Mmmmmadeleines

My friend Jen (yes, we Jens roam in packs) has something of a madeleine addiction, and for the last two years she has been angling for a madeleine baking day. For reasons that range from pregnancy (The Other Jen) to ludicrous travel schedules (This Jen), The First Madeleine Baking Bash has alluded us…until now.

The stars aligned and on Saturday, March 29, we cracked open the KitchenAid and, using a recipe The Other Jen found online at Chez Pim’s, we went to town. The following documents The Baking Bash as we attempted to convert grams to ounces, and discern just exactly how brown is butter before it’s simply burnt.

First…our baking assistant Chef Lydia. The whisk was a big hit and, yes, we washed it after after she sucked on it:

Beurre noisette a.k.a. browned butter. Pim’s recipe calls for browning it in the microwave. I was dubious, but we tried it. After three minutes, we had terrifically melted butter with no sign of burning milk solids, so I finished it in a pan on the stove over low heat. No biggie:

Infusing the browned butter with Lady Gray tea leaves. The recipe calls for an Earl Gray, but we opted for a feminist take. Eggs wait prettily in the background:

Whisking the eggs and sugar using a double-boiler method:

Whipping the daylights out of the egg mixture (with honey added). Also, a lovely glamor shot of the KichenAid:

The egg mixture has tripled in bulk. Note how it ribbons back into the bowl, a sign of the batter’s readiness:

Adding the cooled browned butter to about a cup of the egg mixture to aid incorporation. We didn’t get all the tea leaves strained out, but decided we liked it that way better. More “rustic.” (Read: we couldn’t find a fine enough sieve):

Flouring The Other Jen’s pans:

Piping the madeleines:

Hot out of the oven. Our proudest achievement? The humps:

Hot tea, madeleines and a side of forsythia:

END NOTES:

  • Again…glee that our madeleines humped!
  • This recipe, while intimidating at first glance, is actually very straight-forward. Pim lays out the steps in an easy-to-follow manner, so don’t let grams and French terms scare you.
  • While the scent of the madeleines was perfumey from the tea infusion (and thus, worrisome to The Two Jens), the taste was less intense and very balanced.
  • You can eat one…maybe two. But they are very rich. Far less “popable” than the Starbucks variety. Which is probably a very good thing.
  • Everyone in The Other Jen’s family loved them (especially her father-in-law who popped over the next day for any extras lying about). Many raves all around. My mom loved them, too. The only dissenting opinion was my dad’s. To quote: “They taste like a wet dog.” Hmmm… My apologies to Pim.
  • I want to try different teas. In particular, orange.
  • We need to have a Second Madeleine Baking Bash because the consistency was not quite perfect…a little too cakey. Did we overbeat? Was there an improper AP-to-cake flour ratio to make up for lack of pastry flour? Did we rush the chilling process in our eagerness to bake? We won’t know until we try again. Other Jen…are you game?
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Daylight Savings

We bought our DVD player before Daylight Savings Time (DST) was pushed forward and backward last year. So it caused some serious consternation in the household this morning when a glance at the DVD clock indicated my husband was seriously late for a gig. After a yelped curse and some frantic scrambling for socks and shoes, we figured out the slip of time. Our DVD was hardwired to the old DST. Crisis averted.

But it did get me thinking about “how time flies.” How the hours slide by without us much noticing, until we look at the clock and discover it’s far later than we thought. And we wonder what we were so damn busy paying attention to while time flowed by.

In July 2006, my dad sent me this poem he wrote. Although I think it’s even better described as a short story. Give it a read. Then turn the clocks back and take a look around.

Accouterments of a Life
By DCES

Whether returning home to the stillness of now silent rooms

from a frenzied rush to the Vet to end the suffering of a long-time companion, or returning from the graveside services for a loved one, the senses are sharpened — so they say.

A water bowl, half empty, never to be used again; toys long unused but still kept near; a leash and collar hanging quiet for want of a walk;

A wife’s comb laying on the vanity; a tube of half-used lipstick; a book on her side of the bed, bookmarked; reading glasses carelessly set aside;

A husband’s keys hanging from a wall peg; a pile of dirty work shirts ready for one last wash; tools resting quietly where last set down; a note, hastily written, “Back soon. Just going to the store”;

A child’s bike resting against the house; a school bag filled with last week’s homework; new mittens for the coming cold; a model, half finished;

Best toss them out — so they say.

Just reminders, best to forget –- so they say.

They’re probably right. Life goes on –- so they say — eventually.