Left are examples of madeleine tins. The tea cakes, or plump, airy cookies, baked in them come out shaped like scallop shells.
The photo of them by Rod Mann, below, is from the blog Madeleine Moments: Time Lost, Time Regained.
(Guerrilla secret: you can bake these in muffin tins instead. They will come out shaped like a thing in nature that is round.)
Since I wrote about Proust and his madeleines, below, I figured I'd better post a recipe so you can lay down the memories for your own madeleine-triggered Proustian moments in the future, if you haven't already.
I adapted a couple recipes to get one I like. If you prefer, susbtitue 1 teaspoon of vanilla for the lemon zest.
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (+ butter for tins)
1 1/2 cup (210 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs, room temperature
2/3 cup (133 grams) sugar
zest (grated outer peel) of 1 large lemon
powdered sugar, for dusting tops
1. Mix flour and baking soda in small bowl. Set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer until they triple in size and form a deep yellow, thick ribbon when you lift the beaters, about 5 minutes. (You can do this by hand if you have cybernetic forearms.)
3. Gently stir in lemon zest (or vanilla). Use a rubber spatula. (You don't want to deflate the whipped eggs.)
4. Gently fold flour mixture into eggs.
5. Fold butter into batter, a little at a time.
6. Refigerate batter to firm it up, at least 30 min. (Optional.)
7. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
8. Butter madeleine molds generously, and dust with flour. (Turn molds upside-down and knock against sink to remove excess flour.)
9. Plop spoonful of batter into center of each mold. Do not spread: they're supposed to have a mound in the center.
10. Bake madeleines for 10-12 minutes at 375°F (190°C), until edges brown.
11. Knock pan to unmold madeleines right away. Cool on wire rack.
12. Before serving, dust madeleines with powdered sugar.
Serve madeleines with tea, on the same day you baked them, to "invade the senses with exquisite pleasure," as Marcel Proust says.