C. and I have always liked to entertain and cook for our friends. After all, I come from the land where everything is discussed, solved and celebrated around a table of good food. But ever since we became parents, it has not been so easy to keep that up. Our nights end at 8pm, dinner can be a messy fare and time for long chats is limited to five minutes. But this weekend, we managed to plan a get together with close friends, which was much needed. Not too many, only ten, which given the circumstances is a perfect number.
For dessert, I had planned a “build your own” sundae bar with homemade chocolate chip cookie crumbs, candy bars, fruit toppings. I also made these orange and brown butter madeleines to finish the meal with coffee and tea, but unfortunately, no one ever made it to dessert.
I came up with this recipe years ago while I was working at my first fine dining restaurant and still attending culinary school. My chef at the time held that ship tightly and never gave any of us any freedom to try anything new (and of course, I don’t blame her). But one day, she let me play around and turned a regular madeleine recipe into this one with the addition of lots of orange zest, almond flour and brown butter. Needless to say, I was very excited and everyone seemed to enjoy them.
A few days later, I was taking a petits fours class with a well known pastry chef and the subject of madeleines came up. He said to the class, “as far as I’m concerned, almond flour and brown butter only belong in financiers and you will never see that in any of my recipes”. You can imagine the embarrassment. I deflated then and there. Some chefs really had the ability to do that to me.
Orange and Brown Butter Madeleines
250 grams sugar
Zest of 1 orange
2 tsp vanila extract
225 grams cake flour, sifted
110 grams almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
250 grams butter, browned and cooled
Start by making the brown butter. Place the butter in small saucepan and heat until it starts to bubble and sizzle. Watch it closely as it will start to brown soon after the sizzle diminishes slightly. When it smells like roasted nuts and the bottom of the pan is brown, remove the pan from the heat, strain the butter and let it cool.
Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip until light and thick, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder. Mix until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. Slowly add the brown butter as the machine is running. Let butter incorporate into the batter and continue adding it.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold with a spatula to make sure all ingredients are well mixed. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
Pipe batter into madeleine molds. Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (when “bumps have appeared), reduce oven to 375F and continue baking for 5 more or until browned.
Post Script- I just want to clarify that this chef never had mean intentions. He didn’t even know that I had made these madeleines. He was simply voicing his opinion. He happens to be a super sweet chef who is always ready to share. I just had to clarify that. Thank you!