So I Wanted Madeleines...

...or like financiers or mignardises or something. There is nothing like the creamy, moist texture of almond cakes. The contrast of the firm crown of the cakes and the melting pedestal holding them up is irresistible.

It's a good thing Clotilde knows how to make those, and I had mini baking cups, because otherwise I'd have had to go to the bakery.

1c sugar
1 1/4c almond meal
zest of 1 lemon
4 eggs
2/3c butter
1/4c flour

So, I didn't have almond meal. Who has time to go to the gourmet market in the middle of the week? Well, yes, I do. I didn't, though. Just blanched some almonds and ground them up in the processor. I think I could have gotten a more elegantly delicate texture from professionally ground almonds, which I will try next time. As it was, they had tiny, rustic but not unpleasant, toothy fragments of almond floating about inside. The real kicker was the smell: a heavenly, floral fragrance, like perfume from many years ago.

Stir together the sugar, almonds, and zest; break up lumps with a fork. Add the eggs, and the butter, melted. I beat this all together with one of those stick blenders, which probably incorporated some air into the batter as well. Last, add the flour and stir in well.

Pour into your moulds of choice—ideally, financier pans, but you can get adorable tiny cupcake foils at the supermarket—and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for ten to twenty minutes, depending on the size of your mould. Take them out immediately when they start to take on visible colour. They're done. They'll still be sticky on top until they have had some time to cool, and the centres should remain moist and spongy.

Contemplate a single rose while peeling these one-by-one and devouring them all in one piece, or more daintily, in bites, spreading a marmalade with a proper bitter streak.


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