Anyone who has been to Bordeaux is familiar with this signature sweet. It almost defies description: a rich popover dough with a custardy interior, coated in a dark, thin, crispy caramel. It is love at first bite and the souvenir shops know this. They sell the molds. But buyer beware…insiders swear that the authentic versions can only be achieved by copper forms.
If you are buying the pastries in situ, get them early. They tend to lose that crunchy exterior as the day gets long. If you would like to try them at home, here’s a kitchen tested recipe that delivers a very good version.
- ½ liter or 2 1/8 c milk
- 2 eggs, plus 2 yolks
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3-4 T of top quality dark rum (Goslings)
- 1 c flour
- 1 c light brown sugar
- 2 T butter
- (extra butter and white sugar for molds)
1. The day prior to making, bring milk and butter to simmer. Remove from heat. Add vanilla. Let cool slightly.
2. Mix flour and brown sugar together. Add eggs and yolks. Pour this mixture into the milk mixture. Mix gently to achieve a pancake-like batter. Let cool. Add rum. Refrigerate 24 hours.
3. Melt some butter and use a pastry brush to coat the inside of the cannelé molds. Chill in the refrigerator and repeat. The second time, coat the inside of the mold with white sugar. Tap out excess. Chill again.
4. Remove batter from refrigerator and mix well. Preheat oven to 250C/495F.
4. Fill molds no more than 3/4’s full and bake in a 250C/495F oven for five minutes, then reduce heat to 175C/350F for an hour. The tops should have a brown crust. Some ovens may require an extra 15 minutes.
5. Unmold while hot. Cool. Serve with tea, coffee, Cognac, Armagnac or Calvados.
BY Lisa Airey
Lisa has 13 years of experience working in the wholesale industry selling wine and training both distributor sales people and restaurant staff. For the past 11 years, she has developed and/or expanded international study and certification programs for wine trade first with the Society of Wine Educators and now currently with the Wine Scholar Guild. She was knighted by the French government in 2016 (Ordre Mérite Agricole) for her contribution to French agriculture (namely, the French Wine Scholar program).