Monday, 17 December 2012

Making a Christmas gift and madeleines recipe

Creativity is about doing and making. It does stop when you leave your studio. So why not infuse some creativity into your Christmas presents?

It’s not just about saving money, but more about spending the time to create something unique that you won’t find in high street shops. And time is a currency in short supply these days, so you are making a real present to whoever receives it.

The little black box

I wanted my gift to look good and professional. I had a tall square black cardboard box that gave me a good start. I cut the sides to 6 cm high.

I kept the extra bits of carboard and folded them to make two dividers inside the box.

I composed the image I glued on the top of the box with Adobe Photoshop Elements 11. The photo of the notebook cover is one of an actual notebook Proust wrote in.

For the side of the box, I created a label with all the ingredients.

To increase the “professional” effect, I cut some transluscent baking paper that looks just like the crystal paper you find in luxury biscuit tins. I rounded the corner for a smoother look. Et voila!

Madeleine recipe

I found this excellent recipe on the French blog: « Aux Portes du Paradis » blog. It is a recipe from the French chef Gaston Lenôtre.

Below is an English translation of the recipe, in case your French is a little bit rusty.

Ingredients for around 20 madeleines:

  • 3 eggs
  • 130 g of sugar
  • 20 g of honey
  • 150 g of flour
  • 125 g of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 5 g of baking powder
  • Zest from 1/2 lemon or orange – or vanilla

1 - Soften the butter in the microwave. Beat the eggs with the sugar, the pinch of salt and honey until the mixture is pale and has doubled in volume.

2 - Add to the mixture the flour mixed with the baking powder. Finish by adding the softened butter and the lemon zest (or orange zest or vanilla). Put the dough in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight (best).

Note: It is the thermal shock (temperature difference) that will allow you to get a nice bump on top of the madeleine, so you absolutely need to let the dough rest in the refrigerator.

3 - Preheat your oven at 230 ° C. Grease and flour the mould for madeleines (even if the silicone one). Fill the cavities of the mould for madeleines with a tablespoon of dough, without spreading it.

A metal mould for small madeleines and a silicon mould for normal size ones

4 - Put in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 200 ° C.

After 3 to 5 minutes, the centre of the madeleine forms a small depression: further turn down the oven thermostat to about 180 ° C and leave the madeleines to cook. Instead of depression, the famous "bump" will form on top of the madeleines.

When the madeleines are golden (4-5 more minutes), remove from the oven and immediately unmold onto a rack to let them cool.

18 madeleines in the box

Related resources

Book with Gaston Lenôtre's desserts recipes on and (affiliate lins)

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