Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Delectable Canelé

I have to say I love all things French. Maybe it's because the language always conjures up romance and intrigue.  For me it might have started with Peppy La Pew but, watching Kevin Kline recently  in 'French Kiss' reminded me how much I enjoy listening to someone speaking French. And who doesn't enjoy the adventures of Hercule Poirot. I have always wanted to learn french.. so in high school I took Spanish. What was I thinking? It was suppose to be easier!! Easier…but lacked the passion and romance of French! Please no one be offended, it's just the way I feel!  I keep telling myself I need the Rosetta Stone. Maybe this is the year. I have been to Paris. The Louvre is quite impressive and the Eiffel Tower is beautiful. But I'm most fond of  the people…and I absolutely LOVE the FOOD! Mostly the baked goods! My favorites are these most fabulous little cakes, Canelés! (kuh-nuh-leh) But the French also have Madeleines! Both of these treats are so wonderful. They both are unique and delicious! I have always made the Canelés in a silicone pan that I had gotten from Williams-Sonoma years ago along with the recipe. They always came out wonderful but, could they be better? I have been known to be a just a little obsessive when it comes to my baking. I will try several recipes until I get the result I am looking for. Recently I had read that the French, to get the best results, make the Canelés in little copper molds. So, for my after Christmas present to myself, I splurged on some little copper Canelé molds. I found a recipe that is slightly different than the one I had been making. It's from Paula Wolfert. She also gives you some places to buy the copper molds. I was quite pleased with the price at jbprince.  My little copper molds arrived the other day. They are sooo cute! I just love them and can't wait to put them to use! How can you love a copper mold? I'm not sure…but I do! I made the batter yesterday. Canelés are made from a batter that resembles a crepe batter.  The batter must sit for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. When baked, the Canelé is crusted with a burnt sugar coating, dark on the outside and kind of custardy on the inside.  Today is baking day and I am so excited to finally try out my new molds. Can't wait to bite into one of these wonderful  little cakes.
Since I'm writing this in real time, I have to tell you my first batch came out way too brown…I'd say burnt. I followed the baking directions exactly…I think it had to be the amount of bees wax in the mold. I have another batch baking now and hope this batch comes out better. Considering I only have 4 molds…and they take almost two hours to bake, the baking process can be a bit daunting.  I have 6 more molds coming in the mail, they are on backorder…I'm so glad I didn't bake 10 at once. I think I wouldn't love my little molds anymore!
Well my second batch just came out of the oven and they are beautiful. I realize now that the bees wax film you paint on to these molds has to be very thin. I accomplished this by putting the molds in the oven for a few minutes, taking them out and then brushing on the bees wax and turning crown to top then placing them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then take out and fill.  You should get very good results. I'm lovin my molds again!


2 cups whole milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
3/4 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
1 cup minus 2 Tablespoons fine sugar
4 extra large egg yolks
1 Tablespoon dark rum
1 vanilla bean split 

Pour milk into saucepan with vanilla bean and set over low heat; heat to 183 degrees F.
Place butter, flour, and salt in the bowl of a processor; pulse until combined. Scatter sugar on top; 
pulse once or twice to mix. Add egg yolks; process until mixture begins to tighten. 
With motor running, quickly and steadily pour hot milk into batter; stop motor; strain through
very fine sieve into clean container; press any congealed yolk through; stir in rum. Cool to room 
temperature; cover; refrigerate 24 to 48 hours.
Grease molds either with cooking spray (as per Martha Stewart) and then freeze for 20 minutes. Or click on Paula Wolfert and try the white oil. 
Heat oven to 400°
Place chilled molds 1 1/2" apart on baking sheet; gently stir batter; fill each mold almost to the top;
place on lower oven rack; bake 1 3/4  to 2 hours, or until canelés are deep, deep brown in color.
Remove the molds from the oven. Unmold as quickly as possible. To unmold, use an oven mitt to grasp a hot mold; firmly tap the crown side against a hard surface to loosen the canelé. Cool to room temperature before serving.
This recipe is from Paula Wolfert, she goes into much more detail on her post. Click on her name above.

Milk and vanilla heating to 184˚

Flour, sugar, butter,  egg yolks, salt and rum.

My very cute Canelé molds

This was my first batch…note the very thick crust…much too hard

molds filled with batter

This is not a great picture, it was taken through my oven door, I wanted to show how high they rise.

My second batch….oh so good!


  1. Kathy-I am so impressed with your talented baking don't shy away from fancy French desserts. These molds are so cute, and the canales look so pretty baked in them, especially your second batch. I bet they were so delicious, as well!

  2. Kathy

    I am impressed too! but then I have never tried cannelés and so I don't know what I am missing! Glad your kibbeh came out good; the French do have a way with pastry don't they? I love the baguette and the fromages and all the charcuterie the best! but even in France these days geting good quality staples is not easy.

  3. Wow, this recipe seems great! :)
    I agree with you concerning the French issue...I had taken French for 5 years and adore it! Unfortunately for the past 2 years I have been forced to learn German in my is nowhere near as elegant and beautiful as French!

  4. Ooh...these look fun! I've been itching to make Madeleines because of Tuesdays with Dorie, but these might look like more fun! Great post!

  5. I absolutely love copper! Your molds are so pretty. Thank you for the link where you ordered them - I can't wait to check it out. You might need to lower the heat a bit for the molds - I often use vintage copper molds and I have to adjust down about 25 degrees. Just experiment a little. I just love the shape of them!

  6. They look wonderful, I'd even eat the ones that you were disappointed in! No wonder your husband has to go on the South Beach Diet every so often, I'd be a whale! Beautiful pictures, very clear instuctions as well.

  7. Thanks everyone for the very nice comments. Elizebeth…I love trying different things that I haven't tried before. It's the challenge! And they were very good! YC..I also love madeleines! Elaine..Thanks for the tip on turning down the oven. I will try that the next time I make them. Joumana..The kibbeh was a big hit with my family this past week-end. Thanks for the recipe!

  8. Can aluminum Cannele mold would get the same perfect cannele as using copper one ? if i follow the same baking preparation and recipe

    1. I’ve made Caneles in a silicone mold and they do not get as dark as they do with the copper mold. However,I have never tried making them in aluminum. If you make them let me know how they turn out.