When I find one, the story is always the same – they are posting about the the unholy difficulty of making canelés.
Teddy Roosevelt said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” so I know he would have just loved canelés because it’s 17 steps, 48 hours and numerous opportunities for failure until a canelé is produced, and even then, if you had even the tiniest most innocuous slip along the way – say, your butter was too warm, or your milk not warm enough – it might be fugly.
The baker in this instance did pretty good though she admits that perfection eludes her.
That’s how it is with canelés. You become obsessed with perfection. You walk past your bookshelf and see Carly Fiorina’s memoir – the first one, where she was still the darling of the Fortune 20 – and you snort at the title “Perfect Enough”.
In the world of canelés, perfection is not a continuum, it is binary. It is not a battle to achieve perfection so much as a war – a dedicated, long-term campaign that requires strategy and artistry.
A friend of mine just tried making canelés and it took her 5 times to get it mostly right. I greatly enjoyed watching her post her progression, which at one point hilariously included using a silicon mold of R2D2. The ensuing robot canelés were super cute and a big hit with her son though no self-respecting French person would deign to eat one, no matter how delicious or perfectly robot-like it was.
Making canelés reminds me of a book I recently finished by a famous entrepreneur, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. Making canelés is hard – maybe that’s what makes loving them so easy. Because when you finally get it right, there is nothing as perfectly delicious as the canelé.
Call me obsessive. I’ve managed to find a set of copper moldsandbeeswax (with the help of the dear friends, of course! x) yet I didn’t have enough time with my trip up north andthe pastryrequires yourbig attention right from the start till finish. So I have read blogs over blogs duringthe wait as if the biggest exam is coming along.
I strictly followed the method as they’re famous for being tricky-just like any other French pastries. :p After about an hour-ish of baking (and moving the puffed ones in and out), there they are, my very first Canelés de Bordeaux.All of them were very crunchy and custardy in the middle once they came to room temperature. Totally made my day! They were not 100% perfect though. Some of the bottoms were burnt. I found them a tad too sweet for my liking and I don’t think I have…
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