Madeleine: origins and curiosities

Butter, flour, eggs and sugar, these are the simple ingredients to create one of the most delicious cookies ever, soft and tasty known throughout the world, or the madeleine.

This shell-shaped sweet is practically irresistible, difficult to eat only one. Oh yes because in the case of madeleine one pulls the other and this because in addition to being very tasty, are also small in size. Perfect as a dessert to be eaten for breakfast but also during an afternoon break, to be enjoyed in front of a steaming cup of coffee o tea, madeleines are traditional sweets that maintain an unaltered taste over time.

Controversial origins

As often happens for pastry, the origins of certain dishes are not so certain. Regarding the history of the creation of madeleine, there are at least two versions on their origin.

The first is related to the Christian religion, this sweet fact according to this version was made in honor of Mary Magdalene, the first evangelist of France, hence the name derives madeleine and especially from the religious influence would derive its shell shape as the shell has always been the symbol of pilgrims.

Another more profane version, instead would attribute the birth of this cake always in France, but this time in 1700 by Madeleine Paulmier, pastry chef employed by the Duke of Leszczyński, as well as father-in-law of Louis XV. Legend has it that both the king and his wife, after tasting these sweets, fell in love so much that they baptized them with the name of their creator and took them to the court of Versailles.


Everyone loves madeleine. One of the most tangible testimonies of the unmistakable goodness of this cake can even be found in a work by the famous French writer Marcel Proust, who in the first volume of “The search for lost time” chooses them as a spark able to bring out a sea ”‹”‹of ”‹”‹memories.

In fact, madeleine, like many pastries prepared in the past and that maintain a traditional recipe, have the ability to awaken in those who taste them, perhaps after a long time, old childhood memories, sometimes of people who prepared them, that we loved and that maybe today they are not there anymore.

The short pastry perhaps unwittingly, or perhaps not, manages to have a very special role to bring out sweet memories.