Since I have been spending a lot of time in Paris for work, I have become a lunch enthusiast. When I’m in Brussels I hardly ever find time for lunch and when I do you’ll find me chewing on some sad sandwich in front of my computer. My new found fondness for the lunch hour ‘might’ have something to do with the fact that French people drink wine at lunch (bonus!) and always have dessert (double bonus!). During one of these lunches I was introduced to Cannelés de Bordeaux and ever since I have been obsessed with them. I’ve tortured my French accountant to give me her recipe (merci Sophie!) and I must say … they are delicious.
A cannelé is a little cake which is crispy on the outside and has a pancake consistency on the inside (European style pancake, not the US style ones). There is one thing you’ll love about this recipe and one thing you’ll hate. You’ll love the fact that you have to eat them the day you make them because they lose their crispiness after a couple of hours. So no excuses, the whole batch needs to be devoured! Trust me, I have tried everything to keep them crispy and nothing seems to work. One of my colleagues, who is from the Bordeaux region assured me that even patisseries over there make them fresh every day because of this very reason. Now for the thing you won’t like: you need to plan. Whenever you feel a cannelé craving coming along you can’t just make them. The batter needs to rest for at least 12 hours (24 hours or 36 hours is even better). The cannelé batter is similar to pancake batter and the longer you let it rest the better it gets. It has something to do with air bubbles and gluten, all things that I don’t understand but I have tested it and it’s true: you need to wait at least 12 hours. There are eggs in this so I wouldn’t go beyond 36 hours of resting time. Don’t be surprised at the fact that the batter is very liquid, this is normal.
In the version below I add brown rum, this is the traditional way of making them. If you like a change or you don’t want to put alcohol in them you can add orange flower essence (same amount as the rhum in the recipe below).
You can find the molds to make cannelés in any basic cooking shop. People will tell you that it is a sin to use silicone molds and that the only way to go is using copper molds. However, these are crazy expensive and silicone works as well. Next to the normal size molds, there are also molds for mini cannelé, I prefer these just because they are bite size. For the mini versions, you just need to take into account that the cooking time is slightly reduced (otherwise you’ll end up with little black rocks instead of sweet crispy cannelés).
The recipe below will make 12 normal size cannelés and 24 mini cannelés.
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
- 2 tablespoons of brown rhum
- 1/2 liter of full fat or semi skimmed milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 100 grams of flower
- 250 grams of powdered sugar (you can use normal caster sugar as well, powdered sugar is easier to mix in)
- 50 grams of butter
- a pinch of salt
- Put the butter and vanilla essence in the milk and gently heat up the milk so that the butter melts.
- Once the butter is melted and the milk is hot, turn off the heat so the mixture can cool down somewhat (we’ll mix eggs into this and if the mixture is too hot you obtain scrambled eggs).
- Put the eggs, egg yolks and powdered sugar in a bowl and with a wisk mix them together until the mixture slightly turns white.
- Add the flower and salt to the egg mixture and mix well.
- Now, whilst stirring the egg/sugar/flower/salt batter add the hot milk mixture, keep stirring until there are no more lumps.
- Poor the batter in a containers and let it rest in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
- When you are ready to bake preheat your oven for 15 minutes on 250°C. Poor the batter into the molds and bake them for 20 minutes on 250°C. This will ensure the cannelés are crispy. Then turn the heat down to 180°C and leave them for another 40 minutes in the oven.
- After this take them out and leave them in the silicone molds to FULLY cool.
- Once cooled down you will be able to pop them out of the molds easily … AND EAT THEM!
I hope you enjoy them!