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The first time I tasted a ‘madeleine’ was at a morning tea in the imposing DAR (Daughters of the Revolution) building in Washington DC. These delicious little cakes have a wonderful history as does the DAR, and I set about then to find a recipe, buy the distinctive shell backed baking tray and create my own. Cooking in the USA was very much trial and error for many Australian recipes. Pavlovas and Chocolate Crackles for the Boy Scout troop I led took some experimentation but they sure loved those, but adaptation became a necessity.
I searched many American recipe books for the madeleines, often surreptitiously copying them from books I had no intention of buying, and ended up with more variations than I needed. Some were good, most okay but many not quite up to that Proustian “episode of the madeleine” I had.
So now many years later I’ve found the perfect recipe in Poh Ling Yeow’s just released Poh Bakes 100 Greats, with her version of madeleines with a special added strawberry rosewater glaze. Out came that distinctive baking tin and yes this recipe works. Memories of things past are often what favourite recipes, baking skills learnt in your grandmother’s kitchen, significant occasions and distinctive flavours bring back to you and this treasure of a cookery book will do that for you.
A wonderful collection to rekindle a love of baking from simple to exotic, delicate, dainty and lusciously indulgent and Poh’s simple preface to each recipe that is just like having her in the kitchen with you.
Poh was a guest of a Meet the Chef dinner at University House where she chatted with Alex Sloan about this book and her rise and rise as a respected cook, successful TV presenter and the girl with a smile that lights up a room and a personality that is endearing.
Guests had indulged in Poh’s Smoked Salmon and Zucchini Slice and Mini Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls while tasting wines from McKellar Ridge before enjoying the main course salmon, mussel and cider pie or the option of a vegetarian mixed mushroom and hazelnut tart . But the ‘somethibg sweet’ had all eyes on the three tiered dessert plates of rosewater pistachio meringues, Ann’s cherry ripe and red velvet cupcakes.
Next is the Angel Food cake, yes I have the baking tin for that one too, and for the grandkids the Magic Rainbow Pinata Birthday Cake. Yum.