Canneles Bordelais are small French pastries that are soft and tender custard center with a dark, thick caramelized crust. Traditionally it is a crepe batter cooked in tiny copper molds until they become brown and crusty outside while the inside has to remain wet. It is an excellent contrast, after few hours the crust becomes less crisp because of the humidity inside. Hence they’re best eaten straight off the oven.
This dessert, which is in the shape of small, striated cylinder approximately two inches in height, is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France but can often be found in Parisian patisseries as well. Made from egg, sugar, milk and flour flavored with rum and vanilla, the custard batter is baked in a mold, giving the canelé a caramelized crust and custard-like inside.
History states that canelés were started during the landing of the boats of flour on the quays of Bordeaux. But more realistically, they would have been created and invented in the 18th century by the nuns of the convent of Annonciades, in Bordeaux, today convent of the Mercy, under the name of canelas or camelions. Those first canelas did not yet look like canelés: they were small cakes of very thin dough rolled around a stick and fried. During the recent remodeling of this convent, archaeological searches took place. Among the numerous objects found from the appropriate time period, nothing looked like a Canelé mold. Also, there is no record of any repairs to a Canelé mold being found. So it is unlikely the convent is the origin of the Canelé.
In Limoges there was a food called “canole”, a specialty consisting of bread made with flour and egg yolks. It is possible that this is the same product as the one sold in Bordeaux since the 18th century under the name of “Canaule”, also written “Canaulé” or “Canaulet”. They were so popular that artisans specialized in baking them. These special bakers were given the name “Canauliers”. During the 19th century, Canauliers disappeared from the artisans list of Bordeaux. In the first quarter of the 20th century the Canelé reappears, even if it is difficult to date exactly when. An unknown pastry chef brought back to fashion the antique recipe of Canauliers. He improved it by adding rum and vanilla to his dough. It is likely that its current shape comes from the similarity (in French) of the word wave with the word “cannelure” (fluting, corrugation, striations).
France is widely popular for their patisseries across the country. It is said that the French have about as many types of pastries as the Eskimos have for the word snow. Some of the very popular pastries include the French apple coffee cake, croissants (crescent shaped, buttery and flaky pastry), brioche, Fondant Au Chocolat, Tarte etc.
The Canneles bordelaise also commonly known as canele de Bordeaux is a magical bakery confection, a cake with a rich custardy interior enclosed by a thin caramelized shell. The Canelé is consumed for breakfast, snacks, and as dessert. Produced in numerous forms and sizes, its consumption varies. It is notably appreciated during tasting of syrupy wines.
For preparing the delicious Canneles bordelaise, gently boil (steep) the milk and the vanilla pod and butter. Meanwhile, mix the flour, sugar and incorporate the eggs and then pour in the boiling milk. Mix gently to obtain a fluid paste like a crepe paste. Let it cool and then add the rum. Refrigerate this mixture for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 10 (270 degree Celsius which is about 518 F along with the cookie sheet on which the canneles will sit.
Pour the cool paste in the well buttered molds, filling half way and then quickly place the mold in the preheated oven on the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 6 (154 C. which is 310 F). Bake for an hour. The canneles should have a dark brown crust and a soft interior. Take out of the mold while hot. Eat cold. Once baked, the canneles should be consumed that day. By contrast, the uncooked mix can be kept refrigerated 3-4 days. The most delicate part of the baking is to generously butter the molds. Suggest putting first coat and refrigerate and then re-butter. If the canneles gets too dark, lower the temperature to 260 F. Look best when made in specialized molds.
The Cannelés are light and easy to carry. If it collapses during transportation, it deforms little and a light reshaping makes it revert to its initial shape. A good cannele should be lightly crunchy and a very dark brown on the outside with a creamy crepe-like consistency on the inside. Do try this wonderful dessert. For detailed recipe click on the below link:
It is better to serve the small Canelé with cocktails, and the big version for dessert at the end of a meal. The drink matters little; as the Canelé accommodates itself equally well with champagne as with tea, and goes with all of types of wine.
Nearly black at first sight, bittersweet at first bite, the crunchy burnt sugar canelé-shell makes an exquisite complement to its smooth, sweet filling, fragrant with vanilla and rum. Small enough to eat out of hand, these little cakes have recently gained cachet after years of neglect to the extent that they may one day rival the popularity of crème brûlée in the category of caramelized French sweets.