"Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray...my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane." So said Marcel Proust in his famous work In Search of Lost Time, first published in 1913.
For Proust, the taste of the madeleine brought a flood of memories clearly to mind, a moment shared by so many - that of a favourite treat enjoyed in childhood. All those distinct flavours are magically attached to a time and a place, then stored away in our memory banks to be brought back to life - years, decades or even a lifetime later. Proust's famous passage has become known as The Episode of the Madeleine, an encapsulation of the phenomenon which Proust called involuntary memory.
First mentioned in a cookbook in 1755, we can assume that Madeleines were already wildly popular by that point. And why not? These fluffy, shell-bottomed golden sponges are a delight. That's why we thought we'd share our recipe with you, in the hope that you will go out in search of your own Madeleine Episode, make some memories, and share them with your friends and family for many years to come.
- 120 g sugar
- 120 g eggs (about 2)
- 45 g milk
- 150 g flour
- 6 g baking powder
- 165 g butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 230°C.
- Whisk the eggs and the sugar together.
- Add the flour, baking powder, milk and melted butter.
- Leave to rest. (The Madeleine batter can even be prepared the day before).
- Coat your Madeleine moulds with butter, then sprinkle flour on top. Knock the moulds on your counter top to remove the excess flour.
- Fill each Madeleine mould with the batter until they are 2/3 full.
- Transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 minutes at 230°C. When the ‘bump’ appears on the surface of the Madeleine, lower the temperature down to 200°C.
- When the Madeleines begin to get a beautiful golden brown colour, remove from the oven, tip out the Madeleines immediately and leave to cool.