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This comes from the Joy of Cooking. The process has some extra steps (hand beating the butter, sifting the flour, and careful folding of ingredients) but the results are excellent. They rise nicely, have a crisp outer layer with an airy but chewy inner texture. Watch carefully as they burn quickly. You can add the zest of one lemon for an elegant twist. A real Madeleine pan is a must. These treats make impressive hostess gifts, and are wonderful with a bold black tea. Viva la France!
- Have all ingredients at room temperature, 68° to 70°F Preheat the oven to 450°F Using melted butter, generously grease 2 madeleine pans, each with 12 molds.
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt and return to the sifter.
- In a medium bowl, mash and beat the butter with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until very soft and creamy. Warm the bowl by dipping it into hot water if necessary to hasten the softening of the butter.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla extract and optional lemon zest on high speed until thick and pale yellow, about 2 minutes.
- Sift the flour mixture over the top and fold in with a rubber spatula. Fold a dollop of the egg mixture into the butter. Scrape the butter mixture back into the remaining egg mixture and fold together. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Fill the molds three-quarters full; set any remaining batter aside. Bake unit the cakes are golden on the top and golden brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately loosen each cake with the tip of a slim knife and unmold onto a rack to cool. If necessary, wipe the molds clean, let cool, rebutter them, and repeat the baking process with the remaining batter. These are best the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container for a day or two.
- I have to lower the oven temperature to about 385° and reduce the baking time to 7 minutes or they burn. This can vary according to your oven, pans and how much batter you dollop into each mold.
- I add the zest of one lemon to the egg/sugar batter while mixing.