I have a purist approach when it comes to cuisine, especially French cuisine. Call me elitist, but I firmly believe that any dessert should be created thoughtfully by hand and from scratch… no shortcuts allowed and definitely no pre-packaged rubbish.
In my household it’s almost a cardinal sin to look twice at any type of processed and preservative laden junk food. It’s therefore understandable as to why I was in a state of deep shock when I saw that French macarons are now available for purchase in frozen packets straight from supermarket shelves! A clear lack in respect and appreciation for historic recipes and traditional home cooking exists in this fast-paced consumerist society.
Thankfully, my beloved Canneles of Bordeaux have not yet been discovered and filtered down into the oversaturated Australian market… unlike other iconic French delicacies, sadly crepes, macarons and now madeleines. That is why I had to share this recipe for delicious Canneles from another cook who shares my belief in traditional home cooking, Rachel Khoo.
I love simplicity when it comes to recipes, ingredients and cooking, and Rachel’s recipe for Canneles is just that. The recipe comes from her second acclaimed cookbook, My Little French Kitchen, which is another staple in my collection.
This recipe is so simple and straight forward and it definitely does not disappoint in the all-important taste factor. However, the batter does need to be made and rested for up to 2 to 5 days in order for the gluten swell and batter to thicken… but I promise that the results are well worth the wait.
The Canneles shells develop a crisp and caramelised coating whilst further concealing a dense and aerated custard interior. When you take your first mouthful, the contrast in texture between the crisp shells and the sweet oozy filling is highly addictive.
Traditionally, Canneles are made in copper moulds but as they are rare to find (not to mention incredibly expensive), I had to settle for a silicone mould instead. I surprisingly had near perfect results… however investing in copper moulds is something worth considering as copper conducts heat more proficiently which would result in a unified caramelised shell.
Happiness truly is akin to warm Canneles straight out of the oven…they are moreishly addictive, so good in fact that they were a struggle to photograph as they kept being devoured! Rachel promised her Canneles recipe would produce perfect results every time and I have to admit that so far she is true to her promise.
- 500ml whole milk
- 50g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split
- 100g plain flour, sifted
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 60ml rum or brandy
- In a saucepan over medium heat place the milk, butter and vanilla bean pod. Bring to a light boil them remove from heat and leave to cool.
- Tip the sifted flour, sifted icing sugar and salt into a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and yolks together.
- When the milk has cooled, remove the vanilla bean pod and set aside. Pour the milk and eggs into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Gently stir together until smooth (mixture will still have a few lumps)
- Strain the batter though a sieve into a new clean bowl, pressing through the lumps until a smooth batter forms. Add the rum or brandy and vanilla bean pod. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a refrigerator for two to five days (remember to stir it every so often).
- When you are ready to cook the canneles, preheat the oven to 240C (460F).
- Heat a buttered silicone or copper mould for five minutes, then remove from the oven and ladle in four fifths of the batter.
- Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 190C (370F) and cook for a further hour, until browned and clean when a skewer is inserted.
- Remove from the moulds and leave to cool on a wire rack. As they cool, the outside develops a crisp crust.