These fluted confections are the official dessert of the Bordeaux region of France. I’ve tried several recipes for canelé and this one from Edd Kimber’s new book Patisserie Made Simple is the closest I have found to the real deal. The interior texture isn’t quite as dense, but the flavor is like a lovely, creamy custard that is rich with both vanilla and rum. The trick to success with making canelé is using copper molds lined with beeswax and butter. The less expensive silicone molds unfortunately don’t achieve the same crisp outer shell, which in my opinion is the whole reason to eat them.
The crêpe-like batter is simple to make, but the process is a touch fussy and requires a few days of planning. I don’t mean to scare you off, since the outcome is delicious and sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for. But, to do canelé de Bordeaux justice, you must have patience and the right tools.
Canelé de Bordeaux from Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Simple:
Makes ten 2-inch canelés
scant 2 cups/450ml whole milk
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (make your own)
3/4 cup/100g all-purpose flour
2 ounces (1/2 stick/50g) unsalted butter, chilled
5 extra-large egg yolks
Coating for the molds:
1/2 ounce/15g beeswax
1/2 ounce/1 tablespoon/15g unsalted butter
To make the batter: You need to make this two or three days before you want to serve the canelés.
Bring the milk to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the rum and vanilla.
In a food processor pulse together the flour, salt and butter until it resembles corn meal.
Add the yolks and sugar and pulse to combine.
Add the hot milk in a slow stream with the processor on.
Strain the batter into a bowl.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but 2 or 3 days in even better.
On baking day:
Place the canelés molds on a baking tray in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes. You want to heat the molds so that the beeswax/butter mixture won’t get too thick when you brush it on.
In a small pan heat the beeswax and butter over medium low heat. The beeswax is highly flammable so you want to make sure you are careful and only heat until melted and then remove from heat.
Take the molds out of the oven and carefully brush the insides with the melted beeswax mixture. Tongs and oven mitts will be helpful.
Once you brush them with the beeswax, place the molds upside down on a cooling rack that is set over parchment. You want the excess beeswax to drip out and you don’t want to get it all over your counter.
Once the canelés molds are cool enough to handle place them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the molds from the freezer and fill with the batter. Leave about a 1/2-inch at the top so the batter won’t spill out of the molds.
Bake at 375°F (Other recipes call for 400°F and I think the higher temp may be better.)
After about 40 minutes remove the canelés from the oven. They will have puffed right out of the mold and you will have to push them back in.
Using a paring knife carefully push the canelés down into the mold. If you skip this step they will not sit on the bottom of the molds and will not caramelize properly.
As you work the canelés back down they will collapse slightly and this normal.
Return to the oven and continue baking for about another hour or more. They should be so dark they look almost black.
Unmold the canelés by flipping them upside down and tapping them on the baking sheet. They should slip right out. If they are not dark on the tops then work them back into the molds and put them back in the oven.
Once they are the right color, let them cool to room temperature and serve within hours. As I mentioned the interior was a bit lighter in texture than I am used to or what Edd shows in his book, but I thought they were delightful. They are best served while the crust is still crisp.
Thank you to Kyle Books for sending me a copy of this book. I really enjoyed it and look forward to baking more from it. The recipes are written well and seem to work nicely, but there are no how-to photos.