French Canelés originally came from Bordeaux in the 18th century and only became popular in the 1980’s- today you can even find Canelés served at the McDonalds in Bordeaux. They are known for their soft chewy inside contrasting with their crisp, caramelized exterior. They taste so good that they are traditionally served plain. In fact, some purists might even say they are not REAL Canelés unless they are served plain, without a sauce.
However, I recently drove by a market stall near San Diego selling Blood Oranges, screeched on the brakes (I was attracted to their sign advertising KICK ASS BEEF JERKY) and bought a basket full of Blood Oranges. So, my post morphed into ‘Canelés with Blood Orange and Cardamom Sauce.’
You can serve them plain, as in the photo below (just pick them up with your fingers and pop them in your mouth) or serve with a little sauce for that extra flavour!
Canelés served plain (no sauce):
Canelés are baked in a mold that gives them their unique shape with fluted ridges. Some people swear by using the traditional copper molds, which cost about $20 for each individual mold, but being on a budget, I used one of the silicone molds:
Despite their simple form (i.e. no endless layers of cake to frost or fill with cream), Canelés do require a little mothering to prepare, as follows:
- Let the Canelé batter rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours before baking. This allows time for the gluten in the batter to relax and ensures a more uniform texture to the finished product. This might be in my imagination, but it seems like it would also give more time for the rum and vanilla flavors to infuse into the batter.
- Temperature control is very important. To ensure the Canelés have a crisp exterior, place them in the oven at 475 F. (250 C.) for the first 15 minutes, then lower to 375 F. (190 C.) for the remaining 45 minutes. The outside of each pastry should be crisp and brown, but not black.
- The batter should be stirred as much as possible, not whisked. Whisking causes the batter to be aerated, thus producing a fluffy Canelé; we want the texture to be more compact and chewy for the end result.
- Don’t be afraid of trial and error- my first batch of Canelés were disastrous, as you can see with my first batch below (they didn’t rise at all and were rather gloopy, but they still tasted good!).
First Failed Batch of Canelés – too ‘gloopy’
- 500 ml (2 cups) whole milk
- 50 g (3 tbsp) butter
- 100 g (~ ¾ cup) white flour
- 225 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 85 ml (1/3 cup) dark rum
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 475 F (250 C).
- Combine the milk and butter in a saucepan and bring almost to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool until mixture feels lukewarm to the touch.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Now add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients; stir but do not whisk.
- In separate bowl, combine the 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks together, then add them to the bowl with the remaining ingredients.
- At this point, there will be some lumps in the batter- pass the mixture through a sieve to remove lumps.
- Add the rum and vanilla extract and stir until smooth.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours to rest.
- When you are ready to cook the canales, fill the silicone molds up to the ¾ level. Place the silicone mold directly on the oven wrack (if possible) and bake for 15 minutes at 475 F (250 C) then reduce heat to 375 F (190 C) for the remaining 45 minutes. The caneles are finished when the outer part is brown and crispy and the inside is soft and 'custardy.'
- Remove from the oven and let cool. To remove each canele from the mold, push the bottom of each mold upward and release each one separately. Turn over each canale onto a plate and serve plain or top with a delicious orange cardamom sauce (see below).
The Blood Orange Cardamom Sauce
Blood Oranges – Yum!
- 1/2 cup Blood Orange Juice
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tbsp. white flour mixed with 2 tbsp. water
- Heat the juice from the Blood Oranges with the butter over medium heat.
- Add the sugar and cardamom powder and stir.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour and water to make a paste. Then stir this into the other ingredients over medium heat, to thicken the sauce.
- Spoon over the Canelés or serve separately in a small bowl.