Well, at least I manage to combine being a perfectionist with being incredibly lazy at the same time which can be a little challenging to say the least.
Up to the age of about 16, my school reports always said exactly the same thing. That I could do well if I actually bothered to make an effort, if I actually did my homework rather than inventing creative excuses, if I paid attention in class.
Despite my obvious failings as a student, I still felt that I had to ace every test and have a constant stream of perfect grades. Unsurprisingly, my attitude and my ambitions weren't really compatible which would just frustrate me. It never seemed to occur to me that rather than just despairing of myself, I could buckle down and actually do some work. That would have been far too much of an effort.
Thankfully I did manage to pull it out the bag, educationally speaking, for the last couple of years of school and get the grades I needed to go to the university of my choice but I don't think I've really learnt my lesson. I do know that practice makes perfect but I want everything to be perfect right away and not to have to bother with all that practice malarkey. When something doesn't turn out exactly how I imagined it, I really have to battle not to give in and give up.
When my boyfriend came home from work on Friday evening, he found me in the depths of despair. Of the nearly 60 madeleines I had made by that point, I had four which I deemed satisfactory. Some were too big, some were too small. Some were more brown than others. I was making them for a party so I was totally determined that they would be perfect. As he listened to the litany of my woes, he popped one in his mouth.
'What on earth are you talking about?' he said, 'these are absolutely delicious.'
I tried one. He was right. But don't tell him that.
(Before anyone asks, I flipped the madeleienes round in the tin to photograph them, they only have the scalloped edge on one side.)
I was originally planning on flavouring these with rosemary but I could only find lemon thyme at the local grocery store. What that says about my local area is a whole other post. The subtle citrus of the lemon thyme works wonderfully though against the richness of the brown butter (unlike Heidi, I threw all of the butter, brown bits and all into the mixture) but I'm sure they would be equally delicious with rosemary or, to be honest, any other floral herb that you care to throw in there. In hindsight, some white chocolate chips may have been a delightful addition but not everything I make has to have chocolate in. Maybe.
Brown butter and lemon thyme madeleines
Makes about 80 small madeleines
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
- 175g unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- Pinch salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 85g plain/all purpose flour
- Butter for greasing the pan
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease your madeleine tin very well.
- Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and cook until it's a dark brown. Allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk the eggs and salt until creamy and doubled in volume. Add the sugar in a constant stream and continue to whisk until thick (it should take a couple of minutes).
- Gently fold in the lemon thyme, vanilla and flour until just combined. Finally, fold in the butter.
- Fill the moulds about 2/3 full (I used a 1/4 teaspoon measure) and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove immediately from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool.