Tutorial: Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux

On a recent trip to New York, I had the delightful opportunity to visit Dominique Ansel’s bakery. Ansel, who created the Cronut (a croissant-doughnut hybrid), is one of the world’s most acclaimed pastry chefs. The French-trained Ansel holds numerous awards, including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. In 2017, he was named the World’s Best Pastry Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. The Daily Mail calls him “the most fêted pastry chef in the world.” Clearly, Ansel knows pastry.

Traditional canelés (cannelés) with dark rum and Tahitian vanilla split in half to show custardy interior

While the Cronut brought him fame in 2013 (TIME magazine even named the Cronut one of the “25 best inventions of 2013”), the employees I spoke to at Ansel’s eponymous pâtisserie were not particularly enthusiastic about the treat. “We get lines around the block, before we open, to this day,” one staff member sighed, “but really I find them a bit too sweet for my liking.” Instead, I was pointed toward Ansel’s unassuming canelés. There, sitting between the cookies in a small glass display, beckoned the most complicated pastry made in France.

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Vanilla Tart

­­­­I’m back from San Francisco, where I got to see a lot of really neat things like artichokes growing on Alcatraz and pistachios growing on a pistachio farm.

Do you like vanilla? This is a vanilla tart with white chocolate-vanilla ganache, rum-infused lady finger biscuit, vanilla mascarpone cream, and ground vanilla bean garnish!

I spent a lot of the trip searching for ingredients and equipment that is a tad difficult to find in Toronto, and I am happy to report that I found many great gadgets that I will share with you in the next few weeks.

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Tutorial: French Macarons

This is a tutorial for French macarons (also known as macarons), not for macaroons.

Macarons are delicate French pastries that come in hundreds of flavours and colours while macaroons are made from dessicated coconut and come in regular and chocolate, and that’s about it.

Macaron is pronounced [MAC-a-ron] while macaroon is pronounced [mac-a-RUNE]. Roll your Rs (and speak with a French accent) for the former. If you want some macaron recipes, please check out my recipe index!

Macarons are great for eating by themselves or, if you want to be fancy, make a great decoration for entremets.

So, let’s get started!

Help!There are thousands of recipes online for macarons, all slightly different. The problem is a lot of them aren’t very clear. Since macarons are very delicate, it’s important to have excellent technique. That’s hard to do though when recipes tell you to do things like fold the batter until it looks like “magma”. Seriously? Magma? Underground lava? That’s helpful.

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