While in Bordeaux, I got slightly addicted to the local pastry. Okay, it was slightly more that slightly. Another 24 hours in the city and I would have had to check myself into rehab.
Baked using its own special fluted mold, the canelé is a cakey custard set within a firm caramelized crust. That crust, with its burnt sugars, gives it an initial bitterness, which is instantly balanced out — in both flavor and texture — by the sweet, creamy filling, enriched with hints of vanilla and dark rum.
The canelé is small and meant to be eaten in just a few bites (there’s also a miniature version that’s literally a bite). It’s light, it’s sweet, it’s on every street corner.
I haven’t had a whole lot of luck finding canelés here in the United States. (If you mention Trader Joe’s, we can no longer be friends.) But should your travels take you to New York, be sure to stop by Dominique Ansel Bakery in SoHo, where they do a very authentic rendition of the classic.