Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chocolate-rum cannelé

Sometimes I am humbled by classic, simple preparations. One of those preparations is the cannelé. Classically it is a vanilla (and sometimes lemon and/or orange zest) scented pastry, which has the consistency of a crepe batter which is baked in a very hot oven inside a special (and very expensive) mold, which is made of copper on the outside and aluminum (or stainless steel) on the inside. The heat transfer of copper is crucial to a crisp exterior with a smooth almost custard-like interior. You can get silicone molds that are shaped like a metallic cannelé mold for cheap, but they are worthless.

Tradition dictates tat you need to make the batter 12 hours in advance before you bake it. I disagree. I have had excellent results baking the custard-batter base when it is still hot.

This particular cannelé is flavored with chocolate and rum, and is one of my favorite things to eat.

So there is nothing really new here. Just a statement, I suppose, that some things are best left as they are.

On that note, I am still working on a perfect eclair. Laugh if you will, but I bet your eclairs look like a dog's chew toy... on a good day. I am trying to obtain a perfect tube of choux that is tight and streamlined and still hollow to fill with creamy goodness and coat with overly sweet fondant. I am on year 4 of this by the way. The point here is not to mess with the recipe or the method, it is to control the bake of the choux to the extent that it is linear, like an oblong oval. Not bumpy and sloppy.


  1. Yes, I'm laughing about the eclairs, but it's so so true, what you say !

  2. Have you folks seen Christophe Michalak's choux work?
    It's pretty controlled, smooth.
    Great work here, Chef!

  3. Chef,

    I have 8 of these molds, and made them once, poorly. I am going to try them with beeswax next. Do you make yours this way?

  4. I actually just spray them with vegalene and they come out fine. Beeswax is a pain.