Quick: name some French pastries. Croissants, eclairs, madeleines, macarons, and profiteroles probably come to mind. But there are plenty of traditional French pastries out there you’re probably not so familiar with, like jesuites, financiers, palmiers, and the one that’s quite possibly the most delicious of all: canelés. These little treats are astoundingly delicious, and they’re definitely worth knowing out.
Canelés are specialties of France’s Bordeaux region, and start off with an eggy, custardy batter made with eggs, sugar, milk, flour, and a little rum and vanilla for flavoring. The batter is baked in a fluted cylindrical mold that can range from a couple inches to four or five inches in height (preferably made out of copper), and when done properly the exterior takes on a deeply caramelized, slightly crunchy, slightly chewy crust while the inside remains soft, chewy, and slightly custardy. The flavors and textures all play off of each other, with spectacular effect, and it can be eaten in just two or three bites.
While they were once a rarity stateside, today you can find them at many high-end French pastry shops and bakeries; we’re especially fond of the one at Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York, home of the Cronut (but trust us, these are much better than Cronuts). Next time you pass that cute little bakery in your town, go in and ask if they have canelés. And if they don’t, ask them to start making some!