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Madeleine Melody

OK, so admittedly, the macaron attempt a few months back didn’t exactly go to plan, as my post “Macaron Madness” will testify. So I’ve turned to another Frenchie patisserie favourite which has turned out to be slightly easier to master. In fact, I’ve mastered quite a few French favourites of like, including Crème brûlée with a picture-perfect crackable burnt caramel top (courtesy of my new favourite kitchen toy – the mini blow torch) albeit that on my third attempt, the Crème brûlée somehow managed to revert into a kind of mousse brûlée (this being the one which was rather embarrassingly cooked for two French guests – I was full of bravado about English boy being able to cook French food to perfection and then that little mishap occurred… naturally I pretended it was a purposeful reinvention of the classic). And crossing over the Pyrenees to Catalonia, I’ve also recently mastered Crema Catalana, the lighter, citrus and subtly spiced version of the Crème brûlée, a dessert which previously had me stumped – it was either too runny or like jelly. Anyway, I digress, back to France…

I’ve been intending to cook madeleines for some time, ever since I picked up one of those shell-shaped baking moulds as an impulse purchase purely because it was made of silicone and is red (thus matching my kitchen colour scheme to perfection). Nonetheless, there my madeleine mould remained, creased up in my pots and pan cupboard in a way that only silicone could, until one day, a few weeks ago, when my ears customarily pricked up to the words “Paris” on my television screen and I found myself falling instantaneously in love with a new cookery programme: Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen. This programme is a must for any Paris lovers – it’s worth watching alone just for the stunning views of Montmartre roof tops, the Tour Eiffel by sunset, Paris viewed from the roof of the Grand Palais where they keep beehives (who would have known?!) as well as a quirky soundtrack featuring an ecclectic mix of old French classics from the likes of Charles Trenet as well as punchy tango chill from the Gotan Project. But by far the star of the show is the little teeny weeny kitchen which gives the show its title, as well as the equally tiny, affable and engaging proprietress of her little kitchen restaurant, Rachel Khoo. She aims to cook undaunting French classics, more often than not with a contemporary twist. She makes French cooking accessible and very unpretentious, which lets face it, makes a change, and she fills the hearts of us english with a certain pride – she is after all a London girl who has made it good in the closed culinary world of Paris.

Rachel Khoo

Anyway, it was Rachel Khoo who, in her first episode, made madeleines with a twist – she places a single raspberry in each madeleine before cooking and then, once hot out of the oven, pipes the raspberry’s little opening full of an oozy lemon curd. No wonder I was inspired to take out my funny red silicone tray and try this recipe out. The results were good (see photos below) – the madeleines, unlike those which you can buy cheap in Monoprix, are unctuous and moist, and this is no doubt helped by the the lemon curd and and raspberry, both of which combine to provide a delicious mid-Madeleine treat to break up an otherwise buttery flavour. Rachel Khoo, I salute you.

Pre-cooking - the madeleine mix in my silicone mould complete with raspberries, hole facing upwards

Et voilà, the finished madeleines

I told you I'm obsessed with Paris...

Rachel’s recipe for madeleines à la crème au citron can be found here.

Bon appetite!

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