One of the many highlights of my visit was starting each day with a sweet treat from a Boulangerie. Even though canéles hail from Bordeaux they were everywhere in Paris alongside eclairs, palmiers, macarons, flans and many other delectable treats.
For those that haven’t tried canéles, they are mouth wateringly delicious, custardy, doughy treats with a caramelised crust on the outside. Hmmmm, perfect with coffee, or anytime really.
You will need a special mold, which you can get from The Essential Ingredient or specialty baking stores. I used a silicon mold with great results, but perfectionists argue that the expensive individual copper molds are the only way to go to get the crunchy crust on the outside.
You need to start the batter a day ahead so it has time to rest but they are certainly not difficult to make. I used Clotilde’s recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini and I used cognac instead of rum as I prefer the taste (controversial).
Start this recipe a day ahead.
2 cups full fat milk
2 tbs lightly salted butter, diced
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup (minus 2 tbs) sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cognac (good quality brandy)
Combine the milk, butter and vanilla (seeds and pods) in a medium saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.
When the milk starts to simmer, remove from the heat and set aside. Discard the vanilla beans.
Pour the eggs into the flour mixture at once and without stirring, pur in the milk mixture. Stir well until combined. Add the cognac and stir. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
Pre heat the oven to 250C, no need to butter the moulds if using silicon but do so if you are using the copper moulds.
Remove the batter from the fridge, don’t be concerned if it has seperated a little bit, just give it a stir and it will good to go. Carefully pour the mixture into the molds, filling them almost to the top. Put them in the oven to bake for 20 minutes and then, without opening the door, lower the oven temperature to 200C and bake for another 30 – 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them as you want the bottoms to be deep dark caramel but not burnt. You can cover them with baking paper, during the cooking process if you feel they are darkening too fast.
Allow the canéles to cool for 10 minutes in the mold and then turn out on to a wire rack. Let them cool completely before eating, if you can wait that long.