Shiny and new, before seasoning
Last year I picked up some high quality tin-lined copper canele molds from E. Dehillerin - only six because they were like 10 Euro each and I couldn't imagine myself making them often enough to buy a full dozen. Well, that was a good call because they are a pain! I used Chez Pim's method and recipe, and if you take the time to scroll through the entire post, you will understand why it was quite the daunting task. Unlike macarons that are just as dependent on having the right ingredients as the method, canele batter is very straight-forward, but the baking is what is so so finicky. I don't even want to get into the details because just thinking about it gives me a headache, and for some crazy reason I decided to make a lot of batter which meant caneles up the wazoo for an entire week. I would really like to know how bakeries make them in bulk because just baking off one batch of six took HOURS (really, read the Chez Pim post. I am not exaggerating). My very first batch (out of many, many batches) turned out the best, probably because I was getting more and more disgruntled.
Crisp and custardy, SO much better freshly baked
After I made my first batch I was really unsure if I did it correctly. They were quite tasty, but far more custardy and not as chewy as any I had before. The only ones I was familiar with in SF were from La Boulange ($1.75 each), so the next day I decided to pick a few up for comparison. I also got a few from Boulettes Larder ($3.50 each, good God). The La Boulange ones were baked really early in the morning, possibly at 1am according to the cashier, so I thought mine should be comparable since they were baked within a few hours.
I don't know when Boulettes Larder baked theirs since they seemed quite fresh, but mine were actually very similar. Delicately crunchy caramelization on the outside, soft, almost flan-like custard in the middle. Yes, this is how caneles are traditionally described, but let me tell you... the ones from La Boulange were completely different - not as crisp, and more chewy than custardy in the middle... almost mochi-like. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but everyone I had taste test the three agreed that theirs were the worst. While I could easily pat myself on the back, I won't because I would rather eat theirs than make them myself. While $1.75-$3.50 sounds insane for one canele, it is worth the trouble. Trust.
Boulettes Larder, my first batch (I was able to even out the coloring in subsequent batches), La Boulange