Friday, May 20, 2011

L'episode de la Madeleine


The bell went off in my simplistic brain and the connections and patterns revealed themselves.  I just love when this happens in the therapeutic environment.  It is deeply satisfying.

For years I talked and thought of my father as handicapped as an adult because his mother died when he was four.  There was no mommy, no person to teach him how to be in the world, how to be a friend, how to express yourself, nor how to have relationships that can transcend small and large problems.  This continues to plague him even now when the emotional book-ends of birth, marriage and death come calling between June 17-July 4-July 8th every year.

It was only when I was talking about the man-child and how mother's day and his birthday (birth and birth) causes much shpilkes (Yiddish for "nervous energy") that I saw the connection.

The recent celebration into teenagerville came 5 days after Mother's Day.  The celebration of his birth is bittersweet as a major element was missing, mythologized, absent.  Can you celebrate a birthday if you don't know how you came to be? 

My man-child was conflicted because while he was thrilled to celebrate with his family, his first 30 months of life is as good as a piece of fiction.

His moment de la madeleine is crafted from desire, hope, similarity, continuity, and other cues he encounters in everyday life that he hopes are recollections. We have created them for him, and in turn he has added episodes and experiences into the filing cabinet of his memories.

Were this embellishments the "involuntary memory" described by Proust in his moment de la madeleine?  Involuntary memory is a conception of human memory in which cues encountered in everyday life evoke recollections of the past without conscious effort.

Proust contrasts involuntary memory with voluntary memory. The latter designates memories retrieved by putting conscious effort into remembering events, people, and places. According to Proust's narrator in the text, he laments that such memories are inevitably partial, and do not bear the "essence" of the past.  So in the creation of early memories provided to the man-child, by wanting to fill in the holes and gaps, have we created a falsehood of knowing or being?

Whether patterns and themes come into life through chance, divine intervention, or coincidence--does it matter how they arrive?  The butter in the Madeleine will remove the bitterness that may exist when those memories are less than sweet.

So for those who are walking the streets of Paris, seeking inspiration from a pastry - please find your way to Blé Sucré for the most amazing Madeleines in the city.

Blé Sucré
Square Trousseau
7, rue Antoine Vollon (12th)
Tél: 01 43 40 77 73
Métro: Ledru-Rollin

For 24 Madeleines:
300 g of sugar
6 whole eggs
110 g of cold milk
375 g of flour
15 g of baking powder
410 g of hot melted butter
metal madeleine mold/tray

Orange Citrus Glaze:
200 g of sugar
57 g of freshly squeezed orange juice

Click here for conversion calculator.

One Step at a Time:
In a deep bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk, then slowly add the rest of the ingredients making sure to whisk in-between each new addition:

Ble Sucre
Whisk and "don't be afraid to put your body weight into it."

Flour, baking powder and whisk...
ble sucre
Hot butter and whisk...
ble sucre
Cold milk and ...
ble sucre
Whisk until smooth.

Butter the madeleine mold(s) only lightly, too much butter in the crevice grooves will keep the dough batter from seeping into the crevices to give the back of the madeleine that wonderful scallop shape.
Cover both and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, should there be too much butter in the mold crevices, simply wet a paper towel with warm water and gently wipe out the excess butter from the grooves.

Generously flour the entire mold, and then slam it sideways onto a counter surface to remove excess.

Place the batter into a pastry bag/pipe and fill each place, starting in the middle to fill the mold yet not completely to the edges - ending with a quick flip of the wrist to completely cut the flow of batter before starting the next one.

Place the molds on a baking sheet and then into a 230° hot oven for six minutes, before taking the tray out to reinsert it backwards to ensure even baking for an additional six minutes.

As soon as they are done, take them out and immediately slam the mold sideways to remove the madeleines...

and place them individually on a cooling rack.

Use a mixer to blend the orange juice and sugar.

Once the madeleines are at room temperature, dip the top of the madeleine surface into the orange glaze mixture ...

and set aside each on a rack sitting on a baking sheet to catch the drips.

Place the rack and baking sheet of glazed madeleines into the oven for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, watching for the glaze “bubbling” on the edges - indicating they are ready to remove and cool.

A golden box of gorgeous light madeleines - fluffy and moist on the inside, firm and kissed by a touch of orange sweetness on the outside.

Recipe courtesy of Blé Sucré.

No comments:

Post a Comment