Sunday, November 13, 2016

Giant Cannelé de Bordeaux

Giant cannelé de Bordeaux
For years I have loved eating and making cannelés de Bordeaux, which I learned at Ateliers des Chefs in Paris. These wonderful fluted confections are caramelized on the outside and contain a vanilla rum custard interior. The contrast between the textures is the thing.

Generally they come in three sizes, small (about 3.5 cm high), medium (about 4.5 cm high) and large (about   5.5 cm high). I make the small ones because I like the high proportion of crispy caramelized exterior to soft interior that they afford. Contrary to those who say you need to use copper molds, I make mine in inexpensive silicone molds with great results. Here's an example of my usual cannelés:

Mini-cannelés
Recently, however, we went to Michel Trama, an inn and two-star restaurant near Toulouse, and were served a gigantic cannelé suitable for at least four persons (although J and I nearly polished it off ourselves).

I determined to make this. The first order of business was to find an appropriate mold. Hunting around in Bordeaux, I soon realized that there is no official cannelé pan of this size, but we found a kugelhopf pan (for making an Alsatian cake of the same name) and carted it home. The hollow middle means that the dough is never more than about 7 cm thick, and generally less, not so far from the 5.5 cm of a large normal canelé.

Recognizing that the cooking times for my minis would not work at all, I guessed: a clear failure. So based on what I learned, I guessed again, and this time nailed it. The result is above: a crispy exterior and delightful custard inside. I am looking forward to serving it at a post-Thanksgiving dinner party for six in just two weeks.

Bobby Jay