A few years ago while the macaron craze was ramping up, I really thought the canele was going to catch on and become the next big thing in New York. But the trend never materialized, and their lack of popularity only served to make them even more cherished by diehard fans. So when I received a tip that the The Lambs Club, the clubby-feeling midtown restaurant, was selling caneles during their breakfast service, I made a point to schedule a visit as soon as possible.
It turned out to be a fruitful trip. Not only does the Lambs Club offer caneles ($4) seven days a week, but they also use real copper molds for real caramelized edges. Only about a half-dozen bakeries or restaurants in New York offer caneles at all, and an even smaller number use "old school" real copper molds; most use cheaper, lower-maintenance silicone.
The pastry itself has all the characteristics of a perfect canele: the unique aroma of rum, real vanilla beans and egg; a crunchy, caramelized outer crust and a sweet, custard-like inside. The vanilla flavor was particularly enjoyable. This canele deserves a spot with Bosie Tea Parlour, Epicerie Boulud and Dominique Ansel Bakery on the very short list of top caneles in New York City.
What else should you try on your visit? We recently profiled Pastry Chef Björn Böttcher in a behind-the-scenes look at his passion fruit semifreddo.