Monday, January 17, 2011

Madeleines: Is traditional better?

In this post, we are going to play "Cooks Illustrated".  We will compare the traditional Madeleine pan with the Madeleine pan offered at Browncookie.com.  Our objective is to give you, our readers, more choices in your baking equipment.

A Madeleine is a tradition French tea cake. It is small, golden and bright in appearance and typically come in the shape of a shell. Traditional Madeleine cookies have almond meal mixed into the flour. The final result is a delicious, airy cake that is simple and elegant.  It is an easy cake to bake at home and to serve.  The traditional shape of Madeleine cookies is an elongated shell with tapered ends.


Last year while visiting Paris, I had the good fortune of visiting E. Dehillerin. A very established and amazing French cookware store. I found a lot of baking supplies to bring back to the United States, and one of them was, of course, a Madeleine pan.



Once I got home,  I immediately put the Madeleine pan I bought in Paris to use.  Soon, I fell in love with baking (and eating!) Madeleines, and I was searching for more pans.  I felt that this delicious cake didn't have to just have one shape.  It was time to look for new pans.  On the left is the one I bought from E.Dehillerin, and on the right from browncookie.com.

After getting some pretty solid experience baking Madeleines with the two pans, I found three distinct differences between them.

1) The first difference is the weight of the pans
The tradtional Madeleine cake pan has a capacity of 12 cookies and weighs 13.5 oz. The Madeleine pan from browncookie.com weighs 1 lb 13 oz and can bake 11 cookies of the same size. The browncookie Madeleine pan is almost 1 pound heavier.  The extra weight is important because heavier cake pans promote even and uniform baking results.

2) Shape. Do Madeleines have to have the same elongated shell shape? Don't you think that having two different shapes will make the presentation more interesting?  Also, what if you made some Madeleines with lemon flavor and left some without, how are you going to be able to differentiate them? A simple way is to bake them in different shapes. I find the fan shell shape of browncookie to be equally as attractive as the traditional cake pan. 
3) Finally, the most important criteria: Baking results



Although both pans performed beautifully, you can see that the heavier browncookie pan enabled the Madeleine to have more attractive brown tan lines.  It also gave these cakes a crispier outside, while the cake remained moist inside.  The traditional was a little paler but was still very tasty.  I carefully buttered and flour the pans before loading the batter, so both pans released the cake perfectly and did not stick to the pans.  In this case, however, the browncookie pan was non-stick and released just ever so slightly better.

This heavy duty Madeleine pan is available at browncookie at the link below:

We hope you find this post informative and expand your cake pan collection!! 

Thank you for reading and happy baking!

Julie

6 comments:

  1. I love the baking tray designs you have here.

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  2. Hi Yin,

    Thanks Yin. hope to connect via your blog.

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  3. Always use the traditional madeline pan - love the shell shape!

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  4. Hi Lisa! Thanks for your comment. I think they are both pretty. As long as the madeleine comes out with the middle lump, it passes the baking test. :) Have a great day!

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  5. i thought Madeleine are suppose to be paler as suppose to darker.with that being i have baked Madeleine numerous time and i receiving a lot of requests, but i rather what my Madeleine paler and it seems hard for me to achieve.

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  6. Hi Dijifa! I think that you have to have a balance between light and dark. It has to be slightly tan, without being dry. I think that is key.

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