One of the most well-known and essential aspects of the French Culture is the love of all things culinary. Whether it be seafood dishes, growing and using top quality produce, or baking, the French are experts in a wide variety of cooking techniques and styles. The category of baking alone encompasses innumerable different products such as Macarons, Pain au Chocolat, Baguettes, and so much more. Because French Club strives to experience as much of the French culture as possible, we decided to get together to bake Madeleines.
Madeleines are small cakes that are baked in a special pan so as to take on the shape and appearance of a seashell. They are dense yet soft and can be made with practically any flavoring. For example, in France, it is common to find Madeleines in flavors like lemon, orange, praline, chocolate, and almond. Savory Madeleines are also possible with additions like pesto, cheese, herbs, and more. Occasionally, they are filled with jam or cream or smothered in melted chocolate. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
For our baking event, French Club decided to make two different kinds of Madeleines: lemon and pumpkin spice. Lemon Madeleines are very common and popular among the French. Pumpkin, on the other hand, is never used in France. In fact, people who want to use pumpkin in their cooking in France must import it as it is just not grown or used in the culture. However, Pumpkin Madeleines are delightful and we could not pass up the chance to incorporate an American fall favorite into our French Madeleines. As a result, we all learned a little bit more about the French culture while enjoying our French Madeleines with an American touch.
The event was held at Dr. Harmon’s house. She was so kind to offer up her kitchen and give French Club another chance to get off campus. Eight students contributed to the process by following recipes and joining in on a mixture of French and English conversation. Our result was seventy delicious Madeleines and a fun time had by all. This event served many purposes: to get off campus and experience more of the French culture, to learn about a new French baking technique, and to practice French speaking skills in a relaxed atmosphere.