Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bordeaux Canelés


Bordeaux is not just famous for wine...


The true origins of these little cakes is not known but as with many old recipes there are lots of theories.

The one that most agree on is that they were first baked by pre French Revolution nuns who were given egg yolks by the local wine growers. Egg whites were used to clarify the wine so the nuns put the by-product to good use by making these ridged cakes for the poor children.


The Bordeaux canelés are best bought and tasted in their home town where there is even a confrérie or brotherhood of 88 patissiérs who formed a group to protect the integrity of their canelés. Chocolate or orange flavourings? Mais, non!!


The official recipe is apparently locked away in a vault which makes the little cakes feel even more self important. Notoriously difficult to make, they rely on the exact blend of flour, eggs, rum, milk, vanilla bean and sugar as well as the correct cooking temperatures. Once cooked they are left to rest on a grill which helps form the glossy deep brown crust whilst the interior remains soft and custard like. The overall texture is meant to be slightly chewy to allow the subtle flavours to be fully enjoyed. Best eaten with coffee or wine. Naturellement!


I can't say they are my favourite thing being in the 'no alcohol in sweet food' camp, but I do love their shape and colour. You can see them piled high in the patisserie windows of Bordeaux where they look very appealing. I have found a couple of sets of the aluminium tins on my brocante travels in France and I have been lucky enough to find one beautiful copper set which I now regret not holding onto. They would make perfect mini jelly moulds too!



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