Do You Know the Way to Canelé?

do-you-know-the-way-to-san-jose-sheet-musicA canelé is a small French pastry flavored with rum and vanilla with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. It takes the shape of small, striated cylinder up to five centimeters in height with a depression at the top. Originally a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, today it is widely available in pâtisseries in France and abroad.

I had my first canelé in Seattle while visiting Neil and Maureen this past December. It was delicious and I knew I would make them soon. I started researching recipes and equipment when I returned home. Traditional canelé molds are copper to facilitate heat transfer and provide an even caramelized crust. At about $24 each, I decided to opt for the modern silicone mold version ($15 for a sheet of 8 molds.) Supposedly, the crust is more difficult to caramelize and more likely to be uneven.

Adapted from ChezPim, basically her recipe and technique with some of my words and comments.


  • 500g (2c) whole milk
  • 50g (3½ tblsp) butter
  • 1 vanilla bean or 3-4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 100g (¾c +1 tblsp) AP flour
  • 250g (2c) un-sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large fresh eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ¼c rum (optional)
  • 20g (¾oz) beeswax cut into small chunks (using a hot knife will make your life easier)
  • 20g (¾oz or 1½ tablespoons) butter, cut into small chunks


  1. Make the batter – 2 days before you plan to bake the canelés.
    1. Place the milk, butter, and vanilla bean (cut in half and scrape the seeds into the

      Liquid Ingredients

      pot) over medium heat and bring to a boil. If you want to be precise it should be 183F. Remove from heat and let cool down while you get to the other ingredients. Measure and then sift together the flour, powder sugar and salt.

    2. Use your fingers, or a spatula and press the eggs and yolks through a strainer into the dry ingredients to mix them without incorporating air.
    3. When the milk/butter/vanilla mixture is just a bit warm but not so hot ~120F or so, remove the vanilla bean halves. Don’t throw them away
      Dry Ingredients

      Dry Ingredients

      though, instead put them in another bowl of about the same size. Pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients, and gently stir together until well-blended. You’ll see plenty of lumps in the batter, but that’s fine for now. I use a wooden spoon to mash the large lumps against the side of the bowl to break them up.

    4. Strain the lumpy batter (through a fine-mesh strainer) into the bowl you put the vanilla bean in earlier, pressing the lumps through until you get a

      Final Batter

      totally lump-free batter. Add the rum and stir until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (no need to press the plastic right over the surface of the batter) and place in the fridge to rest for 48 hours. Stir once after 24 hours and put it back in the fridge to continue to rest the second 24 hours.

  2. Coat the silicone molds:
    1. Place the molds in the hot oven for a few minutes to warm.
    2. Melt equal amounts of beeswax + butter in a small pan set in nearly boiling water.


      Melted Wax and Butter Mixture

    3. Stir occasionally until melted. Keep mixture warm as it will set up quickly,
  3. With a pastry brush, (don’t use a good one, it will be ruined. I bought a silicone bristle brush from which the wax can be cleaned,) paint the hot beeswax + butter mixture on the warm mold. Brush mostly on the side of the molds, the wax will drip a little down to the bottom on its own. If you brush all the way to the bottom you’ll end up with a thick pool of wax on the bottom of the mold. Brush a thin coating such that you can see the mold through it.
  4. After coated, freeze the molds for ~10 minutes, you want
    Coated Silicone Mold

    Coated Silicone Mold

    them to be very cold when they go into the oven. Keep the batter cold too, this will keep the moist, custardy interior.

  5. When you’re ready to bake, fill each cavity almost to the top. Place the mold on the middle rack of your preheated oven.
  6. Bake them for 15 minutes at 450F (preheated at 475F) then lower the temperature after you put the molds in the oven) then an additional 40 minutes at 375F, turning the molds every 15 minutes to ensure even baking.
  7. The canelé batter will expand over the molds, but only
    Baking Caneles

    Baking Caneles

    slightly. If you see the massive poufs (Pim’s word, but a good one), especially around the first 10-20 minutes take the whole baking sheet out of the oven and put it outside for a few minutes, the poufs should calm down and settle back into the molds. When the batter settles back into the molds, put them back in the oven to continue baking. (Make sure you pause the timer when the molds are outside the oven and restart it when you put it back so you could keep track of the actual baking time.)


    Baked Caneles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s