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Orange-Almond Madeleines (French tea cakes)


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Cuisine: Dessert French Snack

In the Kitchen With . . . Sarah Pearse

Nominated by friend Emily Takieddine: "Sarah is the best storyteller I know, which means she is the best cook I know. Let me explain. Whatever wonderful goodies she makes, Sarah always tells you just how she made them, what wonderful ingredients went into the dish, where the recipe is from and how much fun she had during the process. I know that when I eat Sarah's food I will enjoy the story behind the meal and the passion with which it was made almost as much as the meal itself."

Hands on time: 20 minutes  Total time: 35 minutes  Serves: 36

Ingredients:

    3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for brushing molds
    1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 large eggs
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    Grated zest of 1 small orange
    Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions:

Melt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted better in a small pan over low heat; set aside to cool. Meanwhile, melt additional 2 to 3 tablespoons butter and coat the inside of each madeleine mold. Put the pans in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 minutes. Butter the pans a second time to ensure that a small layer of butter has hardened in the tin.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar on high until they are thick and lemon-colored, 2 to 3 minutes. By hand, gradually add the flour mixture, folding until combined. Add the almond extract and orange zest. Fold in the melted butter.
Remove the madeleine tins from the refrigerator. Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them about 2/3 full. Tap the molds gently against a flat surface to evenly distribute the batter. Place the tins in the center of the oven. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Tap the madeleines out onto a cooling rack and dust the scalloped sides with sifted confectioners' sugar.

Notes:

Eat these delicate French tea cakes while still warm, or store them for several days in an air-tight container. Sarah Pearse adapted this from a recipe she found in Gourmet magazine.

Tester's note: If you don't have special madeleine pans with the traditional scalloped shape (you'll need 3 pans with 12 molds each), you can use mini muffin pans --- although the cakes won't be as pretty. Other special equipment that comes in handy for this recipe are a pastry brush for buttering the pans and a zester.

Nutrition:

Per cake: 68 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 1 gram protein, 7 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 4 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 28 milligrams cholesterol, 27 milligrams sodium.

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