Perfection often comes in small packages.
And sweet perfection – well, these days we find that it measures precisely 5.5 cm in diameter, with fluted sides, has a thin, crisp, and heavily caramelised crust, and a creamy, rich crumb that speaks sweetly of vanilla and rum. Yes, we’re talking cannelés, the signature pastry of Bordeaux. Traditionally its thin shell is a product of a hot oven and a fiendishly expensive copper.
Traditionally its thin shell is a product of a hot oven and a fiendishly expensive copper mould coated laboriously with beeswax. Its custardy insides were born of necessity, when – centuries ago – the nuns who invented the cake were obliged to bake with egg yolks instead of whole eggs because Bordeaux vintners used up all local egg whites to clarify their wines. This perfect contrast of crust and crumb does not last long: peak cannelé is necessarily fresh. Selflessly, for some months now, we have been sampling cannelés from coast to coast in search of the ideal. And we found it at last, in Toronto’s Corktown, at Roselle. The bad news is that only 12 are available each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The good news is that each one is perfect.
Roselle is at 362 King Street East in Toronto.