I am a changed woman.
Now, whether I've been changed for the better, that's for others to decide. I was right when I thought I would love France. I really loved France. The countryside, the art, the bread, and the language all cast their spells on me. Don't get me started. I couldn't communicate much more than "Parlez-vous anglais?" and "Je ne sais pas parler francais", but I lovingly listened to people speak to me in French. The sounds are like strokes on a canvas of the most beautiful colors.
Anyway. I digress. Bordeaux.
If you want to see a city with pleanty to do but still managable and peaceful then visit Bordeaux. The architecture is a light sand color, with tasteful but glamerous ornimentation and sculpture. It's lovely and grand, but still easy on the eyes, lot too busy but never plain. Le Jardin Public is picturesque with families eating their baguettes and strawberries as the children run around in their sun hats. Renoir would approve.
One thing that's very popular there are these caneles de Bordeaux. They're little custardy treats that are like nothing I've had before. My wonderful couchsurfer host made them with me, so when I got home I was naturally eager to try again. Challenge: make a vegan version. Oh goodness, but that's blasphemy! The French love their creams and cheese.
I know. But I'm determined because I really prefer to procure ethically produced foods when possible, and I think plants rock. So, after trying a completely vegan version with tofu and soymilk and all that junk, I tried a version that uses local eggs and non dairy options. The caneles turned out excellent, and I feel fairly comfortable eating a canele that includes a neighborhood egg. It workes way better than tofu and is less processed, to be honest.
If you'd like to try this recipe, you will need a canele mold, which you can find at Sur La Table or Williams & Sonoma, but not Target. Sorry.
- 1/2 liter non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
- 2 tabelspoons vegan butter
Bring these ingredients to a boil in a saucepan then remove and let cool slightly.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 egg yolks (beaten)
- 2 eggs
Mix flour and sugar together, then add in eggs. Pour this into the saucpan and mix gently together forming a pancake-like batter. Let this mixture cool to warm or room temperature, then add 3-4 tablespoons of rum. Store this mixture in the fridge overnight to let all the flavors mature. Yum!
The next day (or the day after) preheat your oven to 495F. If you found silicone molds, then you don't need to grease them. Just pour the batter, filling the molds to about 3/4 of the way, then place them in the oven. After 5 minutes, turn down the oven to 350F and bake for another 45-60 minutes. You want to make sure the caneles are brown on the outside. In the inside they will still be soft and custardy and ...oh my goodness so good.
Let me know what you think! I'm still working on this recipe since I am no Julia Child. But practice makes... well....more practiced, I think.
I plan on visiting Bordeaux again soon. I was only there for a day and a half, and there really are so many beautiful corners to explore. My favorite was Darwin, a series of old warehouses that have been converted to art studios and skating rinks. And the river makes for a nice bike loop, with lots of places to stop along the way. I'm taking french lessons to prepare. I warned you- I'm obsessed!