Stalking the Wild Doristas

If Cocoa & Lavender is the only food blog you read (which I doubt), you may not know what a Dorista is.

The Doristas are dévotées of Dorie Greenspan, and Dorie has a couple of blogger groups, namely French Fridays with Dorie, and Tuesdays with Dorie. (Quite a few of the Doristas are in mourning, as last week was the final week for French Fridays with Dorie. But their friendships will last forever...)

Each week, the bloggers in these groups are given their marching orders: the recipe they are all supposed to make.

I follow (not really stalking, is it?) several of the Doristas, and am always fascinated to read and see how the results of a single recipe differ from one maker to another.

For example, for the Veal Marengo one week, I saw versions that used lamb, beef, chicken, and - surprise! - veal.

There were a variety of reasons for the alternate choices - unavailability, political reasons, and family preferences. It's a lot of fun to see how each Dorista treats a recipe.

This week, I chose to make the recipe that they all made - lemon madeleines. I was fascinated was everyones results, and enjoyed their commentary. They are requested (by Dorie) not to print the recipe but, if it has been published, they will often include a link.

I made the recipe as written (unglazed and dusted with confectioner's sugar) and, as always, ask myself, "What will I do differently next time?" I'm not saying that Dories isn't perfect, but I would make a few changes: more lemon zest and less salt.

I used exactly the prescribed amount of fleur de sel (from my copious collection of salts) for my first batch, and it overwhelmed the lemon and butter - the flavors that I love so much in a madeleine. And I always want more lemon...

And then it occurred to me: this is exactly what many of the Doristas do on a weekly basis. They take the master recipe and then twist and turn it to make it their own.

They switch out ingredients based on preference or availability, they use personal methods (stand mixer versus whisk), and they garnish differently to add their personal visual mark.

So today, I join those creative Doristas and bring you my version of Dorie's Lemon Madeleines.

~ David

Almost Dorie's Lemon Madeleines

90 grams all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of fleur de sel
67 grams sugar
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
2 tablespoons whole milk
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; set aside.

Working in the large bowl of a stand mixer, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs and, using the whisk attachment, beat at high until the sugar and eggs are slightly thick and pale. Beat in the honey and vanilla.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients, stopping when all dry ingredients have been moistened. Fold in the melted butter and then the milk. Press a piece of wax paper against the surface of the batter and chill for at least 1 hour.

Using baking spray, coat the molds of two 12-shell madeleine pans. Divide the batter among the molds, filling them no more than two-thirds full. Refrigerate filled pans for 1 hour longer.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Place the madeleines in the oven and bake for 11 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and the big bumps on their tops spring back when touched. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately turn out madeleines onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature. (Use a small silicone spatula to remove any madeleines that might have stuck to the pan.)

Dust cooled madeleines with confectioners sugar just before serving.

Makes 24.

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