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'Bunghole Pastries' and a Little Culinary History


On Friday I shared my Cannelés de Bordeaux for our French Winophiles blogging group. You can read my post - Definitively Bordeaux: Cannelés + Crémant without the Champagne Price Tag. Then, yesterday, I hopped on the Twitter chat for the group and Jeff, from Food Wine Click!, asked if anyone knew the history of Cannelés. I didn't. 

One of the many reasons I love being part of different blogging groups is what I learn about food and wine. In this case, Jeff, being one of the coordinators of the French wine group and a well-traveled Francophile, taught us all about these little pastries.

He posted a little Cannelés quiz...

"Cam, what is the ratio of egg yolks to whites in your recipe? What does the shape of the cannelés remind you? What is a traditional agent for fining wines in barrel?"

I failed miserably, by the way.

"Two egg yolks and two eggs. So four yolks and two white. 2:1 ratio. A hat?!? And I have no idea."

Thankfully Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles was the quiz winner. Then Tom chimed in with a link to his article on Forbes, "Consider the Cannelé - Bordeaux's Unusual Winemaking Pastry."  And we were all enlightened...and I was inspired.

In case you don't want to click over to Tom's article. Here are the answers: Many cannelés recipes use 100% egg yolks, no egg whites.  The whites were used for fining the wines, so they needed to use up all of the leftover yolks. Waste not, want not, right? And the cannelés shape resembles the plug for the bung hole in the barrel.

Ingredients
makes 16 cannelés bunghole pastries

As soon as the #Winophiles chat was over, I ran into the kitchen to try my hand at an egg yolk only recipe. And when I served them, the boys were only too excited to call these 'bunghole pastries.' Thanks, Jeff! At least we'll get a chuckle everytime I make these.


  • 2 C whole milk
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 2/3 C flour
  • 1-3/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t fine salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 C rum  Calvados (rum is traditional, I used an apple spirit from Normandy in this version)
  • Also needed: silicone molds, baking sheet

Procedure

Batter
Place the milk, butter, vanilla seeds and pod in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Take out, but save, the vanilla pod!

Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks to the bowl and whisk slightly to break up the yolks. Pour in the milk mixture, whisking constantly.

Whisk until you have a smooth batter. You can strain the batter through a sieve to remove lumps, if you wish. I didn't do this. Stir in the Calvados and add the vanilla pod back to the bowl. Let rest while the oven comes to temperature.

To Bake
Remove the batter from the fridge and give a gentle whisk. Preheat oven to 475°F. Place the molds on a baking tray and place - empty - in the oven for 5 minutes to heat them. Once heated, pour the batter into the molds, leaving a 1 cm gap to the top. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for another 60 minutes.


Invert the molds and remove the cakes. Leave them to cool on a wire rack...or devour immediately as my trio usually does!


I should add that two of the three liked this egg yolk-only version better. The other said, "No, I like Ms. Singer's recipe better." I, myself, didn't try them because I was on to my next culinary adventure. I wanted to make my Kouign Amann. I'll be posting that recipe momentarily. That's one good thing about our shelter-in-place order: lots of time for baking.

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