Monday, December 13, 2010

Chocolate & Zucchini's Canelés


It was love at first bite. Sorry I can't resist a cheesy play on words. Back to the batter at hand (tee hee).

I first made canelés, if you might remember, at Bonnie Gordon's School of Confectionary Arts. I signed up for the two-day course mainly to learn how to make macarons.

And I did, and they were delicious, and I had rave reviews. But. As soon as I had learned how to make the macarons, all I could think about was how delicious these unassuming canelés are.

Sure enough, they are near-impossible to find in Toronto (only at Nadege Patisserie I believe - that's Nah-dej, not Nah-deh-jeh). So I had been craving them ever since.
Even the stash I brought home didn't  last very long because these are best eaten hot, on the same day. You should know however, that the crepe-like batter is forgiving and will stay in the fridge for a few days so that you can make a batch every day over several days.

Canelés, vanilla and rum-based treats, which are more like miniature cakes than cookies, hail from Bordeaux. This recipe comes by way of Clotilde Dusoulier, the French blogger who I have referenced time and time again because her recipes, her writing, and her books are pretty damn near to perfection.

Now, in true French fashion, these confections are made in special cylinder copper molds, but I used silicone ones that I purchased from a chefs' supplier based in New York. It wasn't a frugal investment, I will admit. But it beats the cost of travelling to Paris, right? (I suppose I could also go to Nadege, but that would also eat a large chunk out of my day).

So, if you choose to order the molds to make these yourself, check out the recipe I hyperlinked above, and get right to business.

Substitutions:
None, however, I left the vanilla bean in the batter even though the recipe advises you to take it out. Why not extract as much of the flavour as possible? That's what the pastry chef at Bonnie Gordon advised us to do with the chocolate version of these confections and she was on the ball with all of her instructions.
Also, I had to pull them out of my oven sooner than the recipe called for. It's best to watch these closely or the bottom will burn. You want these almost burnt, but not quite. That's a fine line.

Would I make this again?
Yes, probably next week in fact. I can't get enough of the crispy, caramelized exterior with the moist, cakey interior. It is to die for. Also, I always have the ingredients for this on hand and it's easy to whip up and then leave in the fridge until you have some more time to actually bake them.

My kind of recipe. Also? How many people do you know who have heard of canelés? None right? They are just now making their way over to mainstream North America and I think that has something to do with the molds that people don't want to buy. So get ahead of the curve and make these. Canelés are the new macarons. And you can quote me on that. Don't forget - eat these on the same day.

Grade:
I think it's pretty clear that I am going to give these full marks of five stars out of five. The wow factor is high, even though they are made of a simple vanilla-based batter. Leave it to the French to figure out how to maximize those flavours and make them sing in your mouth with every bite.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Weeee! Where did you buy your moulds?

Brenda said...

Mary, I'm one of those people that have never heard of caneles. I can't even imagine what they taste like, but now I'm intrigued. I want some molds! They're gorgeous, I'm impressed!

Brenda said...

By the way, Nadege is about a 10-15 minute walk from my house and I'm embarrassed to say I've never been in there. I pass it every day on my walk to work too......I need to remedy that and soon!

Mary said...

@ Jenn, I got them at bake deco.com

@ Brenda , you must head over to Nadege and let me know what it's like!

Priscilla said...

Maybe I'm in the tiny small group who has been eating them since I was young. They are one of my very, very favorite treats. My mother was french and so maybe that's why they don't seem unusual. When there are things you've always had, I guess you don't realize everyone else haven't had.
Love your blog, BTW

Mary said...

@ Priscilla, thanks for the kind words. I'm utterly jealous you've been eating these all your life!