Tonight, I had my first taste of Cannelés de Bordeaux. I have lived in France for two years, and visited there several times since. I visited Bordeaux for the 1986 Jumping de Bordeaux with a friend. But I did not try the cannelés – they did not have the internet back then, or I might have known!
Here is a description and recipe from The Food Network:
These extraordinary little confections are a specialty of Bordeaux, where nuns were said to have created them more than 200 years ago using the flour they salvaged from the holds of sailing ships anchored in the Port de la Lune. I like to call them “portable creme brulee” because they contrast a crunchy caramelized exterior with a moist, custardy center. This recipe is a bit particular. You really need authentic copper cannele molds and you really do need to coat them with beeswax (which you can find at some health-food store and farmer’s markets). The wax makes the unmolding easier, and – most important ? gives the canneles their distinctive, crunchy crust. Make sure you let the batter rest for the full twelve hours. The best way to eat these is with a cup of strong coffee. You can also serve them as a dessert, cut in half and drizzled with caramel sauce.
3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
7 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pastry flour
1 extra-large egg yolk
2 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 ounces beeswax, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean, and its scrapings. Bring the milk to the scalding point over medium high heat, then remove the pan from the heat and add the 3 tablespoons of butter. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, eggs and rum. Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar and flour mixture, then whisk in the lukewarm milk mixture. Strain into a container; cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
To prepare molds for baking, melt the beeswax in a saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining 3/4 cup butter to the melted wax and stir until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and, using a narrow pastry brush, carefully coat the inside of 18 (2 by 1-inch) canneles molds. (Dedicate this brush to canneles making because the wax will get into the brush.) If the wax mixture starts to set up or thicken, return it to the heat for a moment until it thins.
Remove the batter from the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before baking it.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the waxed canneles molds on a heavy baking sheet with a rim to prevent any wax and butter that melts from the molds from dripping onto the bottom of your oven and creating a fire hazard. Fill the molds 3/4 full with the batter, whisking the batter frequently and well to ensure that the sugar and flour remain evenly distributed.
Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the surface of the canneles is dark brown. Remove from the oven, being very careful not to spill any of the hot wax on yourself. (It is wise to keep children and pets out of the kitchen during this part of the process.) Using tongs or an old towel, pick up each mold and tap it upside down to remove the canneles. If it doesn’t come out after a few taps, using a paring knife to loosen it from the sides. And…viola! Serve warm from the oven.
Here are a couple of other recipes:
Tutorial with great pictures FXCuisine.com.
Let me add that this is one of those delicacies that challenge far better self-taught cooks than myself. You need to find beeswax, for example, to line the tins. You also need special copper molds. I found a couple of sources:
Individual Copper Molds – Cookware.com and Williams-Sonoma – expensive, too expensive. An alternative is the Nordic Mini Bundt Pan. They make 12, I think. I actually got one for Christmas, but traded it in for other stuff.
Silicone Cannele Pans are available from Cooking.com and Amazon.com. No need for beeswax or butter, but less authentic results. But the advantage is that you get molds for 6 to 8 for a fraction of the cost of the copper molds.
(drum roll, please)
You can just buy them from Trader Joes’!!!!! Yep – they are selling boxes of 6 frozen Canneles de Bordeaux for under $4. Beeswax and all! You just pop them in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds, and voila! France on your plate. Now, I thought they could use a bit more rum, but that can be remedied.
I can’t wait to serve them at a dinner party. Maybe one or two on a plate accompanied by poached pears, vanilla ice cream, and that lovely Pear Cinnamon Caramel Sauce from the King’s Cupboard. Doesn’t that sound divine?
Oh, I just found packages of two Cherry Clafoutis at Trader Joe’s! (11/15/08).