February 22, 2009

Beaver tails and canele

It all started when I was unloading the dishwasher. I was trying to shove some clean pots into the bottom cupboard, and they wouldn't budge. Something was in the way. I got down on my hands and knees and pulled everything out, and found the madelaine pan I had purchased many years ago and never tried. Aha! oh, but wait... Madelaines. Lemon madelaines. I have lemons in the fridge just waiting to be used for some luscious purpose....

I pulled out the pan, put all the other stuff back in the cupboard, and searched through my recipe library for a good recipe for madelaines. It is a weird recipe - mostly eggs and very little flour, so one could easily argue that madelaines are a good breakfast cookie (I often feel the need to justify what I stick in my face!). I was quite proud of them, and I thought they looked just like they should, tasted lemony and had a light cake-like texture.

I had been looking at Paris Breakfasts' blog the night before, where she was talking about caneles, so I figured I might as well try them while I was playing in the kitchen. I found a lot of references and recipes online, and eventually decided on the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini mostly because all the other recipes called for a dozen eggs, and this one called for three. I don't have the required canele pans, but the recipes all referred to silicone pans, and the fact that the silicone pans are easier to use than the traditional copper. I do have a silicone muffin pan, and although it isn't as deep, I figured I could at least get an idea about whether caneles are the delicious magical treat every one claims they are. They are. They are supposed to look a bit burnt, although mine cooked quite a bit more quickly than the recipe suggested, because the pans are so shallow. They have a carmelly crunchy outside layer, and a custardy filling. I only filled the muffin pans three quarters full (and then they spilled as I was transferring them to the oven, because the damn pans aren't stable), so I would put the pan on a cookie sheet and fill them right to the top next time. They are easy to make, and definitely worth the effort. And since my silicone pans have this lovely rose shape, they are quite pretty as well!

Since I had already decided to dedicate my day to baking, I decided to try Beaver Tails. It was all over the news that Barack Obama stopped into a mall on his recent visit to Ottawa and while there he tried a Beaver Tail, which is supposedly a classic Canadian dish. I suppose that might be true if you live in Ottawa, but those of us in other parts of the country haven't ever heard of them. Of course, I have a recipe for stewed beaver tail, which was apparently a popular dish among settlers, but - ewww! The kind that Barack tasted was a pastry, so I hit the internet again. There are recipes all over the place for beaver tails, and they all seem to be exactly the same. They are a yeast-raised doughnut, but curiously, they also have eggs which help them rise quickly when they are in the oil (there's that great excuse to eat them for breakfast again!) Once you get the douhg prepared, it only takes about 2 minutes to cook them. They are great, and since I don't like anything really sweet, I just sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on them. I ended up making enough for my DH's social studies class.

1 comment:

MyThoughtsMyVoice said...

yummy i bet :-) kinda intrigued on the rose-shaped ones.

I may not be into baking but I do love to eat! :-)