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Tuesday, March 18, 2003

war or madeleines

All this talk of war got me so depressed that I decided to bake some madeleines tonight to relieve stress. I found a new recipe on Mariage Freres, my favorite tea salon in the Marais. The recipe called for 4 grams of "Backing", which, knowing the propensity of the French to infuse English words into their repertoire, I guessed that it was Baking Soda.

Unfortunately, the madeleines turned out too cake-y, and without the characteristic hump that one would expect in a proper madeleine. Next time I'm going to skip the mysterious "Backing" altogether. None of my other recipes call for baking soda anyway, and I've been successful with most of them, getting the lovely bumps.

The recipe I adapted and posted in dans la cuisine was given to me with only proportions, with no instruction at all. Doree suggested that I follow the methods for making classic Genoise, which called for the eggs and sugar to be beaten together in a Bain-Marie. I found that this was the surest way of leavening Madeleines, giving it the lovely bumps every time.

I tried the recipe from Mariage Freres because I remembered tasting those lovely Earl Grey-infused delectable morsels at the salon, but I was quite disappointed with my baking result. The recipe calls for infusing the tea in melted butter, which proved a bit tricky. I'm really not convinced that it was the best way of getting the tea aroma. Next time I'm going to try using my favorite classic recipe, omitting the lemon zest and infusing tea into the milk before adding to the madeleine batter.

I have been so obsessed with getting the perfect Madeleine recipe, and plan to continue doing so for a while longer. I'll keep you posted on my progress, and will eventually post my ultimate madeleine recipe should I ever get there.

The world is getting more and more insane---I don't know how long baking madeleines is going to keep me from following suite. [sic]

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