When my mom suffered a stroke years ago, the only thing she wanted to eat for a long time was — inexplicably — lemon meringue pie.
When my elderly aunt was hospitalized last year, the only food that could comfort her was — surprisingly — madeleines.
Say what you will about the women in my family, but there’s no denying they like their sweets.
I readily admit I take after them, too.
When I would visit my aunt in the hospital, I’d pick up madeleines from a French bakery to take to her for a real treat. Because believe it or not, even though I bake up a storm at home on a regular basis, madeleines were not something I’d ever made.
Wanting to surprise my aunt, I bought madeleine pans this year. I was going to bake her some fresh to deliver in person. But then COVID-19 crushed those plans mercilessly.
As I wait out shelter-in-place until it’s permissible to drive an hour to visit someone her age again, I decided to break in my pans with a madeleine test-run.
I found the perfect recipe in the newly reissued classic cookbook, “The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern” (Random House) of which I received a review copy. The cookbook is by the incomparable Claudia Fleming, the former pastry chef at New York’s landmark Gramercy Tavern.
Originally published in 2001, the book became coveted not only by home-cooks, but top pastry chefs. If the latter prize it so much, you know it’s got to be worth having in your collection, too.Read more