Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mood Madeleine

These days, I've been experiencing a resurgence of Francophilia. I've decided that Paris is the No. 1 city I'd like to revisit (Havana's No. 2), I feel guilty all over again about the fact that I've taken French I and II about three times only to lose steam at French III, and I'm rapidly approaching an entirely stripedy wardrobe. So when it was decided that this month's Ladies' Supper Club theme would be dishes and drinks based on our favorite movies, books or TV shows, Proust immediately sprang to my mind. And since it was the humble, yet utterly French, Madeleine that made so much spring to Proust's mind (and since I'm usually much better at baking or mixing drinks than making, y'know, actual food) I thought it was the perfect choice.

First, of course, you've got to get a Madeleine pan. I got this one, which I think is new old stock, on ebay. The little "Made in France" sticker didn't hurt.




Then, don your Frenchiest baking outfit.

Madeleines use some pretty basic ingredients.



The first recipe I tried produced some really good looking Madeleines, but there was something really off about their flavor and texture. I know it sounds oxymoronic, but I think the problem may have been too much butter. The second recipe I used was much simpler, and turned out some scrumptious little cookie-cakes which, accompanied in true Proustian style by tea, seemed to please the ladies of supper club.


Not really. This one was made in Oakland.

This month’s theme at Supper Club was also supposed to involve a performance component. For mine, I read the famous Madeleine passage from Swann's Way and printed up some Proust questionnaires on pretty stationery. We had a great time filling them out and trying to guess who supplied which answers. Highly recommended.



And to put my money where my Madeleines are, I’ve begun the third volume.