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Classic bites at Oui Madeleine

Patissier zooms in on beloved French tea cake

Oui Madeleine, a small shop that soft opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this August, solely specializes in the beloved French tea cake. (oui__madeleine)
Oui Madeleine, a small shop that soft opened in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong this August, solely specializes in the beloved French tea cake. (oui__madeleine)

Sequestered in Seoul’s Cheongdam-dong, Oui Madeleine stays true to its name.

There is only one item on the menu –- the shell-shaped madeleine.

Asked why she specializes solely in these sponge cakes, owner-patissier Ryu Hye-sun answered, “While I love to explore that which is new, I have a penchant for the basics and classics and that is reflected in my decision to focus on the madeleine.”

Before Ryu soft opened Oui Madeleine on Aug. 7, she studied pastries at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, completing her studies in 2019.

“When one is admitted to the institute, one learns to make madeleines when studying the basics. And I have fond memories of baking madeleines often for my friends when I started studying pastries,” said Ryu, 32, explaining her personal attachment to this classic tea cake in an e-mail interview.

At Oui Madeleine, Ryu focuses on crafting madeleines that are “soft” and “moist” while also trying to reduce the amount of butter used in the batter.

“I researched ways to make tasty madeleines with less butter,” Ryu elaborated. “While more butter enhances the flavor of the cake, it could also make it heavier.”

Each madeleine -- Ryu sells around six variations at the moment -- fits into the palm of one’s hand and boasts a lovely puffed up center.

Flavors like lemon, vanilla and chocolate are incredibly moist and airy throughout, holding true to their sponge cake roots.

Ryu explained how she ensures her madeleines are airy enough after baking by cutting one in half each time to check if the desired texture has been achieved.

Her dedication shows. 
Oui Madeleine’s vanilla madeleine is incredibly bouffant, giving away with a slight bounce under the pressure of one’s teeth (oui__madeleine)
Oui Madeleine’s vanilla madeleine is incredibly bouffant, giving away with a slight bounce under the pressure of one’s teeth (oui__madeleine)

Ryu’s vanilla madeleine is incredibly bouffant, giving way with a slight bounce under the pressure of one’s teeth.

Ryu says she uses Madgascar Bourbon vanilla for this variation.

The vanilla is faint, a light aroma to what is essentially a textural interplay of butter, flour, egg, sugar and air.

Her chocolate madeleine is supremely moist with shards of chocolate nestled inside and sports a deep, not too sweet, slightly bitter cacao-centric flavor.

Then there is her lemon madeleine with its sweet, tart glaze and pillowy center, the kind of morsel one could eat several of in one sitting.

The key to Ryu’s addictive lemon madeleines seems to lie in the glaze, which Ryu crafts from lemon juice, lemon zest and powdered sugar.

“I add in more lemon juice than powdered sugar when I make the glaze so it is thin in consistency,” Ryu revealed. “This is because I wanted to emphasize the refreshing aroma of the fresh lemon juice rather than the sweetness of the sugar.”

To achieve her ideal lemon madeleine, Ryu coats each piece with lemon glaze twice and also sprinkles them with lime zest.

Other flavors include Ispahan, fig and honey and a cute honey bear madeleine.

Ryu revealed plans to continue to change up her line-up of madeleines seasonally.

At the moment, sweet fiends can get madeleines to go from Oui Madeleine. Ryu said she is considering delivery and online sales. 

Oui Madeleine patissier Ryu says her fondness for the basics and classics influenced her decision to zoom in on madeleines (oui__madeleine)
Oui Madeleine patissier Ryu says her fondness for the basics and classics influenced her decision to zoom in on madeleines (oui__madeleine)

Oui Madeleine

1F, 122-35 Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
Open weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., closed Sundays
(010) 2609-6479
Madeleines cost 2,500 won to 3,700 won each

By Jean Oh (oh_jean@heraldcorp.com)
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