These classic French pastries are the perfect cookie to serve with coffee or breakfast. They contain simple ingredients, while at the same time are easy and entertaining to make. (Tip: Substitute the lemon with pink grapefruit or orange for a nice change).
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Dark melting chocolate (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan and let it cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar, and it set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk the two eggs, vanilla, salt, lemon juice, and lemon zest until the eggs are frothy.
Combine the dry and wet ingredients by adding the eggs to the flour. Using a spatula, stir until just combined. Then add the melted butter and continue to stir. Be careful not to over-mix.
Rest the batter by covering the bowl with a plate or cloth, and place in the refrigerator to rest for least one hour (or overnight).
To prepare the pans, use a pastry brush to coat the interior of the shells with the butter. Then, using a sieve, coat the inside of the shells with a light dusting of flour. Place the pan on its side in order to knock out any excess.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and fill the pans, placing about two tablespoons of batter into each shell.
Place in oven, checking after 8 minutes to rotate the pans. Check again 5 minutes later. The madeleines should be browning around the edges and puffed up a little in the middle. Using your forefinger, press lightly on the center. When the madeleines are finished baking, they should spring back at your touch.
Let madeleines cool and add finishing touches as you wish. At this point, you may use a sieve to lightly dust them with powdered sugar, or dip them partially in melted dark chocolate (as I did here).
Simple Margherita Pizza
Margherita pizza has always been a personal favorite of mine. Unable to find it resturants nearby, however, I chose to perfect my own nearly-instant recipe. So here is a simple and delicious meal that is the result of many, many pizza attempts.
1 cup water (or replacement outlined below)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 can (14 ounces) peeled whole Italian tomatoes
fresh mozzarella medallions
fresh basil leaves
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to the highest temperature setting (or 500°F-550°F). If you do not have a pizza stone, place a baking sheet or any other suitable baking surface in the oven instead.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the water and olive oil (if possible, substitute water for the liquid that fresh mozzarella comes packed in, a wonderful and tasty way to cut down on kitchen waste). Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry, excluding liquid or adding flour as needed to create the correct texture.
Divide the dough into two portions, which can either be prepared or stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. While it is ready to be baked immediately, your crust will be higher and fluffier if the dough is stored in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. When ready to bake, lightly cover your baking surface with flour and stretch the dough into rounds.
For a quick and easy pizza sauce, drain the tomatoes in a mesh sieve and break them up with your fingers. Add salt, and blend until smooth. Exclude or add the drained tomato juice as needed in order to reach the correct consistency.
Remove mozzarella medallions from the packing liquid and place them between several sheets of paper towels in order to remove excess liquid. Spread tomato sauce over the dough rounds, placing on mozzarella and basil leaves.
Place your rounds on oven-safe parchment paper and transfer onto the pizza stone.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is risen and brown.