Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Celebrate the Honey

The Autumn....

At the colourful Autumn sunset, when we celebrate the colours of the earth, that built in us joy and warmth for the upcoming winter, I feel happy ...

The season of harvest is almost gone. There are some lonely corn fields left - probably their farmers are trying to savour every last drop of the sun.


... Chrysanthemum colourful carpets, burning trees, flying away birds, playful wind and rainy days, long, long shaddows - I love the season! It is so beautiful and calm!

The honey treatment is the best way to fight the cold weather. Either with warm tea and honey under the warm protection of the hand knitted throw, or propolis hand cream that protects the skin and helps it adjust to the weather change, we should all be thankful to the little buzzing hard workers, who give us all these treasures. I found the Madeleines appropriate for the season. A day visit to the closest bee farm will help with the supplies: fresh honey, great hand crafted wax candles, some of which we can always do ourselves. Find a place like that Bee Farm close to you for some inspirational moments to share with your family.

I experienced with a lot of Madeleines recipes. I learned a lot about baking these lovely tasted petit-fours and that baking itself is the most important step in the process of preparing them. The recipe I am the most happy with is the one from Bouchon Bakery, Thomas Keller presented in his book.


For 24 madeleines:

140 g flour
5 g baking powder
160 g eggs
110 g sugar
130 g unsalted butter
18 g dark brown sugar
18 g wild flowers honey

Combine the flour and the baking powder in a bowl. Beat the eggs and the sugar until light and pale. Melt the butter, brown sugar and honey in a sauce pan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. 
Fold half of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Without over mixing, fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.. Pour the warm butter mixture in a small strain at the edge of the bowl. Fold carefully until all the liquid is incorporated and the batter is smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 175C in a convection oven for about 7 min.

Prepare for baking:

A very important step in the baking is the refrigeration overnight. First time I baked them skipping that step, we needed to eat the Madeleines with a tea spoon. Avoid that, take the time to refrigerate. Not only the batter - but the buttered madeleine pan as well: Butter the pan and refrigerate. Buttering has to be generous - notice my lighter Madeleines - their smoothness is ruined because the pan was not buttered enough. On the other hand - the darker petals of my Madeleine flower on the picture are perfectly baked in a perfectly buttered pan. 

Spoon the cold batter in the middle of the moulds. Do not fill generously - you would want to have sharp edges around the shells and a bump in the middle. If the moulds are filled too much, the madeleines will spread, instead of rising. Have to know your oven: I baked the first batch in the middle of the oven: that is why half of my madeleines are lightly baked on the bottom and spread a bit on the sides. Moving the rack on the lower level gave me nicely baked and raised in the middle treats - exactly how I wanted them.

After baking the first batch, cool completely the pan, butter again and refrigerate until harden. Bake the second batch. If you find that annoying - having the oven working empty - just make it work and bake something else or cut the ingredients in half to have exactly enough batter for 12 madeleines - the size of the pan. Beware though, 12 won't be enough. Honestly, the aroma coming out from the oven is extremely seducing. I tasted a few and suggest to serve and enjoy them the same day you are baking - slightly warm is the best, in my opinion. 

Bon appétit! 

Share some of your experience with these great petit-fours, that we used today to honour the bees.

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