Canele recipe that breaks the mould

Caneles are a traditional French pastry. Photo: Steve Shanahan
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Despite their size, these little pastries are surrounded by much tradition, myth and misconception. This mystery not only relates to their provenance but the mistaken believe that great patisserie skills are needed to produce a perfect pastry confection. Seriously, if you can cook pancakes, you can cook caneles.

As far as their origin goes, holding Google up as your reference source, they hail from somewhere in France, particularly Bordeaux. This information is highly dependent on which page of research you stumble upon but if you are wandering around the Bordeaux area of France, you cannot miss the plentiful supply of these cakes sold everywhere.

The other controversy surrounding the canele is which cooking receptacle provides the best result. Canele traditionalists, and there is such a group, claim the little French copper moulds produce perfection, and I would agree with this. If you are going to go to the trouble of sourcing and using the copper canele moulds, then you would probably go to the extent of coating each mould with organic edible beeswax prior to baking. I agree this sounds a bit extreme, but it is fully traditional and gives the canele its crispy exterior.

However, the much more economically priced silicone moulds still produce an excellent canele with the mandatory crispy exterior and molten interior without the need to use beeswax or copper. The canele moulds are easily purchased on Ebay or Amazon for well under $15. The result is a little more rustic, but not discernibly different.

If you plug “canele” into Google, you will see there is a significant amount of discourse about the difficulties of making these pastries and they are the subject of numerous blogs that wax lyrical about methods and equipment. I have made these gorgeous little cakes a number of times and haven’t experienced any failures using the silicone moulds and the following recipe.

Caneles are delicious warm or cold and keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. They are usually quickly eaten, but if you have any left, they can be warmed for  10 seconds in the microwave oven to freshen up.

They can be eaten warm or cool, and keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. My favourite is warm, where the outside is crispy and the inside is soft and a little molten.

This mixture produces about 20 caneles and the mixture should be left at least 24 hours in the fridge before baking.  If baking for kids, leave out the rum in the recipe below.Caneles

2 cups whole milk

30g unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla paste

100g plain flour, sifted

1 tsp sea salt

180g sugar

3 eggs

80ml good quality rum

Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. In the meantime, combine the sifted flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat gently without incorporating any air. When the milk mixture starts to simmer, remove from the heat and set it aside.

Pour the eggs all at once into the flour then, immediately after, pour the milk mixture into the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Do not whisk as you do not want to incorporate air. Add the rum and stir. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to three days. The longer this mixture is left the better the flavour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to a very hot 250C. Lightly grease the canele moulds with melted butter. Remove the batter from the fridge and stir to incorporate the liquids that may have separated. Do not whisk.

If using a silicone mould, place the mould onto an oven tray for ease of handling. Fill each mould almost to the top with the batter and put into the oven to bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, reduce the temperature to 200C and place a piece of silicone baking paper on top of the caneles to stop them from burning. Bake for a further 20 minutes. The tops of the caneles should be a dark golden colour.

Remove from the oven and leave for about 15 minutes before unmoulding the caneles onto a cooling rack. They should drop out easily from their moulds and as they cool further, will collapse only very slightly.

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Brad ‘Freddy’ Fittler is ready to coach the NSW Blues in game two of rugby league’s State of Origin

It has been a decade since his last State of Origin game, but Brad Fittler is back to torment the Maroons.
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Fittler will play an even bigger role in NSW’s preparations for game II at ANZ Stadium after accepting a role as an assistant to coach Laurie Daley. The man dubbed ”Freddy” will step into the breach after Paul McGregor had to scale back his commitment after he was appointed a caretaker coach of St George Illawarra. McGregor, a former Blues player himself, will still be involved on game day as the man who runs the water and messages to the players.

Fittler is one of NSW’s favourite sons and remains the state’s most capped player with 31 appearances between 1990 and 2004. The former Penrith and NSW pivot also captained the Blues through one of their more successful periods.

Fittler was already heavily involved in the team’s preparations as the coach of the City Origin side. Like Country counterpart Trent Barrett, the 42-year-old chose his team in consultation with Daley to ensure it was a genuine State of Origin trial.

He was also a part of the team’s preparations going into their upset win at Suncorp Stadium, although a virus forced him to leave their Coffs Harbour base to prevent him from infecting the players.

Fittler has taken on another personal project that could pay dividends for the Blues down the track. The premiership-winning playmaker has taken it upon himself to mentor troubled star Blake Ferguson, who remains deregistered from the NRL despite being signed for off-field duties with the Roosters. Ferguson is battling a serious leg injury but is hoping to return to the NRL – and potentially NSW – next year if he can prove to the governing body that he has his life back on track.

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Literacy, numeracy test for teachers

ALL teaching students in NSW will have to pass a ‘‘tough’’ literacy and numeracy test before they can graduate amid concerns some new teachers struggle to explain maths and grammar concepts to their students.
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Students who fail the new online test, which will be rolled out by 2016, will not be allowed to complete their final practical assessment in the classroom, which would stop them graduating.

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli, said he expected high standards from teaching graduates and the new test would ensure every student graduating from a teaching course in NSW had adequate literacy and numeracy skills.

‘‘The test will be quite difficult, quite complex, and so it should be,” Mr Piccoli said.

‘‘I don’t resile for one minute from setting very high standards and guarding them with things like a literacy and numeracy test.”

Mr Piccoli said universities and schools had reported graduate teachers struggling to explain maths and grammar concepts.

NSW would become the first state to set such a test, with a complete roll-out planned for 2016 after trials this year and next.

Students will be able to sit the test as many times as they wish – “a little bit like your driver’s test”, Mr Piccoli said.

But Tom Alegounarias, president of the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Training, said some students would not be able to pass at all.

‘‘If history and common sense about tests apply, there will be students who find that they are not suited to teaching,” Mr Alegounarias said.

He said universities should encourage students to sit the tests early in their degrees, but a high failure rate would not necessarily prompt revised, easier questions.

“If students are failing because they don’t have the requisite knowledge, that would not be a reason to change the test,” Mr Alegounarias said.

Emma Semrani, a fourth-year teaching student at the Australian Catholic University, is doing her practical placement at Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Menai.

‘‘We need to ensure that we are competent in what we do so we give children the best chance of the best future possible,’’ Ms Semrani, 21, said.

‘‘I think it’s important that you as a teacher constantly revisit material to make sure you are up to date.

‘‘You’re not always going to be 100 per cent competent in your own literacy or numeracy because you have to teach all key learning areas.”

Mr Piccoli said all NSW vice-chancellors had agreed to the new assessment, devised by the Australian Council for Education Research and the NSW Board of Studies.

As part of improving teacher quality, students starting a teaching degree from school will also need three Band 5 Higher School Certificate results, one of which must be English.

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MPs call for halt to reform as homeless ‘miss out’

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CAMPAIGN: Sonia Hornery and Linda Burney join local MPs and candidates at Wallsend Women’s Refuge. Picture: Phil Hearne

LABOR MPs and candidates have launched a campaign in the Hunter to stop homeless people falling through the cracks, urging the state government to halt “ill-thought-out reforms”.

At least six specialist homelessness services are at risk of closure in the region because they have so far missed out on ongoing funding.

This is due to the government’s Going Home Staying Home reforms, which have consolidated 336 individual services into 149 new service packages that will be led by 69 non-government organisations.

Under the new system, the Hunter New England district will receive $17.91million a year – an increase of 9per cent, or $1.51million of funding, on the previous financial year.

However, the Labor MPs are concerned that smaller services such as the Hunter’s Warlga Ngurra Women and Children’s Refuge miss out.

The Warlga Ngurra refuge provides shelter and support to people fleeing domestic violence and is run by people from Aboriginal backgrounds.

“It’s been operating very successfully for 25 years – it wasn’t invited to tender because it’s a small service,” shadow minister for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said yesterday.

“It has served as a refuge, particularly for Aboriginal women and their children, and helped them to get their life back, to get their licences back, to get jobs and to find a home. Many of the really little services have been swallowed up – and because the government has moved from 336 individual services to 149 service packages.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney, member for Cessnock Clayton Barr and shadow minister for the status of women Sophie Cotsis were also present for the launch in Wallsend, along with Hunter Labor candidates for next year’s state election.

They talked about how the Yacaaba Centre in Port Stephens, the Upper Hunter Community Services in Muswellbrook and the Ungooroo Aboriginal Corporation at Singleton had also missed out on funding and were likely to close.

“This is one of the most ill-thought reforms I have ever seen in my 35 years of public life,” Ms Burney said.

“This is going to make the issue of homelessness, particularly for women and children escaping violence, even more difficult.

“It’s not too late to press the stop button in this.”

A spokeswoman from Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton’s office said the Labor Party was defending a homelessness services system that was “simply not delivering for the most vulnerable in the community”.

“Many millions of taxpayer dollars have been thrown at homelessness services over the years but it has clearly not worked,” she said.

“Between the last two censuses, in 2006 and 2011, homelessness in NSW increased by 27per cent.

“Under Labor and the old system, too many people in need were falling through the cracks. Labor and the Greens are making claims which are not only deceptive and misleading, but prey on the fears of the very people they claim to be supporting.

“While service providers may change under the Going Home Staying Home reform, the services they delivered will continue.

“There will still be specialist services including for women and children escaping domestic and family violence in the new system.”

The spokesman also highlighted that none of the 1300 crisis and transitional accommodation properties owned by the NSW government would be closing.

Some would get a change of management, but they would continue to be used to help those who needed it, particularly ‘‘women escaping domestic violence”, she said.

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Cruise operators accused of misleading travellers over Anzac centenary anniversary tours

The dawn service at Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, 2014. Only those who have won the ballot will be able to attend next year’s service marking the centenary anniversary of the Anzac landing. Photo: Joe Armao The Australian and Turkish governments have accused tour operators of misleading travellers by continuing to advertise cruises that offer access to the Gallipoli Peninsula for the Anzac Day dawn service next year, marking the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings.
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The Turkish government has also told Fairfax Media no cruise ships will be able to anchor within sight of the Anzac battlefields, despite claims from some operators their passengers will be able to watch the service from just off the beach.

The entire Gallipoli Peninsula will be closed and swept by Turkish soldiers to ensure no one but the 10,500 Australian and New Zealand ballot winners and official guests will gain access.

The Australian government has taken to task a Christian travel company for advertising that it is still waiting for authorities to ‘‘finalise arrangements’’ for the 2015 services on Gallipoli.

Inter Faith Travel, a Brisbane-based company, claims on its internet brochure that travellers who join its cruise, led by evangelist and former politician the Reverend Dr Gordon Moyes, ‘‘will be in Anzac Cove to view the dawn service through the eyes of the Anzac’s (sic) landing’’.

In small print, it advises that only those who have won a ballot ticket will be able to attend the service on shore, and further small print says other passengers will be able to watch proceedings on board their ship anchored 250 metres off the beach.

Military History Tours has a cruise arranged in conjunction with News Corp newspapers, and its  promotional material promises ‘‘we will be ashore at Dawn on ANZAC Day with all onboard attending a 100th Anniversary Service’’. It adds ‘‘we cannot confirm the programme and timings at this stage. During the course of this day, we will allow time for individuals to lay wreaths etc., either at the cemetries (sic) where Services are held or at other cemeteries where you need to remember relatives or to lay a poppy or wreath…”

However, the Turkish embassy in Canberra, in a statement to Fairfax, said the only anchorage points would be at Samos Bay, about 40 kilometres north of Anzac Cove, and at Karanlik Koy, a seaport on the Asian side of the Dardanelles. All cemeteries on the peninsula would be closed.

The Inter Faith brochure advises – also in small print – that ‘‘as with all other tour operators, we are waiting for confirmation from the Australian Government and Department of Veteran Affairs to finalise arrangements…’’

A spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs denied this.

‘‘For a tour operator to claim that they are waiting for confirmation from the Australian Government and Department of Veteran Affairs to ‘finalise arrangements for the Dawn Service and Lone Pine Service in 2015’ is wrong as arrangements have been know for some time,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘Since 2010, DVA has been advising tour operators that they should not advertise tours to Gallipoli in 2015 that guarantee access to the Dawn Service or other commemorative sites.”

One of the owners of Inter Faith Travel, Will Jansen, said he had been told by Louis Cruises, the Cyprus-based operators of the cruise ship, that the vessel would be able to anchor just off Anzac Cove.

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