Discover the iconic madeleine in a dessert format. A soft Savoy biscuit with a delicate pastry cream and chantilly mousse for a sweet sensation from the very first mouthful.
For the savoy sponge cake with almonds
- 1 oz. (25 g) sliced almonds
- 2 medium eggs (scant ½ cup/100 g)
- Scant ½ cup (3 oz./80 g) superfine sugar
- 1½ oz. (40 g) butter, melted and still warm
- Generous ⅓ cup (1¾ oz./50 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 oz. (30 g) potato starch
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- Butter and flour for the baking ring
For the vanilla syrup
- Scant ½ cup (100 ml) water
- 2½ tbsp (1 oz./30 g) superfine sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
For the caramel crémeux
- 1 sheet (2 g) gelatin
- 1 cup (12 oz./340 g) chestnut honey
- Scant 2 tbsp (1½ oz./40 g) acacia honey
- 3 tbsp (60 g) glucose syrup
- Scant 1 cup (210 ml) whipping cream
- 3 medium egg yolks (2¾ tbsp/45 g)
For the pastry cream
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- Scant ⅔ cup (150 ml) whole milk
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 1 large egg yolk (1 tbsp/20 g)
- 2¼ tbsp (¾ oz./20 g) light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp (10 g) cornstarch
For the chantilly mousse
- 1 sheet (2 g) gelatin
- 1½ cups (350 ml) whipping cream
- 3½ oz. (100 g) pastry cream (see above)
For the chocolate velvet mixture
- 4 oz. (110 g) dark chocolate, 70% cacao, chopped
- 1½ oz. (40 g) cacao paste
- 4½ oz. (125 g) cocoa butter, chopped
For the gold velvet mixture
- 3½ oz. (100 g) white chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ oz. (10 g) milk chocolate, chopped
- 3½ oz. (100 g) cocoa butter, chopped
- 1½ tsp (8 g) edible gold luster dust
To prepare the sponge cake
1Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C/Gas Mark 2).
2Spread out the sliced almonds on a silicone baking mat or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and toast them in the oven for about 8 minutes, watching them carefully to make sure they do not burn.
3Remove the almonds from the mat or sheet and set aside.
4Increase the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C/Gas Mark 3) on fan setting.
5Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale and doubled in volume.
6Gently fold in the warm melted butter.
7Sift together the flour, potato starch, and baking powder, and fold into the whisked mixture using a flexible spatula.
8Lightly grease the 4¾-in. (12-cm) baking ring with butter and dust with flour.
9Set the baking ring on the silicone mat or cookie sheet lined with fresh parchment paper.
10Pour the cake batter into the ring until it is half-filled, then scatter the toasted almonds over the top.
11Bake for 30 minutes.
12Remove the cake from the oven and let cool. Unmold by running the blade of a knife around the edge, between the sponge and the ring, then lift off the ring.
13The sponge needs to be 1 in. (2.5 cm) thick, so trim the top using a serrated knife if necessary.
14Wash and dry the baking ring.
15Stretch plastic wrap over the top and set it upside down on the silicone mat or cookie sheet so the base is lined with the plastic wrap.
To prepare the vanilla syrup
1Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and add the vanilla bean.
2Take off the heat and let infuse. When cool, lightly brush the syrup over the sponge to moisten it.
To prepare the caramel crémeux
1Soak the gelatin in a bowl of cold water until softened.
2Heat the chestnut honey, acacia honey, and glucose in a saucepan until the temperature reaches 300°F (150°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
3While the honey mixture is heating, warm the cream in a separate saucepan.
4Stir the hot cream into the honey mixture to prevent further cooking. Remove from the heat.
5Set a mixing bowl over a bed of ice. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl, then whisk in a little of the hot cream mixture.
6Pour it back into the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until thickened.
7Do not let the custard boil; the surface must only ripple gently.
8As the quantity of custard is small, it will cook very quickly.
9Squeeze out the gelatin to remove excess water and place it in the bowl set over ice.
10Immediately strain the hot custard through a fine-mesh sieve over the gelatin, stirring until the gelatin dissolves.
11Do not blend.
12Cool the custard quickly over the ice and pour it into the 4¾-in. (12-cm) baking ring to form a layer about ¾ in. (1.5 cm) deep.
13Any leftover crémeux can be poured into a jar and eaten later on bread.
14When the caramel crémeux begins to set, place the sponge on top, with the almond side facing down. Keep chilled.
To prepare the pastry cream
1Place the milk and butter in a saucepan and scrape in the vanilla seeds. Bring to a boil.
2While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick, then whisk in the cornstarch.
3Pour a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and sugar, whisking nonstop.
4Pour it back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened and smooth—it will cook very quickly.
5Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cool quickly.
To prepare the Chantilly mousse
1Soak the gelatin in a bowl of cold water until softened. Drain and squeeze to remove excess water. Place in a bowl and microwave on full power for 5 seconds, or until melted.
2Whip the cream in a mixing bowl until it holds soft peaks. Bring the pastry cream to room temperature and, using a flexible spatula, fold in the melted gelatin, then the whipped cream.
To prepare the chocolate and gold velvet mixtures
1Place the ingredients for the velvet mixtures in two separate bowls and melt over pans of simmering water (bain-maries).
2Pass each one through a fine-mesh sieve and transfer to velvet spray guns.
3Use at a temperature of 113°F (45°C).
1Fit a 2-in. (5-cm) wide band of food-grade acetate around the inside of the 5½-in. (14-cm) baking ring.
2Unmold the sponge with the caramel crémeux and place it in the center of the ring, with the crémeux uppermost.
3Pour over the still-soft mousse.
4Freeze until well-chilled and firm, then remove the acetate band and baking ring.
5First, spray the gold velvet mixture all over the entremets.
6Spray the chocolate velvet mixture around the sides, then spray the top edges lightly to reflect the color of a baked madeleine.
7Finish off with a few drops of honey.
Extracted from The Chef in a Truck: The Fabulous Culinary Odyssey of a French Pastry Chef in California by François Perret and Éric Nebot (Flammarion, 2021).
Photography © Bernhard Winkelmann.