On baking and Baltimore and finally getting the Hermès Madeleine right, with some help from Cherry Bombe.

The Hermès Madeleine

We’ve been in Baltimore for a month as of yesterday, and while there are adjustments to make like finding new food and wine stores and getting accustomed to driving around in a real city, overall the move has been a very positive one. We were mostly unpacked by the time New Year’s rolled around largely thanks to Michael going through box after box during his time off work, and even now we just have to figure out where to hang and/or place the remaining pictures we have stashed around the apartment.

(We also have to get used to living in a city with an actual football team again, and moreover living not that far from the stadium. We were spared the brunt of the excitement this year but I imagine next fall we won’t be making many plans to venture out on Sundays unless it’s to places we can walk.)

The view from one of our windows.

Perhaps the most positive development to arise from all of this change, though, has been the chance to see people more regularly. We’ve had several visitors to see our place already and we’ve been able to return some of those visits in kind, all in the span of four weeks.  After years of largely being on our own it’s nice to be able to get out and reconnect with people I hadn’t seen in ages, and since I’ve been working at home I can strike a nice balance between social and quiet time for the time being.

And speaking of reconnecting, this recent nasty cold snap has drawn me back into the kitchen in order to attempt to make madeleines one more time. Last winter I came across Hermès’s recipe through Cherry Bombe and had purchased a madeleine pan to try them out for myself, but every time I baked them the things came out overly browned on top. A nice exchange on Twitter with the article’s author made me realize that I should have probably gotten the traditional shiny pan instead of the nonstick version, and on a whim I asked for one for Christmas to give them another try this year.

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the traditional method yielded perfectly-baked cakes with just the right shade of golden-brown on top, but after too many rounds of not-quite-right it was a bit of a shock, albeit a pleasant one, for me to see them come out so well and so simply. My hope is to start keeping these around the house so that I have a nice home-baked treat to offer to any visitors we receive, but if things go well maybe I’ll just have to start sending care packages with Michael that he can take to his office.

Hermès Madeleines

Adapted from Cherry Bombe (Fall/Winter 2014 issue)

Makes 12 madeleines

  • 1 large egg
  • 75 grams of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • Zest of ½ of a medium-sized lemon that was well-scrubbed
  • 5 grams of melted salted butter (confession: I used unsalted and the next time I’ll just add a pinch of salt) plus extra solid butter for greasing
  • 75 grams flour, plus extra for dusting

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar and then start incorporating the remaining ingredients one at a time, taking the time to mix each ingredient well. Cover with plastic and then place in the fridge for a few hours to overnight to let the zest infuse into the dough.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about twenty minutes and grease the madeleine pan with butter and then dust with flour. Using a small spoon (flouring it helps the batter not stick to it) fill each mold about 2/3 full with batter, and then bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Remove, let cool, and serve with tea. While they taste best the day they are made, if well contained they will be tasty for at least a week.

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5 comments
  1. Oh hey!
    Congrats on the move!!
    it is nice to be out and around people again. We’re not all crazy (unless you’re in traffic in which case..)
    I bet the house smell great after making these!! Did you guys eat them all or are there still some left 🙂
    And as for football, you don’t have to worry about that until next year, my Pats saw to that 🙂

    • We still have a few left! I’m very torn on the Pats win–while on one hand it means my neighborhood will not be inundated with fans until next fall, it was largely a really good game and it would have been cool to see them beat the Pats. Until next year!

  2. Brianne said:

    Living near the Ravens stadium…yikes! That sounds crazy. Way to go on getting these madeleines right! I’m coming to your house for sure if these are my welcome gift 🙂

  3. Tracy said:

    I was wondering how you were finding it here, food-wise and wine-wise. There are hidden gems everywhere. This town still struggles on the coffee front, though. I do work from home quite frequently so if you ever want to meet up for coffee/tea just let me know.

  4. a year plus late — welcome to baltimore! it’s a wonderful city, a place that i have lived in the longest in all my life — 14 years in september!

    anyway, we are also pretty close to the stadium and unfortunately this season was a bust for the ravens.

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