The madeleine pan. Madeleines are small tea cakes in the shape of a shell that originated in France. The great thing about them is that besides this beautiful pan, they require no other special tools to make. I have been dying to try making these since last year, and my mother-in-law was so thoughtful to have given me this beautiful pan for Christmas! I was so excited to add it to my collection! I plan on making them very, very soon.
Aside from the fact that I imagine these little cakes practically melt in your mouth, while researching the famous tea cakes I came across something that just may be my favorite thing about them, before even tasting them.
Outside of France the madeleine tea cake is most famously known for its association with involuntary memory in the Marcel Proust novel, “A la recherche du temps perdu” (A Remembrance of Things Past). The narrator in this novel experiences a sort of awakening as he eats a madeleine dipped in tea.
“She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place…at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory…”
Such description! Has any type of food ever provoked this kind of feeling in you?