Many of you may visit the city of Bordeaux this summer while doing some wine tastings in the vineyards of Médoc, a French region in the Gironde department. If you do, you will with no doubts eat canelés, a delicious specialty from Bordeaux.
And who could tell you the best about canelés than Mimi Thorisson, a food blogger from the region. I discovered her wonderful blog, MANGER, a few months back and to tell you the truth once you have found it you can only come back to it.
Mimi moved to Médoc less than two years ago with her husband, children and 14 dogs. She lives in the country and prepares for her family and friends recipes for all kind of occasions. Everything looks amazing no matter if it is a cherry clafoutis, a strawberry millefeuille, some madeleines, a ratatouille, some tomates provencales or a gaspacho.
She cooks and her husband, Oddur Thorisson, photographs all her recipes and makes all the photos for her blog.
Mimi’s talk about canelés and her recipe:
“These little custardy cakes with a caramelized crust are a local delicacy, flavoured with vanilla beans and rum. Croustillants (crusty) outside and moelleux (soft) inside, each bite is pure pleasure. Canelés have a mysterious past, originating from Bordeaux. Traditionally , Bordeaux wines were clarified with egg whites, a vinification step called collage, leaving the yolk for cooking. Chateaux owners would give the egg yolks to local convents where the nuns conjured up their confections. This could have been the start of the canelés. They were apparently influenced by a cake called ‘canole’ made by bakers in Limoges and very popular in Bordeaux. I personally think that all of the above, as well as the influence of vanilla beans and exotic rum arriving at the port of Bordeaux all contributed to the legendary canelés.
When you buy them, you are always asked if you prefer a canelé bien cuit (well-cooked, more caramelized) or moelleux (more chewy). It’s really a matter of personal taste. I like them moelleux, to be exact, 55 minutes in the oven. The batter is as simple as it gets, then left 24 hours in the refrigerator. Let the batter have a good rest and develop all the right texture and taste, then it’s 55 minutes in the oven, not more not less. The only thing you have to do is lower the temperature after 5 minutes, and voila. Here are my tips: I use silicone moulds, I don’t line the moulds with butter because, in my opinion, it encourages the canelés to get crusty too fast. For those who prefer a more caramelized crust, you can bake them for 10 minutes longer.
Canelés are enjoyable any time of the day, as a tea time snack, as dessert, preferably with a sweet white wine, like a Bordeaux Sauternes or a Loupiac or at the end of the meal with coffee. I am always in the mood for a canelé, if I have some left I’ll even have them for breakfast with my morning cup of Yorkshire tea. A canelé is always appropriate, especially here in Bordeaux.”
Ingredients: (makes about 16 canelés)
You will need a canelés mould (I use silicone moulds).
500 ml/ 2 cups and 1&1/2 tbsp full cream milk
120 g/ 1 cup plain flour (sifted)
200 g/ 1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
60 ml/ 1/4 cup rum
30 g/ 2 tbsp butter (melted)
In a medium saucepan, combine seeds from vanilla bean and milk, mix well – bring to a boil and set aside for 5 minutes. Whisk in sugar and sifted flour, mix well to avoid any lumps (if there are too many lumps, simply strain batter through a sieve). Add egg yolks, one by one, gently mix. Add melted butter, stir. Finally, add the rum and whisk batter until smooth. The batter should be similar to a crèpes/ pancake batter – not too thick, not too thin. When batter has cooled down, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
“I use silicone moulds and I don’t line the moulds with butter. Fill canelés molds 2/3 of the way. Bake in a preheated oven 230°C/ 450°F for exactly 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 180°C/ 350°F and bake for an additional 50 minutes. Take out of the oven, leave canelés in molds for 5 minutes, then unmould then. Place on a wire rack and leave to cool.”
Credit recipe Mimi Thorrison & Credit Photos Oddur Thorrison