I first had canneles in the town of St. Emilion, in Bordeaux (where there is literally a cannele shop on every street, and the scent of vanilla-rum wafts through the air), and quickly fell in love with them. I was living in France at the time and was working for a woman who taught cooking classes and had her teach me how to make them. I've tweaked that recipe quite a bit and turned it into what it the best cannele recipe of all time. In all my years of cannele eating, I have yet to find a cannele better than this one.
Cannele molds are available at specialty kitchen stores like Sur La Table. The metal molds will yield a slightly crispier product, but the silicone ones are easier to clean and don't require greasing. —Lauren Shockey
1 1/2 teaspoons
vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
good quality dark rum (I generally use Meyers)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups milk with the vanilla extract and butter. Bring just to a boil over the stove or in the microwave.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup of milk and blend well. Whisk in the first milk mixture along with the melted butter. Set aside to cool.
Add the sugar, flour, and rum to the milk mixture. Whisk vigorously so that there are no clumps remaining. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and whisk again. Pour mixture into cannele molds about 3/4 of the way to the top.
Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes (sometimes it takes as long as an hour and a half depending on your oven). Remove from the oven when the tops are dark brown (if it's been an hour and a half and the tops still aren't brown, cook longer). Let cool, then remove from molds.
Lauren Shockey is a New York City-based food writer and author of the cookbook Hangover Helper as well as the culinary memoir Four Kitchens. Previously the restaurant critic at the Village Voice, she has written for such publications as The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and the Wall Street Journal.