That's the question I've been asking myself for far too long. We've been producing an 18 cell mini canele / cannele silicone bakeware mould for a couple of years now and it's proved really popular. I'll be totally honest - when we first introduced it, I didn't KNOW what the darn thing was for.... but it did produce some pretty cute chocolates.
I got an email from someone - I don't know who - I think it was an American lady named Yvonne (or Anne ? - please excuse me that's the two names stuck in my head !).... who kindly informed me of Caneles and the traditions of making them in classic copper molds.
There are various spellings that are used for this relatively unknown French pastry. Canele, cannele appear to be the most popular.
Wikipedia says : "A canelé is a small French pastry with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. The 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."
Due to massive customer request, we decided to put a larger canele / cannele mould into production. The 8 large canele silicone bakeware mould is a brand new addition to our range. It's been sitting on my kitchen table for about 2 weeks now - BEGGING me to make caneles - the thought of which I found rather daunting.
There are loads of sites telling you that to make decent caneles you need to use copper molds and coat them inside with a white oil made with beeswax. You also need to make the batter at least a day before hand as it needs to sit in the fridge for 24 hours before you bake your delights.
On top of that - there is a high cooking temperature. These little cakes cook at higher temperatures than I've ever heard cakes being cooked at before. The high temperatures ensure a dark crispy and chewy crust which SHOULD enclose a moist custardy interior.
I've looked at lots of photos and read lots of websites. I've bit my nails (actually - that's a lie....) - but I did worry about it quite a bit. I really did envisage these going horribly wrong. Afterall - these are sacred of French patisseries and sit alongside macarons. I feared they'd turn out hideous and be a real devil to master.
The reality is that it really couldn't have been easier and I was in for a pleasant shock !
I eventually chose this recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini Blog which you find by following the link. Clotilde uses silicone moulds and omits the beeswax coating. She also includes a whopping amount of rum ! Actually - this makes them simply delicious and they are not at all "strong. I'm sure most of the alchohol burns off during the long cooking time and high temperatures.
You make your custard base the day before you want to cook it - and although it sounds hard to mess up - it was a very easy process. The milk and vanilla is brought to a simmer, then the rum is added. This is then poured hot onto flour, sugar and eggs and quickly whisked together. Leave to cool and refrigerate 24 hours.
This mix filled an 8 cell cannele silicone mold and left enough to additionally fill 12 of the 18 cells in a mini canele silicone mould.
I'd guess one large canele is approx the same volume as 4 small ones. The smaller ones had more crust in relation to spongy soft custard but were also delicious. Given the choice, the large version are definately my preference. Perhaps it's the fact I'd feel less guilty about eating one or two large ones than I would 4 to 8 small ones !!!???!!
I couldn't wait until these were totally cool and samples a large one luke warm straight after these photographs. After cutting it in half, it was screaming at me to eat it... so I just had to oblige.
Well - was the hype worth it ? Most definately. I've never eaten ANYTHING quite like it before and I'm sure no other cake or pastry would compare. The outside is a rich carmelised crust that is both chewy and crunchy. The inner is a spongy moist custard flavoured with rum (I used Bacardi). It's slightly sweet and surprisingly light in both weight and texture. It's far easier to make than you are likely to imagine.
You know now that you'll just HAVE to make them......
Have fun baking !