Since my son’s successful “baked egg” food challenge last month, we’ve started introducing overcooked eggs into his diet. Along with egg noodles, I’ve been serving him a few homemade baked goods that contain eggs. He’s primarily had Dutch Baby Pancakes, but I’ve also recently started making madeleines.
Madeleines, which you’ve likely eaten before, are small golden cakes that typically have a scalloped shell-like shape (although today, I found round ones at a local bakery). These petite cakes are originally from France, but we see them all over here in French-speaking Switzerland (i.e., “Suisse-Romande”). If you’re craving more information about the history of these delicious cakes, along with a recipe that influenced the one I’ve shown below, check out this 1983 NY Times article.
The first time I baked madeleines with eggs, I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking that calls for 3 eggs and an egg yolk, with a baking time of 10 minutes at 230°C/450°F degrees. While our allergist recommended 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F for whenever we make something with eggs at home, I figured the smaller size of the cookie and the super-high baking temperature would meet this minimum baking standard.
Well, it turns out I was wrong. My son ate the cookies and broke out in almost unnoticeable, but still recognizable red hives around his mouth. Luckily, that was it! I feel absolutely sick this happened, and I’m so relieved (and we’re very lucky) his reaction wasn’t worse. I should have talked to our allergist first to be absolutely sure the recipe I found was OK.
Afterwards, I did check in with our allergist, and she sent me a new madeleine recipe, which calls for only one egg and a much longer baking time. I’ve made them several times now with a few slight revisions. Thankfully, the little guy hasn’t had any reactions, so we’ll be using this recipe again and again.
Why are Baked Eggs Okay?
What happens to a baked egg that makes it safe for my son? Why can’t we just make him scrambled eggs for breakfast like everyone else? I’ve been asking myself these questions a lot lately. Especially since my first attempt at madeleines caused my son to have a very mild allergic reaction. Here’s what I can tell you, based on my limited research:
- Eggs are one of the most common food allergens in infants and children.
- Eggs whites are the problem. The yellow yolk generally doesn’t contain the egg proteins people react to, but it’s impossible to separate the yolk from the egg white without any cross-contamination.
- The majority of egg-allergic kids can tolerate eating a “baked egg.” And, a 2012 study found that introducing baked egg helps children to accelerate their tolerance for regular, uncooked eggs.
- Heating an egg changes its proteins. So, it lessens the egg’s capacity to trigger an allergic reaction. The study mentioned above used homemade baked goods made with 2 eggs baked for 30 minutes at 190°C/375°F.
- Outgrowing an egg allergy can happen. According to FARE, most kids will eventually outgrow an egg allergy.
I don’t know all the science behind what happens to egg proteins, but this information gives us hope for my son and others living with an egg allergy. It hopefully won’t last forever!
Easy Dairy-Free Madeleines
If you would like a dairy-free madeleine recipe, here’s my adaptation of the French version from our allergist (also shown below):
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon peel (optional)
1/4 cup vegetable-based margarine, melted and cooled
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1. Whisk egg, sugar and lemon peel together. Slowly add the melted and cooled margarine until well-blended.
2. Sift flour and baking powder into this mixture. Then, fold in the dry ingredients just until blended.
3. Divide batter among a prepared madeleine mold (makes about 9 cakes). Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 180°C/350°F.
Remove immediately from pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container.
If you can tolerate baked eggs and dairy, here’s the recipe (in French) for madeleines from our Swiss allergist:
50 g de beurre
50 g de sucre
1 petit œuf (50g)
50 g de farine
1 pointe de couteau de poudre à lever
1. Battre en mousse le beurre ramolli et le sucre jusqu’à ce que le mélange blanchisse.
2. Ajouter l’œuf battu et bien mélanger.
3. Ajouter la farine tamisée et la poudre à lever.
4. Mettre dans un petit moule à madeleine, beurré et enfariné.
5. Faire cuire à four préchauffé pendant 30-40 minutes à 180°C.
I need to make some more dairy and almond-free recipes with baked eggs. I’ll likely try chocolate madeleines next, but still need to expand my repertoire. If you have any baked egg recipes to share, please send them my way. Thanks!