‘Cah-nuh-lay’: Crispy and deeply caramelised on the outside, custardy and gorgeously soft in the middle, canelés are a French pastry from Bordeaux. They’re made from a simple vanilla and rum flavoured batter which is rested overnight and baked in beeswax-lined moulds at two temperatures.
The perfect recipe for those looking to put their skills to test in the kitchen. These gorgeous little cakes from Bordeaux formed the basis of my latest culinary adventure.
They’re rarely seen in the UK, and having never actually sampled one before embarking on this personal challenge, I found it particularly fascinating and rather exciting. Given how insanely addictive they are, you’d expect them to be a staple treat, but alas I’ve learnt that they are less than straightforward, and can be a little temperamental. They take a relatively long time to make, don’t keep for long, and require a couple of specialist items in order to transform a simple batter into a glorious delicacy.
NOTE: The quantities in the recipe below will make just 6 canelé – this is intentional, as they need to be eaten on the day of making, you can scale up the recipe as required, and the individual moulds will literally cost you a small fortune. You can however prepare the desired volume of batter and bake them in batches.
For this recipe, you’ll need a couple of extra things which may not feature in the average kitchen:
- Canelé moulds
- Beeswax (100% natural)
- 250ml milk
- 50g unsalted butter
- splash of vanilla extract or paste
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 50g plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp dark rum
- Start by placing the milk, butter and vanilla in a pan over a low heat until combined, before setting aside to cool slightly and infuse.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. (I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk).
- Sift in the flour with a tiny pinch of salt.
- Slowly whisk in the cooled milk mixture, followed by the rum.
- Seal the batter in an airtight container and refrigerate for 24-48 hours to let it rest and relax.
- To prepare the moulds, melt 40g beeswax and 60g butter together in a microwave (or pan).
- Carefully fill the first canelé mould to the top with the liquid beeswax and butter mix, and then quickly pour it out into the next mould, before placing it upside down on a drying rack. Continue until all of your moulds are lined with a thin layer of wax.
- Place a tray into the oven and preheat it to 230°C (non-fan).
- Remove the batter from the fridge and give it a quick mix or shake to recombine.
- Fill the moulds, leaving a 10mm gap at the top. You can weigh them to ensure consistency – My filled moulds weigh 110g.
- Bake at 230°C for 10 minutes.
- Without opening the oven door, turn it down to 160°C (non-fan) and cook for a further 60 minutes.
- Place the canelés on a rack to cool down for at least 15 minutes before turning out.
You may find that you need to adjust the temperatures and timing slightly to suit your oven – they are perhaps one of the most temperamental things I’ve made to date. You’re looking for a clearly defined and deeply caramelised shell.
Note that the beeswax and butter mix is enough to line a lot of moulds, but it can be stored in a fridge until needed again. If you’re using a modern silicone canelé moulds, you may not need to line them at all, however the final result will be different and less amazing.