Monday, April 2, 2012

Craving Something Sweet

I was in the mood for something sweet, but it had to be something new and different. I didn’t have too much time so I searched the world wide web and found myself deep into the world of French pastries. I’d love to make croissant, but they’re so time consuming and if they’re not eaten within hours of baking, they begin to taste stale. There were Éclairs, Beignets and Gourgere – yum, but again, time consuming. I’d love to spend hours in the kitchen making macarons in pastel colours of pale yellow, green, pink and blue, but again, not enough time. I could make the crunchy and caramelized Palmier, I think they’d be the quickest and easiest with some frozen puff pastry.

I like searching for new recipes on It’s a site that is all about pictures and that’s where I discovered French cannelé.

A cannelé a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France. I saw them in many Parisian patisseries while there last year. Some Parisians call them “portable crème brulee” because they have a soft and tender custard centre, a dark, thick caramelized, crunchy crust and you can eat them with your hands. The recipe reads very similar to a custard batter, except for the rum. It bakes and bubbles for over an hour in a special mold, giving it the caramelized crust. The recipe was simple enough, just mix, refrigerate and bake.

On, the recipes are hopefully as close as the link on the bottom of the picture and sure enough it was a link to the recipe. It sounded authentic right down to the use of beeswax. Apparently you are advised to mix some melted butter with shaved beeswax and coat the cannelé molds with this mixture so the batter doesn’t stick to the molds. I got a note from Patricia Shea of Belfast, Maine who had made them and warns against the use of beeswax. It worked well in the mold but when she ate her cannelé, the beeswax got stuck in her teeth. Beeswax was used decades ago to keep baking from sticking, but today we have many other options. Thanks for the heads up Patricia.

I don’t have cannelé molds so I used a special deep narrow muffin tin and it worked just fine. While mine might not have the beautiful shape that traditional cannelé have, the flavours are supurb! Luscious, creamy and rich in vanilla flavours on the inside with a crunchy caramel crunchy bottom, the sides are also caramelized but they’re a bit softer giving the illusion that they’re drizzled in caramel – oh yum!

Instead of rum I used icewine so there was an elegant flavour that fit beautifully with the textures and caramel. I think I’ll use rum next time just to taste the difference. French cannelé are wickedly delicious and sinfully good and they’re as easy as whipping up a liquidy batter and baking. Click here for the recipe

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