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Canalés


goldenticket
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The outstanding thing I tried was a canele, at $.50 a real steal for a little snack. I admit to having no idea what a canele should be in terms of texture, but I loved the caramelized-like outside and custardy texture inside, and it popped like a little bomb of flavor in my mouth. In fact, I think I'll start making excuses to go to that part of Rockville so that I can buy these by the dozens.

Slightly off-topic but....Trader Joe's has pretty decent frozen canelés in both regular (vanilla?) and chocolate flavors. They're a nice quick bite-sized indulgence - 15 seconds in the microwave and they're still cool on the inside but not frozen. I may have to check out Saint Michel's version for a comparison (if I'm in that area).

Chocolate and Zucchini provides a pretty detailed description and history of these little Bordelaise treats, as well as a recipe.

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I tried these a while back and thought they were nice little pastries but not great canales. They had no bite to the crust, just the soft, almost soggy, texture you expect from the microwave. Maybe they'd benefit from a pop in the toaster oven. For me, the contrast between the crust and the custardy inside is what makes a canales great. Wouldn't stop me from eating these with an afternoon tea, but in my mind I'd be calling them something else.

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I'd never heard of canales until a few years ago, when I was at a dinner hosted by Paula Wolfert. Canales were the dessert. I thought it was the greatest pastry I'd ever tasted. Tried to reproduce them with a silicone mold, but after many tries decided you need the real copper or aluminum molds. Too damn expensive for those though!

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I tried these a while back and thought they were nice little pastries but not great canales. They had no bite to the crust, just the soft, almost soggy, texture you expect from the microwave. Maybe they'd benefit from a pop in the toaster oven. For me, the contrast between the crust and the custardy inside is what makes a canales great. Wouldn't stop me from eating these with an afternoon tea, but in my mind I'd be calling them something else.

I tried the toaster oven method. It's a wee bit better, but not significantly. Very sad.
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I'd never heard of canales until a few years ago, when I was at a dinner hosted by Paula Wolfert. Canales were the dessert. I thought it was the greatest pastry I'd ever tasted. Tried to reproduce them with a silicone mold, but after many tries decided you need the real copper or aluminum molds. Too damn expensive for those though!

Did you read the blog entry goldenticket linked to? It gave me hope. Enough hope that I went and ordered the silicone molds on-line. Because just what I need before packing up the kitchen for the move is to go on another pastry bender requiring specialized equipment...

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Did you read the blog entry goldenticket linked to? It gave me hope. Enough hope that I went and ordered the silicone molds on-line. Because just what I need before packing up the kitchen for the move is to go on another pastry bender requiring specialized equipment...

I did read this entry, as well as a whole bunch of others including this article in the LA Times that tried to tackle the silicone mold problem (it didn't work). After probably a dozen different attempts (luckily the batter recipes are usually very quick to make) I gave up. My taste tester gave every one a thumbs down. The flavor and interior were usually fine, but the crust you get with the silicone molds tends to be unpleasantly thick and chewy. However, I did seem to be getting closer with a few tips I discovered: putting the mold on a cooling rack instead of a baking sheet (to distribute the heat to the molds better) and upping the oven temp (I think I when I ended my experimentation, I had it up to 425). Good luck! Let me know if you figure it out. I hope you do.

PS- Looks like the LA Times published another recipe that's supposed to work with silicone molds.

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Really!? How'd you manage that? Where? What was served, besides canales? How many other people were there? Insatiably curious fan of Paula Wolfert wants details!

It wasn't like at her house or anything :rolleyes: A few years ago she and the chef from the London Grill in Philadelphia did a dinner together there where all the dishes were from the Slow Mediterranean Kitchen. It was outstanding. I remember a monkfish and clam dish (which I keep meaning to try), a slow braised lamb shank, and lots of mediterranean dips to start. PW was very friendly.
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...before packing up the kitchen for the move is to go on another pastry bender requiring specialized equipment...

You're not leaving your beautiful home, are you? On a related to canales note, one of the Paula Wolfert books has a long discussion of caneles. Really made me want to try them, but I decided I was unwilling to buy yet MORE specialized equipment.

I look forward to hearing of your successes!

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You're not leaving your beautiful home, are you? On a related to canales note, one of the Paula Wolfert books has a long discussion of caneles. Really made me want to try them, but I decided I was unwilling to buy yet MORE specialized equipment.

I look forward to hearing of your successes!

I look forward to reporting them... when I have any. I made three batches of canelés last weekend, and they are surprisingly tricky to get right. The major problem was that the silicon mold I got bakes unevenly, so most of them came out pale on one side and almost burned on the other. Thanks for the pointer to Paula Wolfert - I'll have to look that up. (And yes, we're moving, but we're going to renovate the kitchen - should be fun...)

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I look forward to reporting them... when I have any. I made three batches of canelés last weekend, and they are surprisingly tricky to get right. The major problem was that the silicon mold I got bakes unevenly, so most of them came out pale on one side and almost burned on the other. Thanks for the pointer to Paula Wolfert - I'll have to look that up. (And yes, we're moving, but we're going to renovate the kitchen - should be fun...)

I swear I remember (in one of Paula Wolfert's, I wish I could remember which to help you track it down, I think it was a release in the past 5 years but could be wrong) reading about these heavy-duty metal molds that were literally tossed into an open fire (maybe slight exaggeration), so that the outside was almost blackened (but still edible, maybe more like heavy duty caramelization) and the inside was soft, with the combination of the two (out and in) sublime. I remember being surprised when I first saw the silicone molds on the market, because I've heard they don't do a good job of giving a 'crust' and that seemed integral to the canale. Perhaps if you perfect canales you can provide a tutorial in your new kitchen!

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