I am lucky enough to say that I have travelled to France.  My husband and I made it a five-day stop as part of our honeymoon.  My biggest regret is not trying a canelé.  I promised myself that I would try as many French pastries as possible, however, after coming down with a terrible cold (I didn’t pack warm enough clothes and no one told me Paris can be freezing in June) and my poor appetite, I missed out on a few things.
A few years later, as I was flipping through my House & Home magazine, I found a feature on Canelés, and specifically, the beautiful copper moulds they are baked in.  They featured a recipe and I was immediately enamored by the traditional method of making these canelés.  Since then, I have had these adorable French pastries as part of my baking ‘wish list’.
A few more years passed and I never did get around to making canelés.  Then, much to my surprise, I was tagged in an Instagram post by a friend.  The Acts of Sweetness account – Redpath Sugar – was looking for bloggers to make canelés and blog about their experience.  The perfect opportunity to finally try making canelés! Redpath Sugar was even kind enough to send me everything I would need to bake canelés.  I have no excuse now – I had to dive in and try them!
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Wait!  I’ve never tried one!!  I know what they should look like and by reading taste descriptions I have an idea of how they should taste but I decided that the first step in this adventure would be to try canelés from an experienced baker.  After some research I discovered that Nadege Patisserie is well known for their French pastries, and they are one of the very few Patisseries in Toronto that make canelés.  I liked the crunchy exterior and airy and custardy interior but I expected something different.  I expected them to be a little bit more decadent and richer on the inside.  Overall they tasted great and had the perfect combination of crunchy exterior, and delicate soft and sweet interior!  They were simple tasting and a perfect pair with my morning tea!
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This is not a recipe I can create on my own.  Let’s get serious – these are already complicated so the most I think I can do without messing them up is possibly infuse the milk with flavouring such as a tea or a herb.  I don’t want to change the original composition just yet – maybe after I master the pastry I can start playing around with it some more.  I searched and searched and a lot of the recipes included temperatures, a thermometer and SO many steps.  For a simple tasting pastry – they seemed overly complicated.  I respect the process, don’t get me wrong, and I respect the tradition but if the average home cook is going to make them, then they better be relatively approachable.
I went back to one of my favourite blogs – my go to for all things French cooking – Manger.  Mimi creates simple French recipes and the pictures on her blog are nothing short of stunning.  Go and check out her website and her life, I guarantee you, you will get lost in Mimi’s life and will be planning an escape to France ASAP (I have a huge crush on Mimi and her life in Medoc, France and now I’m passing my Mimi addiction on to you all-you’re welcome!) Now don’t you feel a little more Francais?  Anyway, I was so happy to see that Mimi had a recipe for canelés de Bordeaux!  And, the best part, the entire recipe and ingredient list fit on my computer screen without having to endlessly scroll!  I will be using Mimi’s recipe but using my own pictures and documenting my experience with her recipe.  After looking through her website, I am endlessly inspired by the beautiful food photography of Mimi’s husband.
After making two batches, I realize the interior of my canelés were very different from the canelés that I sampled from Nadege Patisserie.  Mine were much more custardy and decadent on the inside but in a lovely way!!  I really enjoyed the way they came out!  Even friends sampled and enjoyed the mini decadent dessert I prepared for them!  Although I haven’t mastered them quite yet, I will continue to practice until I achieve the traditional consistency of the interior – light and airy.  Practice makes perfect and I am okay with that!
If you, like me, get overwhelmed by overly complicated recipes, then you will enjoy my Canelé experience that I have simplified for you here using Mimi’s recipe.  If you want to skip my instructions and get the simple recipe, I have included it after this post so you can go ahead and scroll to it.
Ok, back to making canelés:  I will be using the silicone moulds that I received from Redpath Sugar.  Mimi also prefers silicone moulds which works for me!  I’m not quite ready to invest in copper moulds.  As pretty as they are, I have to limit my bakeware purchases.
Let’s get started!  First, put your moulds away because you won’t need them until tomorrow (the batter needs to rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours).  Sorry, I should have mentioned that earlier!  You will not be enjoying your canelés until tomorrow.
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Step 1 – Make canelés batter:  Let’s make the batter.  Prepare your Mise en place ( a French phrase which means “putting in place”, as in set up). This is the most French you will see me use, ever.  When in Rome!
Here are the ingredients to set up to make your batter:
500 ml/ 2 cups and 1 & 1/2 tbsp full cream milk
120 g/ 1 cup plain flour (sifted)
200 g/ 1 cup Super fine granulated Redpath sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
60 ml/ 1/4 cup rum
30 g/ 2 tbsp butter (melted)
In a medium saucepan, combine seeds from vanilla bean and milk, mix well – bring to a boil and set aside to cool for 10 minutes (or until you can hold your finger in the milk for a few seconds).  It is very important to bring down the temperature of your milk so you don’t end up with a thick dough (you don’t want to cook your eggs).
Whisk in sugar and sifted flour, mix well to avoid any lumps (if there are too many lumps, simply strain batter through a sieve).
Add egg yolks, one by one, and gently mix.
Add melted butter, stir.
Finally, add the rum and whisk batter until smooth. The batter should be similar to a crèpes/pancake batter – not too thick, not too thin.
Set bowl of batter in a larger bowl filled with an ice bath.  When the batter has cooled down, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
I use silicone moulds and I don’t line the moulds with butter.  (Straight from Mimi’s website – I love her – so simple!)
Step 2 – Bake the canelés:  Fill canelés molds 2/3 of the way. Bake in a preheated oven 230°C/ 450°F for exactly 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 180°C/ 350°F and bake for an additional 50 minutes or if you like them more crispy on the outside then 60 minutes.
(To experiment with chocolate flavour: Drop in a couple of chocolate chips into the centre of the mold with batter before baking.)
Take out of the oven, leave canelés in molds for 5 minutes, then unmould them. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool.
That’s it!!  You have officially created a relatively complicated French pastry – I feel pretty accomplished and I hope you do too!  I can’t wait for the next time I am invited to a friend’s house for tea – I will most definitely bring a fresh batch of canelés!  I am so glad Redpath Sugar has given me the opportunity to embark on this canelé adventure with them and other talented bloggers.  I have a new pastry to add to my repertoire and I can finally strike canelés off my baking ‘wish list’!
Now, pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!
Warm Regards,
Jules
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CANELÉS DE BORDEAUX
By: mimi thorisson
Ingredients: (makes about 16 canelés)
You will need a canelés mould (I use silicone moulds).
500 ml/ 2 cups and 1&1/2 tbsp full cream milk
3/4 cup plain flour (sifted)
200 g/ 1 cup super fine Redpath granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
60 ml/ 1/4 cup rum
30 g/ 2 tbsp butter (melted)
In a medium saucepan, combine seeds from vanilla bean and milk, mix well – bring to a boil and set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar and sifted flour, mix well to avoid any lumps (if there are too many lumps, simply strain batter through a sieve). Add egg yolks, one by one, gently mix. Add melted butter, stir.  Finally, add the rum and whisk batter until smooth. The batter should be similar to a crèpes/ pancake batter – not too thick, not too thin.  If it looks too thick, add a little bit more milk to thin out the batter.
When batter has cooled down, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
I use silicone moulds and I don’t line the moulds with butter. Fill canelés molds 2/3 of the way. Bake in a preheated oven 230°C/ 450°F for exactly 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 180°C/ 350°F and bake for an additional 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, leave canelés in molds for 5 minutes, then unmould them. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool.