This is not the first time I've tried making cannele (not to be confused with cannoli) . I liked them the other times, too...I've been experimenting for awhile. But the thing is, I have no idea if these are anything like the genuine article, because I've not ever eaten the real thing. Nor do I have the correct little copper molds (ack, I tried, but they cost the earth) or wax.
I was cheered to see that Jacques Pepin also uses silicon molds, though his are teeny ones, and mine are a little larger- more the size of the original copper molds which Paula Wolfert talks about. The following is an amalgam of their two recipes, which works for me, because my little toaster oven is a convection one, with a tray just big enough to hold my mold and keep it from going jiggly. I have included directions for baking in an ordinary oven as well, from P. W.
I know it's nervy to pass out a recipe for something I know zilch about, but the thing is, they are so good, in such a weird way, that I'm not sure how much I care if they are anything like authentic. I think you are going to like them. But I also really wish some foundation or sugar daddy or someone would, you know, give me a scholarship for a trip to Bordeaux to check 'em out. Because I do, actually, want to know. And I would make good use of the opportunity to sip a little wine, also. Or, perhaps, just a scholarship for eight of the the little copper molds? You can see a qualified person making them just so, in proper copper, here.
These are a strange little treat, best IMO, eaten fresh, but cooled down. They are made with a crepe kind of batter that gets sweet, hard and very dark on the outside, and is custardy-soft-sweet in the middle. A sweet that's not too sweet- my favorite kind. And there is definitely some familial relationship between (mine at least), and popovers and/or yorkshire pudding. Which, of course, are both lighter in weight, and not sweet at all, but still.
You've got to make the batter at least 12 hours ahead, which is the only remotely difficult part of this version. Other than that, it's dead easy- which is what makes me suspect I've got it wrong. I know they look homely before you taste them, but they look beautiful to me now. This recipe makes 8 of the non-mini cannele, and fits exactly into the silicon molds, now available in a number of places. I spray mine with a bit of canola oil spray, though supposedly the silicon molds don't need it. If they stick a bit, PW recommends gentle nudging with a toothpick, and I concur. Don't use a knife and mar the shiny surface!
12-24 hours before you bake your cannele, put 2 oz. of unsalted butter and a cup of milk in a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup or glass bowl of similar size. Microwave for just long enough to melt the butter-almost. With a small whisk (the ones that look like they are from Mars, with the little balls on the ends of flexible metal sticks are dandy for this, as they emulsify well.) Whisk in one egg, an egg yolk, 2 tsps vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup of rum, and mix with the whisk until smooth.
In a slightly larger bowl, mix 2/3 cup of granulated sugar with 1/2 cup all purpose flour. Pour in about one third of the liquid, and mix up until thick and smooth. Then when you whisk in the rest, it won't go lumpy. Make sure you don't add the liquid all at once. But if you do- pour it through a sieve, to get the lumps out. Now , if you have used the big pyrex cup, which has a pouring spout, pour your smooth mixture back into it. This will be nice for filling the mold the next day. Cover, and refrigerate.
12-24 hours later, spray your mold with some flavorless cooking oil, and set it on a baking sheet. People often tell you not to do this, but it will neither damage your molds, nor change the taste or appearance of your silicon baked cannele. And they are the devil to get out whole, if you do not. Or, you could do the wax thing...but I haven't. If I ever get some copper molds, I will try it. Take the batter out of the fridge, and give it a little whisk-up to make sure it is of even thickness. Fill each of the eight sections of the mold almost to the top. If you have got a convection toaster oven, you can put it in cold, turn it to 400F, and cook for an hour and a half. If not, preheat your oven to 300F, put them in for a half hour, and turn it up to 400F to cook for an hour an a half more. These times are approximate, and depend on your oven. You must watch them and see how they look.
The tops (ultimately the bottoms) of your cannele will rise, and then sink down a bit. They should be very, very dark. Look at the photos at the linked site above, and the ones noted below, to get the idea. When you think they are done, take them out. Let them sit 5 minutes, on the tray and then try getting them out with as little handling as possible. Let them cool completely, on a rack, but not sit too long. (Leftover cannele are lovely, too, but don't hold a candle to the same day product.) When they are nearly ready, make a pot of tea or coffee for yourself, and/or other worthies. Consume. I reckon you'll be glad you made them.