There are very few things for which I’d sacrifice a rare, humidity-free, absolutely gorgeous spring evening in Texas. Dessert with one of my favorite cookbook authors-slash-bloggers, David Lebovitz, is one of them.
I consider myself a fairly good wife. I cook like a mutha’. I love sports and wield a mean shotgun in Halo 3. I don’t drag my husband to garage sales or antique shops (we did accidentally end up antiquing once, but it was a total accident… and a story for another day). He doesn’t have to drag around my shopping haul at the mall and he only rarely has been asked to hold my purse, but even then, it was a logistical necessity. I promise.
So when I told him that I was booking two spots in a cooking class devoted to Parisian Desserts with the David Lebovitz a couple of months ago, I was a bit put off that he wasn’t very excited. After all, he’d even suggested in the past that we take a cooking class together. It was 2 1/2 hours devoted to our favorite meal, dessert. Hosted by a chef who has written books about chocolate and ice cream. “Okay, honey,” was his response. That’s it? That’s all I get?
It was only a few hours before we were due at the great grocery mecca that is Central Market that he perked up.
Did you just say Puh-ree-zhen?
Yes. Puh-ree-zhen. The chef lives in Paris.
I thought you said Persian desserts! I couldn’t figure out why you signed us up for a Persian food class.
While I believe there is a distinct difference in the way I pronounce Puh-ree-zhen and Per-zhen, I’ll give him this one. Born and raised in southeast Texas, I’ve been accused of having an accent a time or two. Or three.
If you ever, ever get the opportunity to take a class with David Lebovitz, TAKE IT. Aside from the obvious talent, he’s super entertaining and leads a fantastic class. My very favorite confection baked up during the class was the Lemon-Glazed Madeleines. My husband’s was the Bleu Cheese and Bacon Cake.
Bursting with a bright lemon flavor, I could almost understand Proust’s obsession. The perfect, scalloped cakes won me over with one bite and sent me running to the bright, shiny kitchen store for madeleine molds the very next morning. Since the cakes are best eaten within three days, we polished off our first batch on day two. No reason to nibble on stale madeleines on day three when we can just whip up a second batch!
Citrusy madelines with a tart lemon glaze.
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
- zest of one lemon
- 9 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
- For the glaze:
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp water
- Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
- Whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt with a stand mixer for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
- Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)
- Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
- To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4's (I used a scoop with a volume of 2 Tbsp for my large madeleine mold. For the smaller mold, I used about 1 1/2-2 tsp of batter.) Do not spread the batter.
- Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
- Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they're cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
- Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they're best eaten the day they're made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don't recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt (freeze and then glaze when thawed).
Yields: 24 madeleines
Estimated time: 45 minutes