I have a deep affection for this sweet pastry. It was introduced to me when I arrived in France 10 years ago at a dinner in my friend's apartment. We didn't speak much of each other's languages at the time but I figured I should be the one making the effort since I was living in her country. Mainly I was impressed by her incredible patience in listening to my very broken French and with her subtle corrections—which proves she was actually listening to me—encouraging me to carry on as if I was fluent as a singing bird (mind you, wine was involved). Then she won me over as she came out with a beautiful plate of cannelés bordelais. I bit into one and fell in love. I never had anything like this texture. A thick caramelized chewy crust with a soft, moist custard center. I had to know how to make it. The next time I saw Sandrine—my quintessential French friend, with her Jean Seberg styled crop and pretty make-up free face—she gifted me the recipe and the particular mold the cannéles are baked in. It was the perfect, thoughtful gift with a French touch. I am sharing a song by Étienne Daho, another cultural lesson well learned by her. So when you take out your tray of baked cannelés to Étienne Daho's whispery voice in the back, top it off with a "voilà" and suddenly we feel so à la française!
15 minutes plus an hour of refigeration time, even overnite if you want to prepare ahead.
• 1/2 liter whole milk (2cups)
• 1/2 stick vanilla (slit lengthwise)
• 2 egg yolks
• 2 whole eggs
• 250 grams powdered sugar (2 cups)
• 100 grams flour (3/4 cup)
• 50 grams butter (3.6 tablespoons)
• 1 tablespoon rhum
Heat the milk and infuse the vanilla stick in the hot milk. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and cover the pot. Set it aside to cool.
Melt the butter and let it cool.
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together (the whole eggs and the egg yolks). Then add it to the sugar and flour mix. You can stir by hand or by mixer until its consistency becomes slightly thick and smooth.
Take the vanilla stick out of the cooled down milk and add it to the flour, sugar, and egg combination. Continue to stir everything together.
Add the butter, and continue to mix in the rhum.
Let the batter sit an hour in the fridge or even overnight. You will find that the batter settles a bit at the bottom after refigerating. Just stir it gently and then fill the cannelés mold up half way. Place in oven for an hour at 350° F or 180° C. I usually check the crust while it's in the oven. I like it when the crust gets more than golden brown. When it's done, take it out of the oven and let it cool. Voilà!