Pronunciation: [MAD-l-ihn; mad-LEHN]

Exalted by Proust in his Remembrance of Things Past, the madeleine is a small, buttery sponge cake that's eaten as a cookie, often dipped in coffee or tea. These feather-light cakes are baked in a special madeleine pan (or plaque), which has 12 indentations that resemble an elongated scallop shell. Madeleines are best eaten fresh from the oven, while the inside is moist and warm and the exterior exquisitely crisp.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.