My latest confection obsession are Canelés; these teeny confections are small French pastries created by the nuns of the Annonciades convent during the 18th century in Bordeaux; known today as the convent of the Mercy. Canelés have a very distinct appearance: dark caramelized crusts, soft custardy centers, and the hallmark shape of tiny Bundt cakes!
Made with basic baking ingredients (think flour, milk, sugar, and eggs), the finished product is far from ordinary (the process is far from ordinary, too). Unlike a cake or torte, the batter for canelé is very similar to custard, which is baked in 2 inch molds and gives the Parisian desserts their trademark Bundt-like shape.
I had no idea how complicated a process it was until I did a little research. Those little buggers! Making canelés is a very labor intensive endeavor. What frightened me most was that Food Network recommended starting the process two days in advance…wow! Who would have thought that such simple ingredients would require such laborious preparation? First the mini copper molds have to be lined with beeswax, bake for 1.5 hours followed by a resting period after baking. Not for the weary or impatient!
The first time I tried one… ok, three (remember, they are tiny) was at the Bryn Mawr Farmers’ Market and must say I immediately became a fan. HOW COULD YOU NOT?! You can buy canelé at Market Day Canelé in Philadelphia or via their website at www.marketdaycanele.com/#!shop
The mini canelé come in packages of three, perfect with your morning coffee, afternoon tea or as a decadent emergency snack…in the car RIGHT after you buy them. Traditionally speaking, small canelé are typically served with cocktails (they pair well with champagne and wine), tea, coffee, or they can be served as a snack. The larger canelé are usually reserved for the dessert course.
Chef Jacquie says too much work…I’ll stop at Bryn Mawr Farmers’ Market and pick up a whole box on Saturday. Hopefully, I won’t be recounting the intervention in next week’s blog when we talk about….xo Chef Jacquie.