Long before I went to France this past June, I knew I would be making a visit to E. Dehillerin. I always do. And even though my time in Paris was brief -- barely a day after my lengthier stay in Provence -- I needed to stop by the cookware store Dehillerin, a baker's dream, to pick up canelés molds.
I have been obsessed with the making of canelés recently. Why, I'm not exactly sure. Before this past trip to Provence, I had never even eaten a canelé. My fascination, most likely, has something to due with the individual copper molds that are traditionally used (the interiors coated with beeswax) to bake canelés. The beauty, for me, is in the crafting of the pastry baked in copper, striated molds that create little pleated cylinders. And their dark, caramelized exterior that surrounds a cakey, custard-like center. After I ate my first canelé at Pâtisserie Jouvaud in Carpentras, it sealed the deal. I was going to pick up canelés molds when back in Paris. They would, however, not be the beautiful copper molds that make my heart race.
The number of little copper molds needed to make one recipe of canelés, would have surpassed $300; a number I just couldn't justify. Instead, I settled on silicone canelés molds, convincing myself that the best pâtisseries in France must be using them for their cost-savings and ease of cleaning.
The silicone molds were still an investment. And a little research was needed to get the desired results during the baking process. For the batter, I used a recipe from Mimi Thorisson for Canelés de Bordeaux and combined that with baking techniques from Paula Wolfort. What made all of the difference between my first failed attempt and successful second try, was brushing the molds with canola oil (expeller pressed), then freezing them until filling with the canelé batter. The baking temperature is higher than you think it should be, and the baking time longer than what you would imagine... the results were magnifique! These canelés, more than any other French pastry I've ever made, transported me back to France with the first bite. In the scheme of things, I suppose, a very reasonably-priced, "Another Paris Moment".
Check out the little flecks of vanilla bean seeds. The vanilla, along with the rum, give canelés their incredible flavor. If you're interested in making canelés, the DeBuyer silicone molds are available on Amazon. And if you feel like splurging, you can also purchase Mauviel's French copper molds there.
+ recipe (adapted) for Canelés de Bordeaux by Mimi Thorrison
Recipe makes 12 canelés
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 1/2 tablespoon heavy cream
• 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 3 egg yolks
• 1/4 cup rum
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• Canola oil, preferably expeller pressed, for brushing molds
1. Remove the seeds from the vanilla bean and combine them with the milk and heavy cream in a medium-size saucepan. Stir well, then bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes.
2. Whisk the sugar into the milk, then slowly add the flour, whisking constantly to avoid any lumps. If necessary, strain the batter through a wire sieve to remove lumps.
3. Add the eggs yolks, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Gently whisk in the melted butter, followed by the rum. Whisk the batter until smooth; pour into a medium bowl, and when cool, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
4. One hour before baking, brush the interior of 12 silicone canelés molds with canola oil. Place the molds in the freezer.
5. When molds have been in freezer for an hour, preheat oven. If using convection, which is preferred, set your temperature at 375˚F. If you will not be using a convection setting, preheat oven to 400˚F.
6. Place the chilled molds on a baking sheet. Whisk the batter and fill the molds almost to the top. Place on the lowest oven rack and bake until canelés are a deep, caramelized brown. If using convection, bake for one hour and 15 minutes at 375˚. If not using convection, bake at 400˚ for two hours. Remove from oven and transfer molds to a cooling rack.
7. Allow the canelés to cool in the molds. This helps them keep their shape. Canelés are best eaten within the first 1-5 hours. After that, it is recommended to reheat at 450˚ for 5 minutes.
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