Paris Baguette's Unconventional Canele Still Satisfies
The Canele from Paris Baguette are unique among the dozen or so versions of this pastry available in New York. For one thing, they're very available, regardless of when you visit (most bakeries make small batches and sell out fast). They also have an excellent shelf life thanks to a custard-heavy recipe (more on that later). And finally, at $2.25 each,* they're by far the least expensive canele I'm aware of in the city. (The going rate for a full-size is typically between $3 and 3.50.)
* Update 11/18/013: Paris Baguette recently raised the canele's price to $2.25 from $1.80.
Purists however, may take issue with some of the characteristics of this recipe. For example, Paris Baguette doesn't try to create a crisp or crunchy crust on their canele. There's a slight snap when taking a bite, but nothing like the full-on crunch you experience with one of the better versions of the pastry, such as those found at Bosie Tea Parlor.
Aficionados may also take issue with the interior texture. Usually, the inside of a good canele is a balance between cake and custard. This canele is almost a solid custard inside, so much so that the texture could be described as a slightly porous flan. But here'e the thing about this non-traditional custard interior—it's really tasty! The flavor is like that of a gourmet vanilla pudding and I can see, smell, and taste the real vanilla beans. It's an incredibly satisfying sweet.
A final plus is the uniformity. I've purchased these on many different occasions and they are always exactly the same. If you're looking for classic, textbook version of a canele, you might want to skip this. But for everyone else, this is worthwhile and satisfying treat at less than $2 a pop.