He knew that the very memory of the piano falsified still further the perspective in which he saw the elements of music, that the field open to the musician is not a miserable stave of seven notes, but an immeasurable keyboard (still almost entirely unknown) on which, here and there only, separated by the thick darkness of its unexplored tracts, some few among the millions of keys of tenderness, of passion, of courage, of serenity, which compose it, each one differing from all the rest as one universe differs from another, have been discovered by a few great artists who do us the service, when they awaken in us the emotion corresponding to the theme they have discovered, of showing us what richness, what variety lies hidden, unknown to us, in that vast, unfathomed and forbidding night of our soul which we take to be an impenetrable void.
And you thought he just wrote about cookies!! That’s Proust, of course, from Swann’s Way. Here at The Ordinary, we’re fascinated by the connection of music, food and memory, as evidenced by the fact that we talk about it all the time. This morning I made my boys “flat” pancakes and fresh strawberries, which is a meal I remember as a special-occasion meal, for birthday breakfast or even a special dinner every once in a while. The smell of them cooking reminds me of that, and hopefully some day it will remind my boys of the mornings we made them. Likewise, I associate many things with many things, musically. Bob Marley’s Who Feels it Knows It reminds me of a long car trip to the midwest when my brother and I were in college. And his Hammer reminds me of the summer I met David, of his small, warmly glowing room with dried daffodils in the window. Lefty Frizzel reminds me of early morning bird watching and Dunkin Donuts, and the Bay City Rollers reminds me of the end of a long car trip back from Upstate New York in the autumn, stir-crazy and happy. Fly Me To The Moon reminds me of my first feature, one of the actresses sang it as we set up a shot. Jimi Hendrix’ Remember reminds me of walking to my film class, and John Lee Hooker’s Send me Your Pillow reminds me of long cold nights alone in my attic room. Belle and Sebastian’s Sleep the Clock Around reminds me of driving my brother to the train station and crying when the bagpipe started because it’s so beautiful. Fight For Your Right reminds me of parties in Highschool, and a manic release of teenage energy. So this week’s interactive playlist is “musical madeleines,” songs that transport you back to a certain place and time. Bonus points if you tell us where and why.
These madeleines were made with a bit of raspberry brandy or framboise. The taste is quite subtle – just a suspicion. You could use cherry brandy or plum brandy, or any flavor that you like. Something clear is probably best, though, so the madeleines don’t take on a funny color.
Here’s the playlist. As ever it’s collabarative, so feel free to add what you like, or leave a comment and I’ll add it for you.
1 cup icing sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T framboise (raspberry brandy)
1 cup flour
1/2 t salt
10 T butter, melted
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
makes 20 madeleines.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Whisk the eggs in a big bowl for a few minutes, till they’re light and frothy and lemon colored. Whisk in the sugar and then the vanilla and brandy. Keep whisking till it’s very light and smooth.
Whisk in the flour and sugar.
Pour the butter in in a thin stream, and whisk or beat until everything is perfectly blended.
Lightly butter your madeleine shells, and put a rounded teaspoon of batter in the center of each.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until they start to get golden on the edges. Remove to a cooling rack.
When the cookies are cool, melt the chocolate chips in a small saucepan over a larger saucepan of boiling water. Stir until perfectly smooth.
Holding the small end of the madeleine (careful, they’re a bit fragile!) dip the non-scalloped side of the cookie into the chocolate, so that it coats it smoothly about 3/4 of the way down.
Leave in a cool place to set.