
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Burnt Honey Cream:
1/2 cup (170 g) clover, wildflower, or other amber honey
11/2 cups (375 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the Citrus and Browned Butter Madeleines, melt the butter in a small light-colored or stainless steel skillet, over medium-high heat until it turns a golden brown. The butter will foam, then the foam will subside; bigger, clear bubbles will form, and in about 1 to 2 minutes from that point, the butter will start to brown. Remove from the heat and let cool until just warm.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. The mixture should ribbon from the beaters when you stop the mixer and lift the beaters up. With a spatula, fold in the flour, vanilla, citrus zests, and baking powder until smooth and well blended. Fold in the browned butter, including the browned bits, until well blended. Cover and chill the batter for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
For the honey cream, place the honey in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the honey has caramelized and reduced, about 4 minutes. Carefully whisk in the cream until well blended and continue to cook until the cream has reduced, and, thickened, and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the salt. Set aside to cool.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly but thoroughly spray the inside of a madeleine pan; wipe out any extra baking spray foam with a paper towel, as this could interfere with the scallop shell design. Fill each cavity half full of batter. The batter will spread and fill each mold as it bakes.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the top feels springy to the touch. Turn the madeleines out of the pan onto wire racks, using a table knife to help dislodge if necessary. Dust the warm madeleines with confectioners’ sugar.

Dip them into the warm honey cream and remember every wonderful moment in your life.