Ever sat in a meeting, nodding along like "Aw yeah, I'm with ya, I'm hearing whatcha bleatin'." But really, it's all in one ear, swirling about an empty cavity and out the other side? Ya, that's me on a semi regular basis.
Thankfully, I shed my inhibitions a long time ago. That, and the shame that goes with asking, "What? I totally wasn't listening." Today was one of those days.
I regularly daydream of winning tattslotto and what I'd say to my colleagues if I did. Truthfully, it's something along the lines of, "You guys were actually fun to work with and, I'm not yanking you chain when I say this, I really did learn a lot." I actually like my job.
It's more my imagination that gets away from me in meetings, and this was a particularly bad one. No issues, but I had baked a batch of canelles the night before and was dying to bust them open. Food always wins out in the battle of a Bennetto's brain space.
Canelles are a breeze to make. Simple batter, bit of resting, long bake. But there are a bunch of fiddly steps. Rest the batter once it's made. 2 days should do it - pretty helpful if you're prepping for a dinner party, not helpful if you're making them on a whim.
The pan needs to be greased. But not any old butter: white oil made from beeswax and rice bran oil. Freeze it for 30 minutes before baking. A solid 1 1/2 hours in the oven and you have success.
And what a success: crispy, leathery shell and soft, custardy interior. A slight sweet honey taste. So good.
So you can understand my preoccupation when sitting in a meeting with these bad boys staring up at me, screaming "Eat me! Eat me!" All talk of policy principles and customer interfaces fly out the window, and I find myself muttering about snack time and egg yolks.
Thankfully they indulged me and we dug in. Hubba hubba. Dream weaver played in my mind; maybe out aloud? There's no beating canelles.
Adapted from Paula Wolfert
2 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp brandy or rum (I used Prugna)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
Heat the milk, brandy and vanilla over a low heat. Don't bring to the boil - just heat til hot to the touch.
In a food processor, blend the butter, flour, cardamon and sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs - don't overmix. Add the yolks and mix briefly to combine. Add the heated milk mix and pour in while the processor is running.
Pour through a sieve into a jug. Cover with plastic and chill. Leave to stand for around 1 - 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. To make the white oil to grease your baking tins, heat a 5cm square piece of honeycomb (beeswax) in the microwave for around 20 seconds. Whip in around 2 tbsp of oil into the mix and brush onto the canelle tin until well coated.
Tip the canelle mix into the tins, filling to around 1/2 cm from the top. Freeze for around 20 minutes and then bake for at least 1 1/4 hour. Some of my batches took around 1 1/2 hours - you want them a deep brown for maximum crust on the outside.