Though by no means a pastry limited to Christmastime indulgence, a perfect canelé is one of my favorite desserts in the world. Their soft, spongy insides paired with their crispy, caramelized exteriors make them truly the best of both worlds when it comes to a pastry, which reminds me of the dual-faced Mayor of Halloweentown from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Having never before tried my hand at making these delectable sweets – which originate from Bordeaux, France – I couldn’t wait to try Rachel Khoo’s recipe from her cookbook My Little French Kitchen, which I have transcribed below. The results yield ideal, glorious little two-bite morsels, which, for the purposes of this Christmas post, I decorated with icing, gourmet food pens, and edible sugar sheets to craft both the “joyful” and “anxious” faces of the Mayor!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 48 hours, or up to 5 days
Cooking time: 1¼ hours
Equipment: two 8-cup silicone canelé molds
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour, sifted
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
¼ cup rum
Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan with the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from the heat and let cool.
Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks together.
When the milk has cooled, remove the vanilla pod and set aside. Pour the warm milk and eggs into the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Gently stir together until smooth (there may be a few lumps at this stage).
Strain the batter through a sieve into a clean bowl, pressing through until you have a smooth batter. Add the rum and stir until combined, then add the reserved vanilla pod. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 days, or up to 5 days – this will allow the flavors to infuse and will relax the gluten, resulting in a tender, less chewy canelé. Give the batter a stir every so often.
When you are ready to cook the canelé, preheat the oven to 475 F. Heat the silicone molds in the oven for a couple of minutes, then, using a small ladle, fill each hole four-fifths full with the batter.
Cook for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375 F and cook for another hour. Remove the canelé from the molds and leave to cool on a wire rack. As they cool, the outside will develop a good crisp crust. Serve once cool to the touch (Canelés turn spongy after 5 hours. To refresh, heat in a 450 F oven for 5 minutes. Cool until the crust hardens, then serve).
Top: Deadly Dames Vamp Top in Mint (old, similar here)
Skirt: Pinup Couture Jenny Skirt in Black Sharkskin Taffeta
Shoes: Pinup Couture Mary Jane Pump Cream with Velvet Trim (similar here)
Lips: Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Candy Apple
Brows: Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW® Pomade in Soft Brown