Canelés Bordelais

Summary:

‘Cah-nuh-lay’: Crispy and deeply caramelised on the outside, custardy and gorgeously soft in the middle, canelés are a French pastry from Bordeaux. They’re made from a simple vanilla and rum flavoured batter which is rested overnight and baked in beeswax-lined moulds at two temperatures.

Detail:

The perfect recipe for those looking to put their skills to test in the kitchen. These gorgeous little cakes from Bordeaux formed the basis of my latest culinary adventure.

They’re rarely seen in the UK, and having never actually sampled one before embarking on this personal challenge, I found it particularly fascinating and rather exciting. Given how insanely addictive they are, you’d expect them to be a staple treat, but alas I’ve learnt that they can be a little temperamental. They take a relatively long time to make, don’t keep for long, and require a couple of specialist items in order to transform a simple batter into a glorious delicacy.

NOTE: The quantities in the recipe below will make just 6 canelé – this is intentional, as they need to be eaten on the day of making, you can scale up the recipe as required, and the individual moulds will cost you a small fortune. You can however prepare the desired volume of batter and bake them in batches.

Equipment:

For this recipe, you’ll need a couple of extra things which may not feature in the average kitchen:

  • Canelé moulds
  • Beeswax (100% natural)

Ingredients:

(makes 6)
  • 250ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp dark rum

Method:

  1. Start by placing the milk, butter and vanilla in a pan over a low heat until combined, before setting aside to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy. (I use a stand mixer).
  3. Sift in the flour with a tiny pinch of salt.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk mixture, followed by the rum.
  5. Seal the batter in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24-48 hours.
  6. To prepare the moulds, melt 40g beeswax and 60g butter together in a microwave (or pan).
  7. Fill a warmed mould to the top with the liquid beeswax and butter mix, and then quickly pour it out into the next case, before placing it upside down on a drying rack.
  8. Place a tray into the oven and preheat it to 230°C.
  9. Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a quick mix to recombine.
  10. Fill the moulds, leaving a 10mm gap at the top.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. Turn the oven down to 160°C and cook for a further 60 minutes.
  13. Place the canelés on a rack to cool down for 30 minutes before turning out.

Notes:

You may find that you need to adjust the temperatures and timing slightly to suit your oven – they are perhaps one of the most temperamental things I’ve made to date.

Note that the beeswax and butter mix is enough to line a lot of moulds, but it can be stored in a fridge until needed again. If you’re using a modern silicone canelé moulds, you may not need to line them at all, however the final result will be different.

Tartiflette

Food of the mountains. This classic dish from the Savoyard is a staple skiing lunch. Heavy, unctuous, comforting and warming to the core.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 500g potatoes, peeled
  • 150g lardons / ham  
  • 2 banana shallots, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 250g Reblochon cheese, sliced 
  • 75ml white wine
  • 100ml double cream

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. 
  2. Parboil the potatoes in salted boiling water until just tender (7-10 mins) and drain. 
  3. Fry the lardons, shallots and garlic until golden.
  4. Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.
  5. Slice the potatoes (~5mm) and layer into a gratin dish with the onion, garlic and lardon mix. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour over the double cream. 
  8. Scatter with thyme leaves.
  9. Layer the Reblochon slices over the top.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling.
  11. Serve with lambs lettuce and crusty baguette.
Reblochon cheese from France.
tartiflette gratin

French Onion Soup

For this year’s Food Revolution Day, Jamie Oliver shared ‘10 recipes to save your life‘ – learn how to master these dishes and you can successfully cook nutritious food for yourself and your family for the rest of your life.

As Ambassadors for the revolution, we’re all about inspiring others, sharing skills and knowledge, and helping people to build confidence in the kitchen.

My alternative to Jamie’s Minestrone Soup is the one and only French Onion Soup. It’s a fantastic example of how you can transform a humble ingredient by concentrating the flavour. You have a couple of options here: make a relatively quick and acceptable soup, or show it the love, give it the time and attention it deserves, and make a beautifully deep, complex and truly sensational bowl of joy.

brown onions

Ingredients:

  • 500g brown onions
  • 50g butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • Splash of cognac or brandy (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 150g Gruyere cheese
  • ½ baguette

 

Method:

Finely slice the onions and sweat them in a pan on a very low heat with the butter, sugar and a little olive oil for about an hour until beautifully soft, caramelised and almost melting.

sweating onions

Increase the heat, add the garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes before carefully flambéing with the cognac/brandy if using.

Stir in the flour and cook it out for two of minutes.

Add the wine and let it bubble away and reduce by a third.

Add the beef stock, season and simmer for a further 30 minutes.

Serve the soup with Gruyere-topped croutons – they’re essential.

I like to make the croutons by frying garlic-rubbed slices of baguette in a pan with butter until golden, but you can just toast them or bake them in the oven to dry them out. Pop them onto the soup, grate Gruyere cheese over the top, and slide everything under the grill or into the oven until gorgeously molten.

Enjoy!

Onion Soup