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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Coconut Madeleine

Many years ago, more than I care to recall, my older brother lived in San Diego. Growing up all of the kids in my neighborhood dreamed of moving to Southern California. After all, it was the setting of nearly every TV show in the 70's. We all figured we would move out there, buy Trans-Ams and become private detectives.

As fate would have it, I was the one in the neighborhood who made it to Southern California thanks to my brother. Starting in the late 70's I began spending my Summers out there. While there was no Trans-Am or private detective school, I had a great time and it really opened up my eyes to a much larger world.

Some years later, I moved out to San Diego to attend college briefly. During that time, one of my favorite activities was taking the brand new trolley from our house in Chula Vista to the Gaslamp Quarter and the harbor. One of those favorite stops was Seaport Village. Modeled on a 19th Century fishing village the place was a combination of shops and restaurants with a "Disney-esque" feel to the romanticized architecture. It was a charming place full of interesting book stores, gift shops, and artists galleries. They also had a great little French p√Ętisserie (alas long gone). That is where I discovered the world of French pastry!

I loved the Tuile, those lacy and delicate cookies and the various types of eclairs were to die for. Longue de Chat was a delight but my all time favorite pastry was the Madeleine. Yes, this buttery little sponge cake shaped like a shell could send me into shivers of delight. Each time I would make my trip to Seaport Village I would come away with at least a couple Madeleine and then sit by the water to watch the ships and boats while I indulged.

I've always wanted to make my favorite little treats, but never could bring myself to buy a Madeleine pan. After all, spend money on a pan for just ONE treat? Finally, I accrued enough reward points on a website to get a Williams-Sonoma gift card. I decided to splurge and finally get my Madeleine pan.

My first try with it was an updated version of the classic pastry. This version uses coconut and features a wonderful sponge cake base. It's very tasty and I found that brushing my little cakes with a bit of Coconut Rum (like Malibu) made them even tastier!

This recipe made a bit more than my pan would hold. I didn't want to wait to let the pan cool then wash it and re-butter and flour it again for another batch, so I took the leftover batter and simply buttered and floured two small ramekins. I then baked those for about 20 minutes at 375° and ended up with two lovely mini-cakes. I then brushed them with sugar syrup flavored with rum for a great little rum cake!

So, here is Coconut Madeleine adapted from Ina Garten's recipe. In the next few weeks I'll also post a classic Madeleine recipe as well. So stay tuned!


Recipe: Coconut Madeleine

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional
  • Melted butter to grease pans
  • 4 tbs. coconut flavored rum (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Thoroughly butter and flour the madeleine pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until light yellow and fluffy. Add 1/4 pound of butter and mix. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Stir in the coconut.
  3. With a soup spoon or tablespoon cookie scoop, drop the batter into the pans, fill each shell almost full. Bake the Madeleines for 10 to 12 minutes, until they spring back when pressed. Tap the Madeleines out onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper and allow to cool. Brush lightly with coconut flavored rum (optional). Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 12 min
Total time: 22 min
Number of servings (yield): 12
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: French
Recipe by Ina Garten.



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