Canelés — I Do Like that Sparkle in Your Eyes

Do you know canelé [kan.le], the petite pastry from Bordeaux that is all the rage in France? They say its recipe was created in a convent several centuries ago. I think those nuns did a really neat job. With a vanilla and rum-flavored custard heart and a mahogany-colored caramelized crust canelé is absolutely precious.

The thing I love about canelés, apart from how delicious they taste and how pretty they look? The delighted expression of guests when I serve them or bring them to a party. Both those who know and those who don’t know canelés are excited and eager to taste them again and again. It is a real treat to give pleasure with the food you make, especially, for me, if that food is a typically French delicacy. So I am really glad canelés feature in my baking répertoire.

Are you ready to become canelé proficient? My recipe is here. A few tips to make your foray into French pastry a full-blown success. First invest in metallic molds. In my experience, silicon does not do the trick with these babies. Go with individual copper molds if you are a (rich) purist. I am happy with these non-stick carbon steel pans. The only thing is, never believe a canelé mold or pan is non-stick. It needs to be greased, preferably with a (butter or coconut oil) spray, as brushing does not always give the best result.

Now pour the batter up to ⅔ of each mold and bake. Allow for one or two trials to fine-tune baking times and temperatures with your own oven. Don’t worry, your first canelés may not look perfect but they will be pretty good in any event. Last piece of advice: make plenty. Freshly baked canelés keep two days at room temperature or in the fridge but they can be frozen up to three months. Pop frozen canelés in a hot oven (190ºC/370ºF) for five minutes and they will be as good as fresh.

Go ahead, let your inner pastry chef out. And let me know if you need a taster…

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