I first made a Christophe Felder recipe for cannelés back in late winter/early spring of 2013 in my pastry studio at Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket RI. While the batter is trés simple I soon learned these delectable treats required baking in a hot oven (450-500º) for a good hour (or more!) Since I couldn't justify dedicating the oven to one thing for that long, I didn't bake them on a regular basis. But man are they good!
We're talking one tasty little tidbit. With a custard like interior and darkly caramelized exterior they are a true taste and mouth-feel experience.
Also known as canelé de Bordeaux these babies are well known and very popular, not only in and around Bordeaux, but in many parts of France. For years they have been baked traditionally in copper molds coated with beeswax, but, now that silicone molds are so prevalent, there's much less muss and fuss involved, especially for the home baker.
One of the big producers in France is Baillardran. They have a shop in Paris, and when Steve and I were there in May, 2013 (soon after I had first made cannelés) we felt we HAD to try them.
|yup - nicely caramelized|
|custardy pockets are de rigueur as I understand|
Sad to say, we found them rather dry and unappealing, not like the delicious, custardy treats we had sampled at The French Tarte.
At any rate, fast forward 2 years to now. Inspired by Dorie Greenspan's "Baking Chez Moi" it seemed only natural to try out her recipe for cannelés.
The batter preparation is straightforward and includes milk, sugar, butter, egg, flour, vanilla and usually rum. Not being a rum fan, I substituted hazelnut liqueur. Part of the planning involves making the batter at least a day before baking since it requires a good 12 hour (or more) rest in the fridge.
Here we go. Bring 480 ml (2 cups milk), 150 gm (3/4 cup) sugar and 28 gm (2 TBSP) butter to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool 10-15 minutes.
In a separate bowl sift 136 gm (1 cup) flour plus 100 gm (1/2 cup) sugar together.
Whisk 2 large eggs and 1 yolk in another bowl, then slowly add the warm milk mixture while whisking. Then whisk in the flour/sugar mixture, beating vigorously as needed to blend everything.
|ready to strain|
Strain it into a clean bowl or pouring container and whisk in 2.5 TBSP rum (or liqueur of choice) and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.
|ready to cover and pop into the fridge|
Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (FYI - you can keep it in the fridge for several days).
On baking day brush the cannelé molds with melted butter and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes while heating the oven to 450º.
|getting ready to butter the molds|
When ready, take the batter out of the fridge and whisk it up, since the ingredients have a tendency to separate during their chilling time. Fill each mold about 3/4 full.
|ready for the oven|
Bake at 450º for 30 minutes then lower the temp to 400º and bake another 30 minutes. In my case I took Dorie's advice and removed one of the cannelé from the mold with a bamboo skewer so I could check the progress at about 40 minutes.
|after a 40 minute bake|
I kept the remainder of the batch in the oven for another 10 minutes (total 50 minutes) and felt the browning was just right.
|just out of the oven (the empty spot is the for the one I removed early)|
Once out of the oven let them cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning them out of the molds.
|not bad, eh?|
Upon cutting one open the interior had the same custardy pockets as the one I had taken out of the oven ten minutes earlier.
So could I reduce the oven time in the future? With these petite molds I say "yes"! However, based on my previous experience a couple of years ago when I used a slightly larger mold, the cannelés required a full hour (if not more) in the oven. Just remember that baking times vary depending on the size of the goods.
The moral of the story? Pay attention to what's going on in your oven.
A quick note about the taste - firm and chewy on the outside yet with a moist and custardy interior. In a word - delicious!
Steve took a bunch of these to work, later reporting that they were gone in 5 minutes and were enjoyed by all!
Yes, I would make these again (and again and again and again)!!