15 May 2010

Canelés. Like straight from Bordeaux.

Canelés are to Bordeaux what macarons are to Paris. You will find them in every café and in some very expensive confiseries in the town center - selling not much else. Except those original copper molds for ridiculous prices. I tried one canelé in a café after a shopping tour. As I was in desperate need of caffeine to survive the 2-hour drive back, I ordered a double espresso and one of those rather boring looking canelés. But I was in for a surprise: the crust was actually so caramelized that it cracked and crunched when I took a bite. And the center was soft, almost pudding-like and tasted deliciously of eggs and rum.

It was totally clear to me that I had to make those at home and I was more than happy when I found a silicon mold for making 10 canelés in the supermarket - for the price of a copper mold for making 1 canelé. Don't be afraid, it's not a unitasker: you can also make very cute muffins and cupcakes with it.

Be aware that the batter needs to rest for at least 24 hours before baking - apart form that, they're ridiculously easy to make. And if you don't have a canelé mold, just go ahead and use your muffin tin or simple espresso cups. They won't look original, but you're going for the taste, right?

makes 10, adapted from Chocolate&Zucchini

50 g / 3/8 cup / 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
90 g / 1/2 cup sugar
250 ml / 1 cup milk
15 g / 1 tablespoon butter
1/2 vanilla pod
2 small eggs (or 1 large egg plus 1 yolk)
40 ml / 3 tablespoons good-quality rum (eg Negrita)

Grab a mixing bowl - or even better, a bowl with a beak for pouring - and mix flour and sugar in there.
In a small pot, heat up milk, butter and vanilla and let it simmer for a minute, then remove the vanilla pod.

Crack open the eggs and pour them on the flour mixture, start whisking with a fork or a wire whisk, while slowly pouring in the hot milk. That should only take a minute and there should be no lumps left. It will look, feel and taste like a thin pancake batter.

Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and mix them into the dough - and also mix in the rum. Then put it in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Right, you'll have to wait a whole day! If you skip this, you would be making popovers, not canelés.

Oh, and don't throw the empty vanilla pod away - there's still a lot of flavor inside! Just wash away the milk, let it dry and put it into a little jar with sugar and a tight lid. Let that sit for a couple of weeks and you'll have vanilla sugar.

The next day, preheat your oven to 250°C / 480°F and butter the molds very thoroughly - it doesn't matter if it's a real canelé mold or a simple muffin tin. It's the taste that matters.

Pour in the batter - that's where the bowl with a beak comes in handy - and put it into the oven. Reduce the heat to 200°C / 400°F after 15 minutes and continue baking for another 45 minutes. That's an hour in total. They're ready when the bottoms are dark brown, but not burned.

Let them cool and eat them alongside a strong espresso. Imagine you're sitting in a French street café in the sunshine and it will feel like a little vacation.


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