Tracy Dempsey's Caneles, the French Treat We Just Had to Try for Ourselves
Photo: Jennifer Woods
Caneles were one of our picks as a food trends in 2012. Naturally, we've been wanting to try one. Taking one for the team (ha ha), we followed Tracy Dempsey on Monday afternoon into the commissary kitchen of Arcadia Farms in Old Town Scottsdale, where she makes her many Tracy Dempsey Originals confections -- including caneles. They have a chewy exterior and a sweet pudding-like interior with a flavor profile similar to crème brûlée.
"I first had one a number of years ago in Clermont-Ferrand, France, where I lived and return when able. My friend told me to try one from a specific bakery. My husband and I were sure they were dipped in chocolate -- they were just that dark! The first taste was hard to describe. So different and new. We were hooked. One of my cats bought me a full sheet pan caneles flexiform a number of years ago for Christmas and I've been baking them since," says Dempsey.
She picked up the bowl of prepared batter and swirled it around to demonstrate the thin consistency. She told us it's "very much like crepe batter."
"We make our batter with vanilla bean, rum, eggs, milk, flour and sugar. We let it mature overnight before baking," Dempsey says. "They take quite some time in the oven. The outside caramelizes to a deep amber and the center remains creamy almost like crème brûlée in the center. They are chewy, creamy, custard-y, vanilla-y goodness."
Photo: Jennifer Woods It's like a super-sweet mash-up of a chewy cookie, crème brûlée, pudding and candy -- delicious.
Dempsey's caneles can be found at the new-ish Marketplace at Arcadia Farms for $1.50 apiece. We know that Christopher Gross also is making them from time to time at his restaurant Christopher's and we heard that you might also find them at Noca.
Does anyone else know where you can find caneles in the Valley? We would not be adverse to judging a canele showdown if there happens to be a proliferation of the treat around town. Just sayin'.