Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Green Tea Madeleines

Posted by osakaben41 on August 7, 2009



I’ve been dying for an excuse to do something with Matcha powder ever since this recent baking obsession began, and am only now getting around to it.  The last few ‘projects’ have tended to be a bit heavy, and with a rich whopper of a challenge to work on this month for the DB’s, this week demanded something more modest.

 So rather than an entire cake, I went with a tea and cookie approach.  Months ago I ran across the idea of a Green Tea Madeleine, and was so inspired I just had to run out and get a Madeleine tin.  With the benefit of hindsight, I should have gone for the metal version, as my silicone one just doesn’t get you that satisfying dark color, but I can’t justify buying another one now.

I’ve made plain madeleines before and they always remind me of the three or four times I attempted to read Proust.  Green tea however always brings me back to my time spent in Japan.  What a great time for a young man, fresh from college, teaching kindergarten kids during the day, and serving watered down beer at an Australian club on the weekends; attempting to eat 100 gyoza in one sitting; living in ex-pat squalor waking up to find my landlord hung-over in his underwear sleeping on my couch; eating cow esophagus unknowingly.  Grand and glorious times indeed.


 The other memory this raised was of my first studio at architecture school, in which, given our first design project, the common first inclination was to pour every idea into this one problem.  It took time to recognize the truth behind the notion that, “Perfection is not achieved when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to be taken away.”   A simple clear gesture can convey so much more than a chaotic explosion.

Even knowing this now, I can’t resist the urge to build on every idea, and accessorize every plate.  An ice cream recipe needs an accompanying cookie.  A slice of cake needs a complementary sauce.  Donald Sutherland in the movie “Six Degrees of Seperation”, tells of an elementary school teacher that has a class full of artistic geniuses.  “I know only when to take the paper away”, is our only explanation.


That said, I just couldn’t help myself, again, which speaks more wanting to cook something above wanting to cook for someone.  If these ‘tea cakes’ were originally intended to be served with tea, but there’s actually tea IN the cake, then I’d just have to serve them with a faux tea substitute.  Thus the chocolate pot du crème.   I searched all over for ideas on what flavor to pair with Green tea, but there aren’t many good ideas out there, so I went with Chocolate as a default.  My wife and I had a near religious experience with chocolate pots du creme one New Year’s Eve, and I’ve always wanted to try it at home.


Overall, I’m pretty happy with how these turned out.  The taste is subtle, and not too sweet.  If anything I’d say there’s too much powder involved, if only because the color is so striking it needs an explination.  If this were sitting there on a table, I’m not sure how many folks would skip over the chocolate chip cookie to grab one of these.  That said, my daughter seemed to really enjoy one with her breakfast today.

I’m not going to post the recipe here, since I can’t claim to have revised it in anyway.  Rather, if you’d like to try these yourself, stop by La Tartine Gourmande and see what she inspires.  I also borrowed her recipe for the Chocolate Pots du Creme.

So just as each project has lead to inspiration for the next one, I’ve now got some apple-pomegranate-lemongrass tea that is calling out to be used, and some CIA inspiration on exactly what to do with it.


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