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Canelés - simple but not easy - Part V

Thanks, Trewq and Souschef, for your suggestions. I will make notes and incorporate them the next time I make canelés -- which won't be for at LEAST 2-3 weeks, since DH & I have eaten two dozen of them now. That'll kill anyone's canelé cravings for a while!
Trewq, I really suggest that you explore a little in the Parc Lafontaine area, esp the streets to the west of the park. There are some great little neighbourhood restaurants and shops. Ah, Mile End - I used to live there (St. Viateur & Clark) back when it was an up-and-coming place (before mass gentrification). Also, if you've never explored Bernard Ave. in Outremont (specifically west of Park Ave.) - that is kind of a food mecca (including Bilbouquet Ice Cream - Montreal's closest thing to Paris' Berthillion). And Laurier St., east of St. Laurent Blvd, which includes a couple of French bakeries and Chez L'Evecque (a "classic" French bistro, with no attempt to serve "nouvelle" cuisine). There are also some funky new eateries in & around the gay village, and you could always snoop around Little Italy (which could be combined with the Jean Talon market visit). BTW, the 2 markets are not near each other -- that would be too much goodness in too close proximity!!!

Nov 13, 2010
Wildtowner in Home Cooking

Canelés - simple but not easy - Part V

I'll break this into 2 sections (1. Canelés; 2. Montreal), so that canelé-fans won't have to read through travel recommendations ;^ )
I can't cook them much longer -- at 90 min, the outsides were burnt and the insides were dried out. Ewww. I might need to play with a slightly higher start temp or same start temp, but leave them longer than 15 min before turning down the oven. I wonder if Souschef has any thoughts on this with his engineer-style attention to detail (love it!).
I wonder whether there is only so much I can do, given the use of silicone molds... but at $20+ for each Mauviel, it'll be a cold day in hell before I buy those from one of the pigs flying by...
I also wonder whether my super-short baking times have something to do with weather issues -- I am baking in the desert, with a relative humidity of 10%. Ottawa, where Souschef bakes, has normal humidity around 45% on a sunny day. So I suspect that my batter cooks and dries out MUCH faster -- plus, I am using a Cadco oven, which is normally at LEAST 25% faster than a regular oven.
2. Montreal
Trewq, it sounds like you've been there MANY times before, so I'm sure I don't need to tell you about things like downtown and the "new & hip" restaurants that the NYTimes writes about.
So, I'll try to keep my recommendations on the topic of food, but not limited to restaurants, and I'll try to suggest things that you might not find in the NYTimes.
Just in case, though, IMHO the best French bakeries in Montreal are (in no particular order):
Duc de Lorraine, Compte de Provence, Patisserie Belge, Patisserie de Nancy, Mamie Clafoutis (they're newer and I haven't been), Patisserie de Gascogne, and Le Fromentier for bread. There are also a bunch of new ones (in the last 4 years) that I don't know at all.
Interesting food stores - "real people" stores as opposed to the "Olive and Gourmando"-type places (of which there are many). Try La Vielle Europe on Boul. St. Laurent (browse for E. European foods, jams, etc.), Adonis Lebanese Market on Sauvé Ouest (the ONLY baclava that I have ever enjoyed, olives, fresh nuts, interesting new foods to experiment with), Atwater Market (the Jean Talon market was mentioned earlier, but I'm an Atwater Market girl because it's more French-oriented with many butcher shops and cheese shops, whereas Jean Talon is more Italian-oriented). I also love the choc. chip bagels at Fairmount Bagel Bakery (don't diss 'em 'till you try 'em - not very sweet, just a few bits of semi-sweet chocolate and some chunks of candied orange peel. I eat 'em plain.). Get out and explore a neighbourhood you've never been to (esp on the French side) -- there are remarkably few places in Montreal that are unsafe. That's one of it's greatest attributes. There are many commercial streets in Outremont, and near Parc Lafontaine that one can explore, enabling you to "discover" your own treasures. Sigh. I miss it.

Nov 13, 2010
Wildtowner in Home Cooking

Canelés - simple but not easy - Part V

Hi, folks! I'd like to add to the canelés discussion. In a moment of madness, I decided that I wanted to try these little beauties. I have just finished my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd batches. Here's what I've done:
Equipment: Cadco professional convection oven; Paderno 1.5" silicone molds sprayed with Pam, ordinary baking pan, Vitamix 5200 for mixing batter.
Recipe: Roux's recipe -- EXCEPT that I used 2.5 cups of fresh whole milk instead of mixing water and milk powder. Filled molds 1/4 inch from the top of the mold (last batch to tops).
Aging of batter: In fridge for 72 hours (I meant to bake after 48 hours, but I was too busy!)
Baking times/temps (turned pan every 15 min):
Batch 1 - 15 min @ 425F, then 60 min @ 350F, then turn oven off and let sit for 15 min.
Batch 2 - 15 min @ 425F, then 45 min @ 325F, then turn oven off and let sit for 15 min.
Batch 3 - 15 min @ 425F, then 45 min @ 300F, then turn oven off and let sit for 10 min.
Batch 1 -- Colour - slightly too dark, overcooked interiors, thick, tough crust.
Batch 2 -- Colour - good, good but not really creamy interiors, crust thicker than I wanted.
Batch 1 -- Colour - slightly too light, creamy interiors, crust not too thick, but not quite crispy enough.
Details & Questions
No skin formed on my batter.
Popover effect -- I didn't get a lot of it; most were more "domed" than popover-ish. Only the last batch, which I filled all the way to the top (trying to use up the batter!) did the popover thing. Does aging the batter longer cause the eggs to deflate enough to prevent the popover effect?
Problem -- how to get rid of the rounded bottoms so that my little babies will sit up straight?!
NO migration of the batter -- it stayed at the bottom of the molds 100% of the time.
No misshapen ones, some horizontal "channels" in along the exteriors (esp. batches 2 & 3).
End product -- batch 3 was acceptable, if a little tough-skinned. Next time I'll keep everything the same except that I'll cook for less time at a slightly higher temp.
Any thoughts from the group?
BTW, I am a born 'n bred Montrealer (now living in the US West) and I miss my city and the FOOD there EVERY minute of every day!!! How nice to see that some of you appreciate the place!

Nov 11, 2010
Wildtowner in Home Cooking

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Fabulous rich cupcake recipe (and so it should be -- it has twelve (12) tablespoons of butter in it!!!!). I made a basil glaze instead of the salted caramel frosting, and they were a hit at a bake sale in SF's Noe Valley. Moist, moist, moist...

Oct 05, 2010
Wildtowner in Recipes

shrimp & grits

For a 100% meat-free option, try Shrimp with Basil-Garlic Butter ( I serve it over grits, and have gotten rave reviews on more than one occasion!

Sep 06, 2010
Wildtowner in Home Cooking

Foods you love at Trader Joe's that got discontinued? [OLD]

Does anyone remember TJ's Sourdough Crackers?! (RIP since 2006) They had a really strong, wonderful sourdough taste (very adult!) and a brisk crunch. More importantly, does anyone know of another similar product out there?!

Aug 25, 2010
Wildtowner in Chains

I need help with Ice Cream stabilizers...

I have a new source for Cremodan 30 stabilizer: Sotiros Foods ( I found them because "icaffe", recommended below, seems to be out of business.
Sotiros are MUCH less expensive than places like L'Epicier, they will sell to home cooks, and they are very nice to deal with. The only drawback is that they're not fully web-operational -- once you find what you want in their on-line catalog, you'll need to telephone them and speak to their internet sales guy, Glynn. The whole process only takes about a week from phone call to receipt of product if you're quick to send in your check.

Aug 17, 2010
Wildtowner in Home Cooking