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The history of Madeleines

Spongy and buttery Madeleines with a hint of vanilla covered in ruby chocolate and filled with delicious raspberry confit.

Madeleines, those exquisite and delicate French cookies, have a fascinating history dating back to the region of Lorraine in northeastern France. Although their exact origin remains debated, it is believed that these delights emerged in the 18th century. Some historians suggest that Madeleines were created by a servant named Madeleine Paulmier, who worked for the Polish king Stanislas Leszczyński, Duke of Lorraine. Madeleine supposedly invented these cookies to please the Duke and his guests, and her name became associated with the delicious recipe.

Over time, Madeleines gained popularity, particularly in the court of Versailles during the reign of Louis XV. However, it was the French author Marcel Proust who significantly contributed to their fame in popular culture. In his novel “In Search of Lost Time”, Proust immortalized these cookies with a powerful and evocative passage about the memories associated with their flavor. Since then, Madeleines have become a symbol of nostalgia and reminiscence.

The traditional recipe for Madeleines includes basic ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and zest from citrus fruits like lemon or orange, which imparts their distinctive aroma. The key to achieving their characteristic shell shape is to use special shell-shaped molds, which are properly greased before pouring the batter.


Today, Madeleines are enjoyed worldwide and have been adapted to various flavors and variations. From classic lemon Madeleines to versions with chocolate, nuts, or vanilla extract, these small cakes remain a delightful addition to pastry. Their spongy texture and delicate taste make them a popular choice to accompany tea, coffee, or simply as a gastronomic gift that evokes France's rich culinary history.

Undoubtedly, Madeleines continue to delight pastry lovers with their timeless charm and emotional connection to the past. Thus, this French dessert endures over time, keeping its tradition alive and being a treat that transcends borders. Thanks to their literary legacy and unmistakable flavor, Madeleines hold a special place in culinary culture, providing moments of pleasure and evoking memories of bygone eras with every bite.