These rustic French pastries predate to medieval days when nuns made them for their bake sales. Instead of brushing the little copper molds with beeswax, clarified butter or cooking spray is now used. Beneath the crisp caramelized sugar shell is a luscious, orange-flavored custard interior.
2 cups milk
Combine 1 cup of the milk and the butter in a small saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a small knife; add the seeds and the bean to the milk mixture. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 cup milk, eggs, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Combine the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a small bowl, Whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Stir in the cooled milk mixture. Strain the custard through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Discard the vanilla bean. Stir in the orange zest and rum. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 12 (2 X 2-inch) copper cannele molds (similar to a mini bundt pan) with vegetable cooking spray or brush with clarified butter.
Stir the custard to redistribute the orange zest. Fill each prepared mold with 1/3 cup custard. Arrange the molds on a baking tray. Bake on the center oven rack for 40-45 minutes, or until the tops are dark golden brown.
Cool the cannele in the molds for 10 minutes. Unmold and cool completely on wire racks. (The crusts will become very crisp as they cool.) Serve immediately.
Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook by James Barrett and Wendy Smith Born