I am a huge FAN of Madeleines. A small cake/cookie made with a genoise batter, it is like a small portion of cake but a bit drier. They actually have a bit of history to them, and of course, were immortalized in a passage in a book by Marcel Proust. Fresh out of the oven they are SUPERB, and as the day wears on, they dry out a bit more and are perfect with a cup of hot tea. My sister in New York lives around the corner from Francois Payard’s Pastry Shop, and they have yummy Madeleines there. But nothing seems to beat freshly baked Madeleines from any number of patisseries in Paris or smaller towns in France for that matter. I am not sure what makes them so attractive, but they are definitely a personal favorite of mine. Perhaps it is the small size, the taste of something good but not excessive (mind you, I can eat 8 of them in one sitting!)… They seem simple enough to make, and I have two pans (used ONLY for this darned cake/cookie), but they aren’t so easy to get right. So imagine my surprise when one of Marketmanila’s readers, Artisan Chocolatier, left a comment on my recent post on “What food products do you sell?” and he mentioned Madeleines…in Cebu!!! Of course I had to check these out, and ordered a selection that was hand-carried to Manila along with the silvanas I featured a few days ago.
The Madelienes from Sweet Melissa were delicious, considering they had been made the day before or possibly earlier for one batch of the treats. They were packed in small sealed plastic bags so they retained more moisture than one might expect. We loved the vanilla and lemon ones and the ones dipped in chocolate were sinful. The chocolate madeleines were good but could have been even more chocolatey…but that is nitpicking. Overall, I was impressed and I am sure I would be in seventh heaven if I could time it so that I picked up my order as they were emerging from the ovens! Cebu has come a long way and food choices there are much, much better than they were a decade ago, thanks to folks like these… If you have a hankering for Madeleines, be sure to give these a try if you are in Cebu, and try to get them freshly baked:
3 for PHP50 for Vanilla, Lemon and Chocolate
3 for PHP60 for those dipped in chocolate
They also have a line of artisanal breads under the Pan di Mio brand that sound delicious, but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet.
Below is a photo of the Madeleines that I made at home a few months ago. They were a bit overcooked (or maybe I just coated the pan with too much melted butter, or the oven temperature was too high, or the shelf was too low…) but they did taste pretty darn good. You can see the characteristic shell shape of the cake. I really should attempt to make them again…particularly for the holidays…but then again, I can just order them instead! I wonder if the original ones were baked in real shells… Oh, and many thanks to artisan chocolatier who threw in a few extra samples into my order. I tried hard to mask who was ordering (used an office colleague’s name and all) but perhaps he figured it out or maybe he was just being nice…salamat!