I don’t know exactly when and where I actually first saw a canelé, or even if I ate one before, but when a French guy set up a stand at our local growers’ market earlier this year to sell some along with his macarons, I was struck by a sense of familiarity and I knew I had to have some. Once I bit past the crunchy, buttery exterior and into the soft, squishy, almost custard-like interior, I was in love.
Sadly the French dude didn’t always make canelés so in order to get a regular fix of these cuties, I figured I’d have to learn how to make them. Initial research into canelé making suggested that I would need to invest in some copper moulds. On discovering the cost of copper canelé moulds, I decided to give the silicone ones a go first. A couple of weeks later, I received my silicon canelé mould (I bought from this eBay seller) and I got on with the job.
I found a very good recipe for canelés at Chocolate & Zucchini which was easy to follow. I have since found other recipes that use beeswax to keep the canelés batter from sticking to copper moulds but if you’re using silicon moulds, this isn’t necessary.
I knew that the best mixture required some time (as many days as you can wait, in fact!) so I gave myself a couple of days before baking to prepare. Every time I opened the fridge, I got an intoxicating dose of rum and vanilla. I was really looking forward to firing the oven up.
I was surprised that the canelés mixture rose a fair bit so I made a mental note to only fill the mould about half way up next time. Midway through baking, you can really smell the rum and vanilla. Gorgeous!
Friends of mine were able to get some copper moulds during their holiday in France. I have to admit that the copper, being an excellent conductor of heat, produces canelés with an even dark and crunchy coating but they do require a great deal of butter to keep from sticking. I may look into the beeswax method next time but otherwise, the silicon moulds are pretty good and the canelés still have an amazing flavour and texture.
Canelés (makes about 20 small canelés)
1 cups milk
15 g semi-salted butter, diced
1/2 vanilla pod, split, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
25 g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
90 g sugar
2 small eggs
40 ml good-quality rum (I used Bundaberg :) )
To make: Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in small saucepan, and bring to a simmer. In the meantime, combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a medium mixing-bowl. Break the eggs in another, smaller bowl, and beat gently. When the milk mixture starts to simmer, remove from heat, fish out the vanilla pod if using, and set it aside.
Pour the eggs all at once into the flour mixture (don’t stir yet), pour in the milk mixture, and stir until well combined. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod with the dull side of a knife blade, and return the seeds and pod to the mixture. Add the rum and stir. Let cool to room temperature on the counter, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 250° C. Remove the batter from the fridge: it will have separated a bit, so stir until well blended again. Pour into the prepared molds, filling them just over half way. Put into the oven to bake for 12 minutes, then (without opening the oven door) lower the heat to 200° C (400° F) and bake for another 20 minutes, depending on your oven and how you like your canelés. The canelés are ready when the bottoms are a very dark brown, but not burnt.
Allow canelés to cool in silicon mould for 5 minutes then pop out of mould and let cool on a rack. They are meant to be eaten cooled but good luck trying not to eat them all beforehand!