They’re not covered in chocolate, or studded with pretty berries, nor are they slathered in a caramel or toffee sauce. But editors of a prestigious US culinary foundation are betting that a simple, plain-looking French pastry will be the next big dessert trend after cupcakes, pies and macarons.

According to editors of the latest food trend report from the James Beard Foundation in New York, canelés ‘also spelled cannelés), a pastry native to Bordeaux, France, are poised to be the new new cupcake in 2012. Made with a crepe-like batter of flour, egg yolks and sugar, canelés are known for their chewy, dense texture and their thick, dark, caramelized crust.

Some recipes call for a splash of rum, others call for a dash of orange flower water.

Meanwhile, the same trendspotting report predicts that donuts will enjoy a revival next year, but as regional interpretations.

For instance, expect to see more Central European style kolaches — large pastries with a fruit filing center, Turkish lokmas — deep-fried dough covered in simple syrup, or malasadas — Portuguese versions of sugar doughnuts.

In a report out of the Center for Culinary Development last month, trend tracker Kara Nielsen drew readers’ attention to the Kouign-amann, a buttery, caramelized pastry from the northwest region of Brittany, France.

Nielsen traces the rising popularity of the pastry back to acclaimed bakeries in the US like Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Los Angeles and French baker Dominique Ansel, who imported the sweet treat to New York.

Ansel is also cited in the James Beard report for driving the canelé trend.

Popular Paris-based food blog Chocolate & Zucchini offers a canelé recipe at –AFP RELAXNEWS