Proust's Madeleine? Maybe...
In his book "Remembrance of Things Past", Proust got his memory triggered by a Madeleine that he is having with some tea, some dear childhood remembering come back to him, unexpectedly.
This passage has been so emblematic, that it turned into an expression, everybody has it's "Proust's Madeleine".
It works on many levels, I personally get my memory easily triggered by smell, odors and perfums, it can remind me of holidays in Brittany when I was 10, last summer in the south of France, or loved ones that are no longer in my life.
But culinary wise, I guess most of my Proust's Madeleine are related to my Grandma. Everytime I do the pineapple swiss roll that she used to do, not only do I think of her while preparing it, but I believe it tastes pretty much like hers, so it brings me back to those sunday family lunches we had together.
I might add the swiss roll recipe at some point, but today it's all about madeleines. I don't know if those are the original ones that Proust had, but I can understand how easily you can relate them to childhood.
They fitted in the tiny hands of my niece, when she had one yesterday, they are soft and airy therefor easy to bite on. I hope it will give her some nice memories too.
Now I have experienced some flat madeleines, so for the bump, the three things that work for me: a well beaten batter, do not put too much batter in the mold (even less than 2/3) and put them in the fridge before getting them in the oven.
Madeleine (from "Petit Larousse Pâtissier")
For about 16 Madeleines
100gr of Flour
3gr of Baking Powder
100gr of Butter
1/4 of a Lemon, zested
(For a chocolate version, remove the lemon, and substitute 30gr of the flour with cocoa powder)
Melt the butter and on a medium flame, and let it cool aside.
I use the kitchenaid to make the batter as airy as possible. Put the eggs and the sugar in the bowl and using the wire whip, work it for 5 good minutes, increasing the speed until it's a light shade of yellow.
Mix the flour with the baking powder and sieve it in the egg/sugar mix, gradually and on a slower speed. Then add slowly the melted butter and the zest of the lemon. When everything is combined, turn the mixer off.
Butter the madeleine tin and fill them to less than 2/3 of the mold, put the tin in the fridge, and in the meantime, Preheat the oven to 220°C.
When the oven is hot (mine takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get there), take out the madeleine tin and put it directly in the oven for 5 minutes, than reduce the temperature to 200 for about 7 more minutes of cooking.
Let them cool a little before putting them on a rack to cool completly. Keep them in an airtight jar.