Few things exhilarate a baker like watching your baked goods transform from the raw batter to its cooked form in the oven – like oven spring for a loaf of bread, macaron “feet” formation, choux puffing, the list goes on.
One of my favourite is the rise of that madeleine “hump”, which I always wait with abated breath. And this Pierre Hermé rendition of madeleine with a twist, generous portion of toasted hazelnuts and praline, is good enough for me any day.
Makes 18 madeleines
40g whole hazelnuts
125g plain flour
4g baking powder
125g unsalted butter
135g fine granulated sugar
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
2 1/2 eggs (125g) eggs
75g hazelnut praline
1) The night before, prepare the batter.
2) Preheat convection oven to 170C. Spread whole hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Using a rolling pin, crushed the hazelnuts.
3) Sift flour and baking powder together and melt the butter.
4) Grate lemon zest into the sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs, and whisk using the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes.
5) Add sifted flour in 2 additions, folding by hand to incorporate.
6) Pour in the melted butter and stir until smooth.
7) Finally, fold in the crushed hazelnuts and hazelnut praline.
8) Cover batter and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
9) On the next day, preheat convection oven to 220C.
10) Butter the madeleine pan.
11) Divide the batter by weight into 18, and using 2 spoons, fill the madeleine mold accordingly.
12) Put the filled mold into the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 180C. Bake for approximately 12 minutes until sides are lightly browned and “hump” has dried.
13) Remove the baked madeleines and remove immediately from the pan. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
As I only had one madeleine mold for 12 cookies, I had to make these in 2 batches. For the first batch, I followed Pierre Hermé’s instruction, preheating the oven to 240C and baking at 220C. But I find that the bottom of the cookies were a little too browned. So, for the second batch, I followed instructions from my earlier attempt, and find that the humps formed nicely and the cookies were perfectly cooked.
Pierre Hermé’s recipe originally calls for the praline to be crushed instead of ground, but, I used what I had on hand. Perhaps if I crushed them, the hazelnuts will be more pronounced. If I make these again, I think I will add some fleur de sel to the batter. I always prefer nut-based bakes with a bit of salt. It brings out the nuttiness. Well, I think 18 madeleines is going to last me a while.