Madeleines are hard to resist. These shell-shaped cakey cookies are best enjoyed with a cup of tea, as Marcel Proust did, and if possible, in Paris. The next best thing is baking them yourself and trying not to eat them all before your husband comes home. Although traditionalists may cringe, I used my silicone molds with no complaints. My only disappointment was that I could not achieve the distinctive hump which protrudes from the non-shell madeleine underside. In my post-baking research, I discovered that Alain Ducasse bakes his madeleines first at 410 degrees Fahrenheit until the edges have risen but the centre remains sunken, at which time the oven is shut off as the hump forms over 2-3 minutes. The oven is then reset to 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the madeleines are done. Let the experimentation begin.
Meanwhile, September is frighteningly close and will mark one year since I officially entered the pastry domain. Over the past year, I have learned the meaning of wanting to go to work in the morning and loving what I do. It was always this elusive feeling which I never understood but intensely craved. I have also slowly learned not to be defined by my work, which was a trap I fell into many years ago. Although I still have mild intermittent angst surrounding my decision to leave ophthalmology (especially when my medical and pastry worlds collide), there is no question that I am a more well-adjusted person today than I have ever been.