Not the Real Thing
Before I begin talking about this week’s TwD recipe, I must make this disclaimer. I have not been to France and, except for what I read and eat here, I know very little about French food. Any assertions I make here must be taken for what I am, an amateur baker and not an authority on anything French.
Alright, now that I have that disclaimer out there, I can go on and talk about the madeleine recipe from Baking with Julia. First of all, the recipe uses the same genoise cake base that we made last summer for the strawberry cake (which was very good, by the way). Right away, I had a sort of bias against it. I think that there are very few cases in which you can use the same recipe to create different things. It’s terribly convenient, yes, but not always accurate. There is almost always some change that needs to be made. I mean, could I just add some red pepper powder to a jar of pickles and call it kimchi? Well, I really don’t think it would be the same thing.
In the same way, I really don’t think a genoise batter baked in madeleine pans can be called true madeleines. In my experience, madeleines are denser, more like a little vanilla infused pound cake. They are a little crusty around the edges and moist. Plus, they have a little hump on the back.
The ones I made yesterday were dry, airy, flat on the back, and frankly, not real madeleines. Don’t get me wrong, they were tasty little things, and everyone who tried them liked them. However, I spent the whole evening last night telling people they were madeleines, but not really.
Now, I think I may have to go and make some real madeleines to make up for this slight disappointment. On a positive note, I feel as if I am getting better at the genoise batter making. There were no lumpy bits of flour in my batter. I think using a large balloon whisk for folding instead of a spatula has helped.
If you’d like a really good vanilla genoise recipe, you can find it here. I advise you to make it as a cake, though, not as madeleines.