In Pursuit of the Perfect Canelé
Three months ago, I asked Derrek to find me a set of Canelé molds during his trip to Bordeaux, the birthplace of Canelés. He claimed that because I had asked him on Saturday and during lunchtime, that all the shops were already closed so he couldn't get any. Since then, I had forgotten all about it.
On Christmas morning last year, I was pleasantly surprised when I unwrapped his gift. Inside the box, as you can already guess, were beautiful copper molds. He managed to buy and then hide them this whole time. For better or for worse, the man is apparently very good at hiding things from me ;) I was very touched by his months-long, sneaky but thoughtful plan.
Naturally, I felt the need to bake the famous pastry from Bordeaux. I have tried making them before. They turned out a bit burnt, but tasted pretty good. Though technically, some may say that I couldn't really call my creation a canelé since I didn't use beeswax.
Why beeswax you may ask? I blogged all about it here.
So, this time, I trekked one hour down south to the Hive Honey Shop in Clapham junction and got myself a few blocks of 100% pure beeswax. I felt like I had just purchased a block of gold after learning that it takes 10,000 bees working for three days to produce just one lb. of wax.
I thought to myself, I better not let those bees work hard for nothing - I have to make sure these canelés are freaking good.
Now that I had my materials, I turned to my trusted confidant - P'Kong at Sweet It My Way for the recipe. Along with the recipe, he gave me an important tip - 'Don't forget to line the pot you use to melt the beeswax with foil. Otherwise, it's impossible to clean.'
I failed miserably on my first attempt. Derrek was happy to eat the evidence.
After hours of melting beeswax and coating the molds, trying to find the right temperature on my oven and sitting on the kitchen floor staring for hours into the oven glass to make sure the canelé mixture didn't spill out, I finally nailed it. I made the perfect caneles - crunchy mahogany exterior with a soft custardy interior.
After tasting my hard work, I asked myself: Was beeswax really needed to make a perfect canelé? And, was this complicated process worth my (and the bees) effort?'