Medeleine with a twist.
Kuih Bahulu is a popular cake in Southeast Asia. It’s sometimes called the Asian Madeleine. Here we have a box of Azinum Kuih Bahulu (Azinum is the manufacturer) arranged in a very attractive and Instagram-friendly flower pattern.
I picked a “petal” of the “flower”, closed my eyes and had a bite.
It was 1760 and I’m the dessert chef at the court of King Louis XV of France. It was the king’s birthday and I was ordered to create the best madeleine in the whole of France that would surprise even the king himself.
Baking the best madeleine in France would equate baking the best madeleine in the world! This is the toughest challenge in my career. To make things worse, I have heard that all chefs who failed to meet the king’s expectations have been sent to the guillotine. Oh, and also the tiny problem that it’s my first day at work!
What should I do?
Hmm… I remembered that many years ago, in my visits to Southeast Asia, I had this cake. It looked and tasted a bit like a madeleine. I can make that and maybe add a twist to it. Okay, to work.
The moment has arrived. My madeleine is being served to the king. He looked at it and declared, “These are not madeleines. What are they?”. He looked at his food advisor.
The food advisor took a look, tasted it and said, “Madeleine should have a hard outer crust and soft centre. This has it. They have a shape of a shell. Shell comes in many shapes and sizes, and this looks distantly like a shell. I won’t say this is a madeleine, but I can’t say this is not a madeleine either.”.
“I think you should try it, your majesty”, he continued.
The king looked puzzled. But he decided to follow the advice and put one in his mouth.
“Sacre bleu!”, he cried in a strong French accent.
“This is good. The outer layer is crusty. The inside is soft and spongy. But oh my, what is this twist in the taste? It has a hint of rose syrup. A very nice and pleasing twist.”, the king explained with joy.
The food advisor looked at me and smiled. Phew!
I received this as a gift from a friend who bought it from Muar, Johor, Malaysia.