This is the cake so dear to the heart of author Marcel Proust, who used to dip it in his cup of tea to revive the fragrances of his childhood. Madeleines are said to have originated in 1755 at the court of Stanislas, Duke of Lorraine and King of Poland. The shell-shaped cake topped by a small golden sphere called a “boudotte” was invented by Madeleine, one of the Duke’s young maids.
In 1755, Stanislas, King of Lorraine, had guests but, during the meal, he was told that his pastrycook had walked out, following an argument. A meal without a dessert was inconceivable. The butler promised to save the king’s honour if he could be given a little extra time. While the guests were amusing themselves with games, stories and Ferry the dwarf who emerged from a giant pâté, the servants got busy downstairs. The dessert was made and the guests were brought golden melt-in-the-mouth cakes of an unusual shape. They were fabulous!
The king, delighted, asked to see the person who had created this miracle and up came a pretty young servant girl, blushing furiously, her hands still white with flour...
- “What do you call this masterpiece?”
- “It doesn’t have a name, Sire. We make them at home in Commercy, on feast days.”
- “And what’s your name?”
- “Well then, it will be called after you. It’ll be a madeleine from Commercy”.
Where to buy madeleines ?