Falling in love with a little custardie cake, le Canelé, can be quite deleterious to your health.
I'd resisted the flirtatious wiles of the canelé for a long time, but at the Perigord Foire the old coup de foudre/flash of lightening hit and it hard.
Handmade by Lucette of Hautefort in Perigord using walnuts picked from her own grove (usually only vanilla and rum are the only addends to the egg and milk mixture), these rustic babies were irresistible. I even went back to the well for a third helping(!) and decided I must do some caparitive analysis with Parisian canelés.
Research began Sunday morning right after a dunk in the pool at nearby boulangerie, Le Moulin de la Vierge.
Le Moulin is one of the prettiest of Paris' boulangeries but see the yellow tops on these canelés?
That's a no-no according to Paula Wolfert and top pastry chefs of Bordeaux. These little cakes originated over 300 years ago either by nuns (nuns get a lot of credit for creating cakes in France by the way) or else by poor Bordelaises down by the waterfront with bits of leftover flour and egg yolk etc.
Next stop Maison Lemoine originating in Bordeaux with branches in St.-Emilion, Sarlat, Cap-Ferret.
Even Lemoine's logo is a canele cake
They sell the preferred copper molds or moules to make these puppies or you can find silicone molds in any Paris pastry supply shop.
Lemoine makes a soft/moille canele and a crispy or croustillant version with a more crunchy caramelized outer shell. Both had a cakey aroma or nez. The crispy version can be quite chewy.
Just across the street on rue St. Dominique patisserie Jean Millet is a member of Relais Desserts so anything they do is generally delish.
Note the spelling here all you ex-French teachers!
Only authentic cakes from Bordeaux are allowed to use the single N in the spelling. It's the law according to 88 pastry chefs of Bordeaux who hold dear the secret recipe to this little cake.
Only about 1 1/2" high but there's a lot of protection for this recently back-in-fashion pastry - just the past 20 years or so.
The biggest Bordeaux brand of canele is Baillardran. They have a shop in gare Montparnasse.
They offer 3 levels of quality. I got the 'traditional', their top canele with visible flecks of vanilla, a rummy aroma and a little red paper crown for 2.30 euros.
Still after tasting as many of Paris' best example to be found on a rainy Sunday afternoon none comes close to the artisanally made canele by Lucette from La Noix Patiente/ the patient nut of the Perigord fair at Montmartre. I should have known and not gone off on a tasting tangent that has left me with a tummy ache. These little cakes are meant to be eaten just one at a time. And multiple taste-testing by one person is not such a hot idea. I guess I'll have to visit Perigord if I want another ONE!