February 18, 2013
cannelés salés au saucisse et fromage
(popovers with sausage and cheese)
Cannelés can be a mystery. Although there is evidence of their popularity in the southwestern France in the nineteenth century, they seemed to have died out until being revived in the last third of the twentieth century. Now they are easy found in most pâtisseries, and even a few souls attempt them at home.
Traditionally, they are made with uniquely shaped, tin‑lined copper molds. Now less expensive silicone‑rubber molds are available that produce a multiplicity of cannelé sizes.
When I spent sometime in the kitchen of La Folie in San Francisco. One of the standard mignardise items was a miniature cannelé. When these came back from a guest uneaten, I was always available to sacrifice myself so they wouldn’t finish their lives in a land fill.
I longed to be able to make these at home. I found a recipe that I could trust. I bought various sized molds online. I hesitated. I’d always read how these usually don’t turn out good when made at home. Even the author of my trusted recipe said she had problems getting them to come out good.
But then one day I decided it was time. I pulled out the recipe, divided the quantities in half since I was making mini‑cannelés, and prepared a batch. They came out fine. Very tasty.
It was only after I bit into my first one did I realize that cannelés are nothing more than caramelized custard. The trick is how to control the browning process to get the crunchy exterior.
I spent the rest of the afternoon reading various cannelé recipes online. Many had lots of hocus‑pocus in their instructions. Most said that they needed to be eaten shortly after baking. Almost all said the batter had to rest for one or more days before baking.
I then noticed that crunchy exterior didn’t last long in my humid kitchen, and it didn’t come back very well when reheated. I also decided that it would be interesting to create a savory version of these little mouthfuls. Then I stumbled on a YouTube video of just that.
So I configured a recipe that was an amalgamation of the sweet recipe I had used plus the new one from YouTube. I gave it a try. It worked. These savory cannelés didn’t hold their shape as well as the sweet ones, but they were still interesting. I’ve decided that now they essentially are filled popovers made in a cannelé mold.
One batch of batter was enough for 30 cannelés using my 12‑cavity mold where the cavities are about 2.5 cm (1 in) round by a similar depth. I use only the cavities around the perimeter because the center two cavities don’t seem to cook as well.
I used a French‑produced Swiss cheese, but probably any hard, melting cheese will work fine. I used a hot link that I had on hand, but any spicy sausage should work. I think a hot Italian sausage would work great.
200 ml (0.85 c or 634 fl oz)
whole milk
50 ml (313 T)
heavy cream
50 g (134 oz)
unsalted butter
extra‑large egg
extra‑large egg yolk
100 g (312 oz)
all‑purpose flour
fine salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
spicy sausage, cut into 6‑mm (14‑in) cubes
gruyere, or similar cheese, cut into 6‑mm (14‑in) cubes
1. Place the milk, cream, and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer to melt the butter. Beat the egg and yolk together, and add to flour. Mix well. Slowly add the liquid to the flour mixture until a smooth batter results. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside for an hour, or overnight if you have time.
2. Preheat your oven to 250 °C (480 °F).
3. Pour a thin layer into the bottom of the cavities in a silicone‑rubber cannelé mold placed on a baking sheet. Add a couple of pieces of the sausage into the cavities. Add a little more batter followed by a few cheese cubes. Lastly top the cavities with the batter.
4. Place the baking sheet with the mold into your oven for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, lower the heat to 200 °C (390 °F), and continue baking for another 20 minutes.
5. Remove the baking sheet from your oven, and transfer the cannelés to a cooling rack.
6. The cannelés are best served warm. If cold, reheat in a 250 °C (480 °F) for about 5 minutes.

© 2013 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.