A canelé is a small French pastry containing a mix of vanilla, rum, egg, butter, sugar, and flour. They’re quite challenging to make, requiring patience, practice, attentiveness, and perseverance. But the result? A small treat with a deeply caramelized shell and a soft, custard-like interior.
- 475g whole milk
- 200g confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
- 95g all-purpose flour
- 85g (about 2 medium) eggs
- 35g egg yolks
- 45g European style butter, unsalted
- 20g rum
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 vanilla bean
- Food grade beeswax (as needed to season and line molds)
- Day One (Prepare batter)
Add the milk and the butter to a saucepan and bring up to 185°F (85°C), stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium-sized bowl or large glass pouring vessel. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and pod to the warm mixture. Let this all cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks to a narrow pitcher. Blend using an immersion blender.
At this point, be sure the milk mixture is mostly cool. Remove, but reserve, the vanilla bean from the cooled milk mixture and slowly stream in the egg mixture while stirring. Then add the rum. Pour the milk/egg/rum mixture batter through a fine-meshed sieve over the dry ingredients. Gently combine everything with a whisk (do not over mix or incorporate air) until combined, and no lumps remain. Pass the entire mixture once more through a fine-meshed sieve into a storage container with a lid. Add the reserved empty vanilla bean to the container, cover, and place in the fridge for 48 hours.
- Day Two (Rest batter)
Let the batter rest for 48 hours before baking the canelé. You could use them after 24 hours, but I’ve found it best to wait a full 48 hours for full flavor and a better texture.
- Day Three (Quick-season copper molds)
This is a quick-seasoning step that applies a thin layer of beeswax to the mold before baking to ensure the canelé remove cleanly. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
While your oven is preheating, melt your beeswax in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Next to your oven, place a piece of tin foil or parchment paper underneath a wire cooling rack to catch any excess wax drippings. Additionally, line a half or quarter baking sheet with tin foil and place the molds on the sheet, open side up. Once your oven is preheated, place the sheet with molds in the oven and bake for 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, remove the sheet from the oven. Carefully pour the melted beeswax into one of the molds, so it fills almost to the top. Swirl the beeswax around slowly, and pour the beeswax into the next mold. Place the seasoned mold open-side-down on a baking rack so the excess wax drips out to the tin foil. Continue pouring the wax from one mold to the next until all have been processed, then pour the remaining wax into the glass jar originally used for melting.
Next, place the molds back on the baking sheet (without cooling rack but on top of tin foil) open-side-up and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 10 minutes. After this time, remove the sheet and pour out any wax that may have pooled at the bottom of the mold. Then, let the molds cool. Place the molds into the freezer for at least 30 minutes until you’re ready to bake the canelé.
- Day Three (Bake)
Place a baking steel on a rack in the middle of your oven. While the molds are in the freezer, preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) for 1 hour.
Line a half or quarter baking sheet with tin foil and remove the rested canelé batter from the fridge. Whisk the batter (but don’t incorporate any air) to form a homogenous mixture. Transfer the batter to a measuring cup with a spout. Pour 75g of batter (about 1 cm from the rim) into each frozen mold and place it on the prepared baking sheet with foil. Space them evenly on the sheet and place the sheet on the Baking Steel in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F (230°C).
After 15 minutes, quickly open the oven door and rotate the baking sheet 180°. Then, turn the oven down to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 50-60 minutes. Keep an eye on them in the last 10 minutes of the bake time; these can quickly go from perfect to burned.
Using gloves, check each canelé to see if it’s done by turning it out onto a cooling rack above a layer of tin foil on the counter. If the canelé is uniformly dark all over, it’s finished. If you find the top (the “crown”) is still pale-colored, or the color is not uniform, return it to the mold and place bake on the baking sheet in the oven. Check again in 5 minutes.
When all are finished, let the canelé cool on the wire rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour until hardened. They are best the day they’re made but reheat well with a minute under the oven broiler.
When all are finished, let the molds cool and wipe them clean with a paper towel. Do not wash the copper molds.
Be sure to season your canelé molds before their first use.
It’s best to let the batter rest for at least 48 hours after mixing (and this can be extended to up to 4 days).
Keywords: Pastry, French, Egg, Batter, Sugar