Though I generally lean towards simple, classic foods, putting a twist on an old favorite can be a treat for the taste buds, too. I’ve shared quite a few recipes here that I’ve left my mark on by putting what some might consider an unusual spin or two–but mostly, they’ve been well received. I’ve had my share of failures, of course; a few recipes come to mind that I originally had high hopes for only to see them fail miserably somewhere between idea and implementation. But since the successes, so far, outnumber the failures, I continue to try.
I was in spin mode again this weekend. I’ve been wanting to add caramel to my favorite chocolate madeleines. They are the perfect little cakes–plump and with the characteristic rise in the center. The recipe is from Pierre Hermé; it has proven dependable and is responsible for my love affair with all madeleines. Since trying this one I’ve played around–successfully I might add–with different flavor combinations. These Honey Mango Madeleines and Chocolate-Dipped Spiced Pumpkin Madeleines are always a hit.
So what went wrong with the last batch I don’t know. All I wanted to do was add caramel to the center of the little cakes. Out of all the baking experiments I’ve performed this seemed the easiest to accomplish. I drizzled a bit of caramel on the batter before baking but the cakes never rose properly.
My first madeleine fail.
Usually gooey caramel oozing out of a baked good is a beautiful thing but as you can see in the image above, I couldn’t say the same for these madeleines. The little cakes didn’t have the tall rise they normally have; they just looked sloppy. I think that because I applied the batter in layers on the mould to make room for the caramel filling, the cakes didn’t come together properly.
I suspect I disrupted some kind of baking balance here and I’ll probably never know what I could have done to avoid it. Maybe it was just the shape of the cakes that wouldn’t allow this to work. Or perhaps my baking powder failed. I also didn’t wait overnight to use this batter like Mr. Hermé suggests. What do you think?
But all was not lost. Fortunately, these madeleines only failed in the looks department. They still possessed the wonderful taste and texture I have come to love. I couldn’t toss them. No way.
I ended up with this trifle instead. Crumbled madeleines layered with vanilla pastry cream, more caramel and fresh blueberries made for one of the most decadent desserts I’ve ever had. Plan B never tasted so good.
- Feel free to use your favorite brownie recipe in place of the madeleines (or use Pierre Hermé’s recipe; just don’t add the caramel like I did).
- I doubled my favorite pastry cream recipe (link in recipe below) but increased the sugar by only 2 tablespoons–5 instead of 6. I also used vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract for richer vanilla flavor but this is optional)
- Feel free to use any fruit you like.
- This is my contribution to this month’s Chocolate Party. See the link below for more Chocolate-Caramel treats.
- Chocolate Madeleines (12), crumbled (Recipe here) Your favorite brownie recipe would work, too.
- Pastry Cream, 2 cups (Recipe here. I doubled for 4 servings. Note: If you double the recipe just use 5 tablespoons sugar instead of 6)(I also recommend using vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract for richer vanilla flavor)
- Fresh blueberries, about 1½ cups for 4 servings
- Caramel (home-made or store-bought. I used 1-2 tablespoons per serving)
- Prepare all the individual components. Wait for the madeleines (or brownies) and the pastry cream to cool to room temperature before using.