Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Canelés de Bordeaux

I just had to republish this post, for all those who missed it...

Move over macarons, I predict Canelés de Bordeaux will be the new sexy love of our palates. I ate my first Canelé, many years ago, in their home-town of Bordeaux. Now, every time I return to France I seek out these gorgeous little sweet treats. They are very specialised creations and more difficult to master than macarons, so are rarely seen in New Zealand. But finally some versions are starting to appear on our shores.  

Caneles for sale, Paris
If you like French macarons then you're bound to love canelés, also. These small French delicacies don't look all that exciting but one bite and you'll be smitten. Canelés have a soft and tender buttery, custardy centre and a dark, thick caramelised sugar crust. Always made in distinctive striated cylinder copper moulds, canelés are a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France but can often be found elsewhere, such as in Parisian patisseries, as well.
I’ve owned silicone canelé moulds for a long time and have had okay results but I’ve always read that the traditional copper moulds are the way to go. So, last year when I was in Paris I bought some copper moulds – they really are very pretty, so if I figure that even if I never use them I’ll just love owning them as beautiful kitchen things.
This week I devoted time to experimenting with canelés production. First up you have to realise the prepared batter needs to rest for at least 24 hours – 48 hours is even better – so you must plan ahead to produce canelés. Next, I had to ‘season’ my new copper canelé moulds – they need to be brushed with oil and baked for 20 minutes so that they build up a non-stick surface – rather like seasoning a new crêpe pan, for example.  
attractive copper canneles moulds

So, now my lovely copper moulds are ready and so is my canelé batter. I decide to do a comparison with the silicon moulds – and this is also because I’ve only got 6 copper moulds (they are rather expensive items!)
Made from eggs, sugar, milk, butter and flour and flavoured with rum and vanilla, the crêpe-like batter is baked for up to 2 hours at a high temperature (200°C) to give the canelés a caramelised crust that encases a gooey custard/batter inside. Heaven in a mouthful!
At first the canelés puff up during cooking, later deflating as they set into shape. Here’s a photo of the canelés part way through their cooking time – they take an incredible 2 hours in the oven to build up that wonderful burnt caramel crust which gives them a fantastic flavour.
puffed up batter after 1 hour in the oven

I am filled with anticipation as I keep an eye on my baking. I’ve waited 48 hours for my batter to rest and then 2 hours for the canelés to cook. Waiting, waiting, waiting... the sweet-caramel-vanilla perfume filling my kitchen is compelling. I can hardly wait any longer to taste these little beauties. The little morsels baked in the silicone pan pop out of the moulds easily but are a tiny bit dry in the middle. But alas, the bigger versions stick to the copper pans, so while they don’t look as smooth as they should they still taste pretty good.
cute little mini caneles

I’m sure the copper pans will build up a better non-stick surface with further use. And next time I’m going to get hold of some beeswax (available from health food stores) because traditionally the pans should be brushed with what is called 'white oil' - a mixture of beeswax and oil. I skipped this step (thinking it couldn’t be all that important) but perhaps it’s the all important way to get the best possible crust on canelés. I’m off to buy beeswax now, so I’ll report back after my next attempt. But just before I pop to the store, I can’t resist another bite...
One bite and you'll be smitten - the contrast of textures is divine!

For the recipe, click on 'my recipes' page of this blog.

12 comments:

  1. Hi Julie. I adore these and am dying to have a go however I'm having great trouble finding the moulds. Any suggestions for where I could look? Thanks! Alice

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  2. Hi Alice - I have to admit I bought my copper moulds in Paris - I'd been desperate for some for years and had to resort to this - they are very heavy to carry but made a lovely travel memento though! Copper moulds are expensive, too, unfortunately, but I figure they're good value as they will last a lifetime. In NZ I've only seen silicone moulds, and these are ok to use, too. Try asking any good kitchenware specialty shop - they may even be able to order some in for you from overseas.

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  3. PS to Alice... you'll see in my photos that the mini canneles I made were baked in silicone moulds and they turned out fine. Good luck in your search - and if I see some around I will let you know. Cheers, Julie

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  4. I have to agree with you Julie, I too think canneles are fast becoming the next big thing! There's a guy at our local farmers markets here in Perth who makes and sells them. I'm yet to try one, but they look so beautiful.

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    1. Oh la la, you MUST buy one next time you see them at your local farmers market in Perth, Emma, and let me know what you think of them.

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  5. Hi Julie. You're such an inspiration for a beginner blogger and first-time cookbook author that I have nominated you for an award - check it out here: http://www.aliceinbakingland.com/awards-and-other-lazy-sunday-afternoon-doings/ Hopefully it'll gain you a few new readers who didn't realise you have such a wonderful blog xAlice

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    1. Hi Alice - so sorry for not replying earlier but I've only just found your comment (I'm still learning to navigate this page :-) Thank you so much for nominating me for this award - that's incredibly sweet of you and I really appreciate it. Looking forward to meeting you soon in Welly at NZFB conference!

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  6. Right, that's what I am making this weekend! I have the silicone moulds but maybe if I get hooked i will get some copper ones next time I'm in France.

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    1. Have you had a go at making canele yet??? Would love to know your thoughts, if you have.

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    2. Oops, just noticed the date of your post... of course you haven't had time to make canele yet. Silly me! Let me know when you do though, as I'd be interested to hear how you find the process and results.

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  7. I had my first canele at the City Market in Wellington, and have to go back for one every time I visit Wellington. Wonderful to find your post though, as I have been wondering how to make them. Can't wait to get my hands on some moulds and try them - guess it will have to be silicon, as I don't see any trips to France in my near future.

    It was so lovely to meet you at food bloggers conference last weekend - can't wait for next year now. Hope you're having a wonderful holiday in Bora Bora.

    Sue :-)

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    1. Hi Sue - gosh, I'm still not very good at this blogging business, as I've only just found your comment - sorry for my late reply. It was lovely to meet you at the NZFBA conference too! I can't wait for next year's conference, as well. Bora Bora was wonderful, thanks. I hope all's well with you. Best wishes, Julie :-)

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