Madeleines With a Humpback

I’ve had several requests to show how madeleines can be made with a hump on the back of them, a shape which many consider to be more authentic (whatever that means) than simple, symmetrical clamshell-shaped ones. I personally like those, but who am I to deny my readers?

Getting the hump is all about temperature. The bigger the difference between the batter temperature and the oven temperature, the more pronounced the hump will be. You can get this sort of medium protrusion by chilling your batter for about four hours in the fridge, then panning and baking the batter at the regular 425 Fahrenheit. Chilling the batter in a pastry bag is probably the best way to go here. You can achieve more height by raising the oven temperature.

Why does this work? It’s because the low batter temperature and the high heat causes the madeleine to bake up quickly on the outside. That seals the remaining unbaked batter inside. However as the unbaked batter heats it still needs to expand. Since the rest of the madeleine is now rigid and can’t flex, the interior batter has no choice but to bust out through the top.

I’ve seen madeleines that look like golf balls on the half shell. I have no idea why that’s appealing…but to each their own!

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12 Responses to Madeleines With a Humpback

  1. Sarvi says:

    Intellectually, I know that batter’s batter and I’m not getting ‘extra’ cake … but it still looks like extra cake to me. And that’s a plus.

  2. Maggie says:

    Like you Joe, I like my madeleines without the humps. They’re pretty when placing the shell sides up (isn’t that why we paid extra for the pan?). My only issue with madeleines is that the surface of the cake (the flat side) is sticky even when cooled. Is this normal?

    • joepastry says:

      Glad to find a fellow spirit on this, Maggie. Exactly…if the back sides are what it’s all about then what’s the flippin’ pan for? Sheesh.

      But the sticky surface is a bit of a puzzler. That’s shouldn’t be happening. What recipe are you using?

      - Joe

      • Maggie says:

        I used the recipe from “Bouchon Bakery” by Thomas Keller (sorry, I haven’t tried your version yet, I will soon). A mixture of honey and brown sugar is added into butter, then melted over medium heat. These madeleines are moist and light everytime. The sticky surface situation, I thought I was underbaked them at first, but even after I overbaked them I still had the same problem. Could it be the honey that cause this?

        • joepastry says:

          No problem, Maggie. My recipes certainly aren’t the be-all and end-all! ;)

          But yes, that’s the issue. Honey and molasses (which is in brown sugar) stay liquid even after baking. Since syrups tend to rise to the top of batters as they bake, that’s what’s cause the problem. But then maybe it’s a feature of that particular recipe. Still if you want to cut it down the stickiness, swap out granulated sugar for the honey (by weight) to whatever degree you like!

          - Joe

  3. manmita says:

    Does this work for popovers too ?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Manmita!

      Unfortunately no, you wouldn’t want to do that with popover batter since it needs to stay warm and elastic in order to reach its full extension. Very god question though!

      - Joe

      • Manmita says:

        Thanks for the response Joe. Actually I have been trying to make eggless popovers and I turn to your website whenever I try eggless baking. You mentioned something about gluten in the popover batter in your previous post, may be I should focus on that. Also thank you for all the guidance.

        • joepastry says:

          Hello!

          Let me know how your experiments go. You should be able to do it with those flaxseed mock eggs. Update me please!

          Cheers,

          - Joe

  4. Melinda says:

    I have always used Julia Child’s recipe, which calls for resting the batter before molding and baking the little cakes. Here I thought that the resting part was what caused the hump. Probably, it was resting it in the fridge! I really like the idea of resting this dough in a pastry bag in the fridge. Takes less room. As for the hump on one side and the shell on the other, I just also thought it was a French quirk that I would never understand.

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Melinda!

      Yes the pastry bag is a handy way to do it, firstly because it takes less space and second because it’s easy to portion the batter that way.

      Let me know if you try the technique. I’ll be curious what your results are!

      Cheers,

      - Joe

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