I woke one morning this past March in my sunny bedroom in Rennes, France, to the news of President Trump’s ban on travel from Europe. My heart dropped as I realized that this was the end of my “year” abroad. I rushed downstairs, exchanged some hurried words with my host family in the kitchen, inhaled a crêpe, and scootered to school – where I was immediately sent back home on my scooter to start packing.

It was thus that I found myself at 5 a.m. the next morning boarding a train to catch a 9 a.m. flight from Paris to Boston. In each hand, I grasped an L.L. Bean suitcase stuffed exactly to the Air France weight limit. My backpack, weighing heavily on my shoulders, contained everything that wouldn’t fit in the suitcases, along with my most precious cargo: madeleine pans.

Before my host family said a final au revoir to me a few minutes earlier, they had handed me the pans and an envelope adorned with my host siblings’ fanciful drawings. I had tearfully accepted the gift, grateful the pans were silicon rather than stainless steel, while fondly remembering my host mother’s evening lesson just a few weeks ago on how to make the perfect madeleine.

Inside the envelope was a note inscribed with my host mother’s characteristically neat French cursive explaining that she would miss my presence in their kitchen and that she hoped I would be reminded of our happy times together whenever I pulled out my madeleine pans and got baking. Included was, of course, a recipe and the family’s favorite variations – caramel beurre salé and chocolate filled – and encouragement for me to find my own variations.

My host mother is pleased to hear that I’ve put my madeleine pans to good use since my return. This recipe, which I adapted from Parisian-based food writer David Lebovitz’s blog, is almost the same as my host mother’s, but has customary U.S. measurements, which are easier to follow without a metric scale. I added my favorite flavor – lemon – and made the recipe more “Maine” by filling them with homemade blueberry jam. Even with my twist on the recipe, the buttery scent of these madeleines baking in the oven always remind me of happy moments shared with my host family in France. – ANNA YANKEE, Waynflete rising senior and Freeport resident

Anna Yankee teaches her 9-year-old host sister in France how to make ginger snaps. Photo courtesy of Anna Yankee

Blueberry Filled Lemon-Glazed Madeleines

These madeleines, lightly adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe, are also delicious without the blueberry filling. They can be baked either in madeleine pans or in muffin tins (mini or normal). Either way, be sure to refrigerate the pans before filling to achieve the madeleines’ signature humps.

Yield: 24 cookies

Blueberry madeleines, Anna Yankee’s twist on a David Lebovitz recipe. Photo courtesy of Anna Yankee

3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
Rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Zest of 1 small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds
Blueberry preserves
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.

Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter.

Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)

To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Fill each indentation about a quarter of the way with batter. Pipe or spoon blueberry preserves in the center of the batter, trying not to let it touch the bottom or sides of the pan. Cover the preserves with more batter. The indentation should be roughly ¾ full.

Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.

Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated, and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.

Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking.


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