February 12, 2006

Amarula Canelés

My third confession: I know nothing about alcohol. Many glossy cookbooks sternly warn the home cook to only cook with a wine you’d be willing to drink. They never tell you what to do if you’re infamous for liking terrible wines. For my bad education, I blame the cheap bottles of montepulciano and sangiovese I’d buy at the corner store in Bologna. And since I don’t really drink hard spirits, my kitchen cupboard is invariably always missing this-or-that liqueur called for in any given recipe.

Which leads me to another problem with being a wimpy drinker with bad taste: if a recipe calls for something that I don’t have, I often substitute in another type of alcohol totally unsuited to the purpose. So when last making canelés, and discovering that I had no rum, I happily subbed with several glugs of frangelico. And I must say in my defence, it tasted great, if somewhat inauthentic.

Which got me thinking, why not amarula?

Amarula is a South African liqueur made with fresh cream and the nut of the amarula tree. The resulting product is a creamy ivory, and tastes somewhat like kahlua; sweet, nutty and slightly musky. It goes great with coffee, and is simply splendid poured over vanilla ice cream (the dessert of choice for many discerning South Africans!). And let me tell you, it tastes good in canelés. Which I am thinking of renaming canalla (please in Cape slang) in honour of its South African make-over. Now, the recipe’s not quite perfect; the canelés puffed up alarmingly, and refused to get all black and burnt sugary. But with some tweaking, perhaps… I’ll keep you posted.

Until then, you can make the real deal. Here's a great recipe and description, on of the best foodblogs ever – Chocolate and Zucchini.



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