I'm a little in love at the moment.
In love with a little mound of custardy goodness.
One day I was walking passed Cumulus Inc in Flinder's Lane. I was hungry so I popped in to grab a take away nibble and spied a plate of Cannalés Bordelais. Here started the love affair.
A recipe search later I had read about copper moulds, greasing with beeswax, about leaving the batter overnight..... I thought maybe when I had time I would attempt a go.... or maybe when I had taken out a mortgage for those exquisite copper tins.....
Then one night I happened to be at Ikea and I spotted a non-stick patty cake thing, too high really for cupcakes, probably meant for some strange Swedish delight but strangely perfect for making cannelés! I couldn't resist!
So I've had a little tinker and now I'm quite happy with my faux-cannelés!
P. A. has told me that they were made at wine bottling time to use up all the extra egg yolks (the whites were used for purifying the wine, just like you use them for making your stock clear). 'What is a cannelé?' I hear you ask, well it's baked custardy cakelette and exceedingly yum.
Heat your oven to 250ºC.
Pop 2 cups of milk (full cream preferably delicious bio-dynamic milk), 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a pinch of salt on the stove to gently warm through and the butter to melt. I like to add a big slug of beautiful Bourbon Vanilla Extract (the expensive stuff that I save for and buy a big bottle of once a year from Simon Johnson) or you can slip a split vanilla bean in will the milk is heating and then scrape out the seeds once it is all simmered nicely. Take the milk mix off the heat to cool slightly.
Lightly beat 2 big free-range eggs and 2 yolks to break them up. Measure out 1 cup plain flour and 1 cup caster sugar and stir to combine. Pour the eggs over the flour and sugar and whisk to combine (don't fret if it is a little lumpy and once mixed don't set aside for later- the eggs and sugar will start to 'cook' and you'll end up with strange sweet scrambled eggs). Pour the milk/butter/vanilla mix over and whisk. The lumps will disappear, don't be scared. I just use a hand whisk rather than bothering with an electric beater. You'll end up with a fabulous egg flip custard. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.
(Now at this stage I have to admit I made a batch on Friday and I only left it in the fridge for an hour....)
It's a good idea to pour the batter into a jug to make filling the moulds easier. I love my vintage Pyrex mixing bowls with the great handles that double as pouring lips- brilliant idea!
Grease your fabulous Ikea Cannelé tray well with butter.
Pour the batter in- this amount divides perfectly!
Into the oven at 250ºC for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 165ºC and cook for another hour. Now when you turn your oven down you will have to have a play, the recipe I found said 175ºC but I found it was a bit high, this could be my oven, but in this case under isn't going to be a problem, just leave a little longer or eat and make a new batch....
The Cannelés will do strange things...... they will puff up and rise above the mould, they will turn a deep goldeny brown but don't worry they aren't burnt, they are caramelised!
When your turn them out they will have a yellow dimple in the bottom, sit them on a plate with this dimple now the top. Admire for a minute. Sniff in the heady vanilla smell. Little volcanoes of baked custardy goodness! Scoff!
OK the real Cannelés are made with rum and the moulds are beautifully fluted but these faux-cannelés are pretty damn good!