While the macaroon may reign supreme as the treat of choice by many a Parisian, head to the south-west and the colourful, candy biscuits are shadowed by their frilled, fluted counter-parts - the canelé. Encasing a vanilla and rum flavoured soft, doughy centre in a caramelised, distinctive shell, the canelé (also spelt cannelé) was created to feed the downtrodden of the city by an order of nuns in the sixteenth century from left over flour stored in trading ships docked the port of Bordeaux. Its popularity has stood the test of time and now the little, lumpy treats can be seen on patisserie counters all over France.
Adapted from a very awesomely 80s-styled postcard from 'Cart'image'.
Makes 10 medium canelés
**Please note, this recipe requires overnight refrigeration and baking time of one hour or more depending on the level of "burntness". It also requires the use of a special canelé mould found in most baking stores in France (specialty stores or online elsewhere). The individual copper and aluminum ones, available for purchase via the Baillardran site, are best however for this recipe I did use a silicon 8-mould sheet.
(French terms of ingredients are provided in brackets for those on this side of the world to more easily locate them in the supermarket).
+ 500ml full cream milk (lait entier)
+ 230g sugar (sucre)
+ 150g flour (farine)
+ 50g butter (beurre doux) + a little more for greasing
+ 1 vanilla pod (gousse de vanille)
+ 2 tbsp brown rum (rhum brun)
+ 2 egg yolks (jaunes d'ouefs)
Prepare the mix
On low heat melt the butter. Once the butter is liquid pour in the milk and bring to the boil. At the moment of boiling take it of the heat and pour into a very large bowl. In a small, separate bowl beat together the egg yolks. Drizzle the egg yolks into the hot milk while whisking continuously to combine. Leave aside to cool.
Once the milk mix is close to room temperature, in another bowl combine the flour, sugar and rum well so there are little to no lumps. Slowly dust this mixture into the milk, stirring all the time to prevent lumps forming. To smooth out any that may have formed scoop them out with your whisk or a fork and squash on the side of the bowl with the back of a spoon and mix back into the liquid. Take the vanilla pod and make an incision down its length. Using the tip of your knife carefully remove the vanilla seeds and put in the mix, rubbing lumps of seeds with your fingers in the mixture to properly separate them. Once the majority of the seeds are out, pop in the vanilla pod, cling wrap the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the mixture out of the fridge, remove the vanilla pod using a fork and leave out to bring to room temperature. Butter each mould. Whisk the mixture to stir up any sedimentary clumps and pour into each mould, leaving a little space at the top.
Should you wish your canelés "well done" - burnt outside and bread-like in the middle, bake for one hour and 20 minutes. If you'd like them a little under done - caramelised on the outside (as in the pictures) and custard-like inside, bake for one hour.
When finished baking, up turn the moulds and tip the canelés onto a tray to cool to room temperature - this is important, canelés are not traditionally eaten warm and the cooling process helps harden the crust.