Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Spoon madeleines and an adventure

Continuing my Donna Hay love fest, I’ve been pouring through recent magazines, flagging recipes I want to try, and cooking them when I can. Recently, the magazine featured spoon-sized desserts – a very sweet (pun intended) set of recipes oriented around baking desserts in different types of spoons. There were several I was interested in trying, among them a very simple recipe for madeleines that can be baked in teaspoons or tablespoons. The cake recipe contains only a few ingredients and is quickly whipped up. The challenge for me was finding appropriate spoons. My modern, sleek stainless steel spoons did not seem worthy of such a pretty dessert and I don’t own silver flatware. This led to my adventure – a trip to a prop rental company.

Coincidentally, I live in an area of New York City that is full of photography, theatre and film-related businesses. There are several prop rental companies in the neighborhood, including Prop Haus, a store without a street front that operates largely on word of mouth (no website and hardy any detailed information to be found without visiting). They have two floors, a complete floor of kitchenware and tabletop items and another full of furniture, and they rent items for photo shoots and movies. To my delight, stacked on high shelves, row after row, were any type, style and color of plate, silverware, table linens, glassware, and cookware I could possibly imagine. There was a chest of drawers filled with silverware, antique and new, classified by type, available for the picking. I had a hard time walking out without more items. The price, unfortunately, was a deterrent for the hobbyist like me – antique silver aside, given the prices and the one week rental period, it is more cost-effective to continue to buy props here and there as I need them. For this project, however, I had a wonderful time combing through silverware to find the perfect mismatched assortment of tarnished antique spoons, and of course, I couldn’t help but check out everything else as well! It is truly heaven for the design, photography or food enthusiast.

I had a nice experience that came from a kitchen quest earlier this week. I have been looking for a prettier and less expected alternative to conventional ramekins that would make a prettier presentation at the table and think I’ve finally found my answer in Mud Australia baby noodle bowls. I searched for the color and quantity I wanted online and happened to call a store in Maryland that carries the brand. After giving my order information, the store owner realized we had gone to high school together. She has beautiful store as a second career after being a lawyer. It’s always wonderful to rediscover people, and to find people who are following their passion – very encouraging for someone like me who is just starting her own business. To check the store out, click here.

Chocolate spoon madeleines (from Donna Hay)

Makes approximately 15 tablespoons or 30 teaspoons depending on the size of your spoons (I only got 10 out of the largish tablespoons I used)

1 egg
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
30g (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 355°F. Place eggs and caster sugar in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Fold through the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and butter. Place ~30 greased teaspoons or ~15 greased tablespoons around the edge of a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the mixture into the spoons until 2/3 full. Bake the teaspoons for 5 mintues or the tablespoons for 8 minutes or until madeleines are cooked. Dust with confectioner's sugar to serve.


Anonymous said...

This is funny, and a nice coincidence indeed. Also funny as I had checked that website before after contacting Mud in Australia to ask them where to find sellers in the US (after which they sent me the whole list.) But nobody does it in New England.

What Donna Hay issue was this one? I have so many piled up that I have never used. I think your idea to go b by theme is great!

Anonymous said...

Your madeleines look amazing. I really got a chuckle about how you found the rental source and your former classmate. Thanks for sending.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to try this with my boys. But, will it hurt my stainless or formal silverware? That's my worry. Let me know if you saw any change in the spoons you used after putting them in the oven. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of the desserts in a spoon. very clever.
You need to do more with the table decorations. Birds, clowns,etc.
You should go to the Gift Show in New York. They have great things

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Enjoyed the Mud and Vivi sites. The desserts looked beautiful and delicious. If you decide on particular props that you want to accumulate, you might put the word out so that if we come across a spoon or other item you are collecting we can pick it up on our travels or at the random local market. The limit could be one per person so you don't get overwhelmed. Just a thought. I am also interested in whether the oven hurts the silverware.

Sabra said...

I found that people don't like to hold inventory because they are expensive and most places that list them special order them (long wait). Not sure if you located yours yet (and knowing you, you probably want a color!) but I know Vivi has 2 left in white, and Global Table in NY has a couple in colors - forget which - think I saw green . . .
The spoons were in DH 33, p. 137 (the issue with the parsnip soup on a black cover)

Larry: thanks for your comment - I appreciate your weekly visit!

Lisa: I promise they won't damage your spoons (I saw absolutely no marks). But if you are really worried, you can also buy ceramic Asian soup spoons (make sure they are ceramic, not plastic) for a few dollars each and use those (call me if you don't know what I mean). If you do use your spoons, a word of warning for you and my little cousins - they really conduct heat and are very hot right out of the oven. Even though I knew I had just taken them out somehow my brain refused to believe a silver spoon handle would be hot and I burned a finger transferring one to a rack to cool - not fun - so use hot mits and give them a few minutes to cool! They'd be great with ice cream . . .

Dad: Huh? Are we related? :)

Amy: Wow! Great idea - that's very sweet! :) See above for silverware info

Deborah said...

I love this idea. What a great idea for a dinner party.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning. My kids & I always want to dig right in and we would have certainly touched the metal spoon handle before it was cooled down! I think I have some of the asian soup spoons around here somewhere. I'll let you know how it goes.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

These look beautiful girl :)
And OMG what a beautiful store. I'd be stuck in there for hours before someone would have to kick me out !

Madame K said...

Looks like you hit the jackpot - a friend of mine discovered yesterday that after her kitchen renovation, all of her spoons are missing!
Too bad she's not in NYC

I just found your blog, and I like it...I'll be back.

Love DH, too.

Sabra said...

Deborah / Kate (do you prefer Kate or Kajal?) thanks for visiting, I appreciate it!

Karen: that's so horrible!!!! Thanks for leaving a comment - hope to hear from you again!


Patricia Scarpin said...

I have that magazine and all I can say is that your madeleines look absolutely perfect!

Anonymous said...

I have recently discovered Donna Hay's magazine (after a trip to Australia) and I really love her recipes.
I will defintely try this these spooned madeleines, they look amazing.


Anonymous said...

This makes me wish I had a career prop shopping. The photos are fabulous, like a virtual visit. Let me know what vintage kitchen stuff is top on your list, I often tag sale on Long Island's North Fork.
Recipe looks like a win.

Katy said...

where is the prop store you used? i never thought to do that, but what a cool idea. did you have trouble washing the spoons after making this recipe? they look amazing, btw!

Sabra said...

Thanks so much Patricia, Jenn.
Al: I'll definitely take you up on that! : )
Katy: I went to Prop Haus, which is on 25th street - there are a number of others as well, if you google prop rental nyc, you will see. The spoons are greased so the madeleines slide off - there's some cake residue that remains but it comes of pretty easily with a Dobie or sponge.

Graeme said...

Look at all that stuff!

Despite how desparate I am to visit NY, I think I'd go slowly mad at the amount of stuff to do and see.

Helene said...

Oh well, you know what I am going to say : "Madeleines...Yippeee!!" Too funny that there are several of us on the madeleines kick!! Love the spoons...brilliant idea!

Sabra said...

Hi Graeme - so nice to see you here!

Thanks Tartelette - now I just have to actually OWN some pretty spoons!

Shari said...

I've been enjoying reading through your older posts! And I'm so envious of your geographic proximity to Prop Haus! Looks like a FUN place to poke around. Those madeleines look so perfect too. I remember seeing this link earlier when Tuesdays with Dorie made Madeleines! Inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Okie so I am EXTREMELY jealous of the fact that you have access to shop at such an incredible shop in NY! Just starring at those pictures you took has already made me feel like I need to Hunt for a shop like this in Dallas!

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Post a Comment

Thank you for submitting a comment. I love, love reading your comments - they motivate and inspire me. Typically I try to come back and respond to your comment. Forgive me if occasionally I don't. Thanks for dropping by! (p.s. please don't leave marketing messages here)