Advent calendar in reverse: tonka bean canelés

Canelés at Beaune's market
Perfect canelés at Beaune’s Saturday market. They were pricey but so good!

Cookies, cakes, and all things sweet – have you started your holiday baking yet? If not, then what are you waiting for?! I like to try something new every year, yet in the interest of time and wanting to get more bang out of my baking, I was really happy to come across the post Christmas Cookie Calendar in Reverse. Kaisa (the author) suggests a new take on the Advent calendar. Starting from December 1st, bake small amounts of something different every day, freeze each baked good as they are done, and come Christmas Day you’ll have 24 delicious treats to please your guests! It’s a brilliant plan, but if you aren’t as gung-ho about cranking up the oven every 24 hours, she proposes the idea of baking every few days.

Canelés that were baked in silicone
Not perfect but totally okay baked in silicone. See that they’re positioned into a xmas tree?

I’m shooting for a bake-every-4-days plan and canelés will start things off. These mini french custard cakes are a feat of accomplishment when done to perfection (by that I mean with the expensive copper molds and beeswax coating), but they are just as satisfactory for the eyes and tooth when done in silicone molds. I’ve made them before with tin molds and they were a pain (some of them stuck), but this is the first time for using a cheap silicone one that I bought well over a year ago in France.

Tonka beans are an entirely french thing and I won’t go into detail since they’re most likely not easy to obtain for everyone. You can substitute with vanilla extract, orange liqueur, or whatever inspires your creativity. The individual capacity of my silicone mold is 1/3 cup. The following recipe makes 8 canelés so it did double the time to bake off the entire mixture. For an easy step-by-step demo, I suggest this youtube clip: Canelés by Cooking with Alia

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (50 grams if you have a precision scale)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tonka bean, grated (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
a pinch of salt
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
melted butter to brush the inside of the molds

1. Heat the milk together with the 2 tablespoons butter until bubbles form around the edge; stir in the grated tonka bean (or vanilla).

2. While the milk is heating, sift the flour into a bowl. Add the sugar, whole egg and egg yolk, and salt. Whisk until light, fluffy and pale in color.

3. When the milk is ready, whisk a small amount into the egg batter to avoid curdling. Gradually whisk in more milk, a little at a time, until all of the milk is incorporated. Allow mixture to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours (you want the batter to be really cold) or overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 210°C (450°F). Brush melted butter on the insides of the silicone mold and place in freezer to set up. When the molds are ready, pour in the chilled mixture (give it a good stir first), leaving some space at the top. NOTE: silicone molds will need to be set on a sturdy tray, preferably lined with baking parchment.

Silicone mold for canelés
Fill molds to just a little over 3/4 capacity

5. Bake at 210°C for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C (390°F) and continue baking for another 50-55 minutes until dark golden brown on the top. Remove to cool on a baking rack for a few minutes, then turn out onto a serving plate. Thoroughly cool canelés if you plan to freeze them. I freezed mine in an airtight container. To serve later on, remove from freezer and let them sit out for 10 minutes. Place them on a baking sheet and reheat for 7 minutes or so in an oven preheated at 370°F.

The initial rise
Tops rise above molds within the first 20 minutes, then fall back.

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8 thoughts on “Advent calendar in reverse: tonka bean canelés

  1. Pingback: Chocolate chocolate chip biscotti | Rubber Slippers In Italy

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    1. Rowena Post author

      If I can put a little more “d” in the word discipline, I might change that bake-every-4-days to bake-every-3. The tree goes up today! Piemonte and a xmas beer tasting this weekend. The Krampus and Saint Nick apples are coming to town!

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