Just to report, my six-week bran muffin batter from last Wednesday is in the fridge and still baking up well. And I have to thank a few more contributors for their muffin recipes, including Merle Willis, Edna Mroz, Kietha Beaulne, Irene Oneschuk, Lorraine Rousseau, Irene Gordon, Mrs. C.A. Strong, Rhea Collin, Linda Snider and Bonnie Stefaniuk.
This week, some swappers answered my January request for madeleine recipes. Over the holidays, I picked up a madeleine pan from a vintage store, my desire to try making these buttery little sponge cakes finally overcoming my general distrust of specialized kitchen equipment. (The pans, whose shallow moulds give madeleines their distinctive shell-like shape, often pop up in second-hand shops for only a few bucks.)
Made famous by Proust's Ä la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), whose narrator is drawn back into childhood memories by their taste, madeleines are delicious dipped in tea or coffee. Thanks to Bernice Witwicki, who sent in a recipe for spiced madeleines, and to Linda Snider, who offered a recipe for the more traditional lemon version.
This week, Linda Perrin wrote in to say that she has never tasted better muffins than those sold at the Reh-Fit Centre. She's looking for that recipe or something close -- a healthy muffin that includes cranberries or blueberries.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to email@example.com, fax it to 204-697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
125 ml (1/2 cup or 114g), plus 45 ml (3 tbsp) unsalted butter
150 ml (2/3 cup) granulated sugar
250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour, plus 15 ml (1 tbsp), divided
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon zest
Icing sugar (optional)
In small saucepan, melt butter. Spoon 45 ml (3 tbsp) into a small bowl or cup and set aside. Let the rest of the butter cool slightly.
In medium bowl, whisk together 250 ml (1 cup) flour and sugar, and set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk eggs with vanilla, salt, lemon juice and lemon zest until the eggs are frothy. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and, using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add the 125 ml (1/2 cup) melted butter and continue to stir gently until all butter is incorporated. Do not overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the pans by adding 15 ml (1 tbsp) flour to the 45 ml (3 tbsp) reserved butter and stirring to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the moulds of the madeleine pans with the butter-flour mixture so that they are well-coated. Place the pans in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Remove the batter from the refrigerator and one pan from the freezer. Fill each mould with 15 ml (1 tbsp) batter. Remove the other pan and fill in the same way.
Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, or until madeleines are browned lightly at the edges, puffed up a little in the middle and spring back when touched lightly. Let cool in pans for 2 minutes. Using a fork, gently loosen the madeleines from their moulds and then tip onto a rack. Once cool, dust lightly with icing sugar and serve. If you are freezing or storing the madeleines, do not dust with the sugar until you are about to serve. Makes 24.
Tester's notes: These madeleines had a lovely lemon flavour, crisp edges and a rich, buttery centre, although mine didn't develop the characteristic bump. I also found I needed a few extra minutes of baking time to get them nicely browned.
250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour
2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) ginger
2 ml (1/2 tsp) cinnamon
1 ml (1/4 tsp) cloves
4 eggs, at room temperature
175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
150 ml (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
In small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and cloves and set aside.
In medium bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until well combined. Slowly pour in melted butter and whisk until well combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth, with no lumps. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Preheat oven to 205 C (400 F). Lightly butter and flour a 12-mould madeleine pan. Using a small scoop or spoon, fill each mould about three-quarters full. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden around edges. Let cool slightly and then unmould the madeleines by gently tapping pan on counter and gently running a knife around edges. Makes 24.
-- Adapted from Flavours magazine
Tester's notes: These subtly spiced madeleines are also good -- I found them a little lighter and cakier than the lemon version, with edges that are more tender than crisp and a definite "bump." Try tapping the pan on the counter before baking to get rid of air bubbles.