I am not a food historian, but these lovely madeleine cakes propelled me to do a bit of a research about its lovely name and savouring culture. French through and through from the name to the batter, these mini sponge cakes – with its unique scallop-shell shape and frontal bump – had been an intrinsic part of the French tea culture since perhaps the 18th or 19th century. Story has it that these delights are named after a pastry cook Madeleine Paulmier whose confused dates of existence are between the two aforementioned periods.
Basically consisting of flour, egg, sugar and honey, the mixed madeleine batter needs to be stored chilled for at least two hours before going into the oven. You can also leave it overnight in the fridge and add to the rather bland mixture some zingy ingredients like, in this case, fresh lime zest or even sweet and sour lime glazing. However you decide to flavour it, to go by the tradition, you might want to dip the cake into a tea a la Marcel Proust who, in his famous book “In Search For Lost Time,” wrote that madeleine stirred in him the ‘involuntary memory’ of the laid-back Sunday mornings when his Aunt fed him with these ritual sweet pastry in a tea cup. A memory of delicious food, always a glorious memory.
These delicious madeleine are made by Anotai Restaurant, open daily (except Wednesdays) from 10.30 – 21.30, call T: 02-641-5366.