Like most French patisserie the true origin of the small cakes known as madeleines is lost in the mists of time. However, also like most French patisserie, there is creation myth, in fact two. It’s generally agreed that they were named after a cook called Madeleine Paulmier, but one version has her living in the 19th century and the other has her working in the 18th century, for Stanisław Leszczyński, ex-King of Poland, Duke of Lorraine, and father-in-law to King Louis XV. Leszczyński subsequently introduced them to the court at Versailles ensuring their entrance into the canon of French cuisine.
The second story rings true, because the town of Commercy, within the Duchy of Lorraine, claims them as their own a claim supported by the early 20th century writer Marcel Proust who mentions them in his classic
You can flavor the madeleine with vanilla, orange water, or as is traditional lemon zest. Whatever you choose the flavor should be subtle and delicate just suggested in the background to the, sumptuous, elegant sponge.
Active time: 20 minsTotal time: 1 hr