There are certain foods that I know I will never attempt to make at home.
Ones that are intimidating because they come with 300 years of history and refinements.
And require a special tin-lined copper pan.
And beeswax to grease it.
And some milk-scalding and batter-straining.
And more than 48 hours of delaying gratification.
And, as if they could get any more high-maintenance, canelés can't even decide whether they are spelled with one 'n' or two.
So when someone else tackles these fluted pastries from Bordeaux with the burnished--almost black--caramelized crusts, and the impossibly tender, custard-y interiors, I must buy one and then drive home 209 miles with it tempting me from the front seat where I direct the air conditioning vents towards it and all but buckle it in.
Anything approximating a handheld crème brûlée deserves to be eaten with strong coffee and infinitesimal bites--not snatched from a bag held between my knees while trucks thunder by.
Made with nothing more than milk, eggs, salted butter, flour, sugar, vanilla, and (sometimes) rum, canelés are all about the method.
One that I'll forever pretend is immaculate conception.