If you attempt canelé at home it's important to keep these principles in mind:
- A coating of beeswax and butter, frozen to the molds before baking, helps create a protective outer skin that will help protect the shape of the canelés as they bake. Beeswax can be purchased on the Internet or at the honey stand at a farmers market.
- High heat at the outset encourages skin formation, especially on the bottom of the mold. To facilitate this, bake on a stone, and preheat the baking sheet that will hold the molds.
- If the canelés rise out of the molds early on without having time to form the protective skin, they will fall over or puff out and will be unable to sink vertically back into the molds. I found it critical to watch them carefully for the first 30-45 minutes, and remove them from the oven before they rose too high in the beginning.
- Many people on the internet advise baking until they are nearly black on the tops. I advise against this;- there's a big difference between caramelized and carbonized, in flavor, texture, and appearance. I'm happy to put up with some blond patches to avoid a charred, burned bottom part.
- Copper really is the best if your goal is the perfect canelé. However, the aluminum are pretty good too, and if you're okay with canelés that are a little less that perfect, the one's baked in aluminum are still plenty delicious and cost a fraction of the price of the copper.
- Practice makes perfect, and mistakes are still delicious.
Note: We strongly recommend using a scale for all pastry projects. Serious Eats' recommended kitchen scale is the Oxo Good Grips Scale with Pull Out Display.
Learn The Technique!
Right this way for a step-by-step slideshow of the techniques used in this recipe!
- Yield:makes 12 Canelé
- Active time: 3 hours
- Total time:74 hours
- 17.6 ounces whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean with the seeds scraped
- 1.8 ounces butter, melted and cooled
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 eggs
- 10.6 ounces confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 4.4 ounces all purpose flour, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 ounce dark rum
- 2 ounces pure beeswax
- 2 ounces butter
3 days before baking: In a medium-sized saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the milk and the vanilla bean pod and seeds. Bring the milk just barely to a boil; turn the heat off when the edges begin to bubble. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and place in the fridge (pod, and all) to steep overnight.
2 days before baking: Place the eggs and yolks in a bowl and break the yolks with a fork, do not whisk them. Add the melted butter, stir gently with a fork just to incorporate, and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Place a strainer over the bowl, and pour the steeped milk through the strainer; discard the pod from the vanilla bean. Press the egg mixture through the strainer with a rubber spatula, then add the rum to the bowl. Gently mix the batter with a spatula; avoid incorporating air. Wash and dry the strainer, then push the batter through the strainer with a rubber spatula. Cover the batter and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 48 hours.
3 hours before baking: Set the oven to 350°F and place the metal (either copper or aluminum) Canelé molds inside for 10 minutes. While the molds are heating, place the beeswax in a plastic, microwave-safe container and microwave in 30-second increments, swirling each time, until the beeswax is fully liquified. Add the butter and microwave until it has fully melted, then stir until you have a solution of butter and beeswax. (This may also be done on the stovetop in a saucepan, but cleaning beeswax from pots is an unsavory activity, using the microwave is highly recommended.) Remove the molds from the oven and allow them to cool for one minute. Set up a cooling rack with plastic wrap underneath. Grasp the molds one at a time with the tongs, coat the insides of the molds with the wax mixture using a pastry brush (silicone is recommended, you will need to boil the pastry brush to get the wax off later) then invert the molds on top of the cooling rack and allow the excess wax to drip off. Once the wax has cooled back to opaque, place the molds in the freezer for two hours.
Once it's time to bake: Set a baking stone on the bottom rack of the oven and place a sheet tray on top. Preheat the oven to 500°F. When the oven is ready, remove the molds from the freezer and fill them almost to the top, leaving a centimeter of space at the top of the molds. Remove the preheated sheet tray from the oven, line with parchment, and then place the filled molds on the heated tray, spacing them evenly and far apart. Place the tray of molds onto the stone in the oven, and watch it carefully for the first 30 minutes of baking. The canelé will start to bubble, then rise up out of the molds. When they rise more than one centimeter above the rim of the mold, use tongs to remove the mold and allow the canelé to sink all the way back down into the mold, then return it to the oven. You will need to do this for the first 30-45 minutes of baking, until you notice that the canelé have developed an outer skin and a space has formed between the mold and the canelé on all sides.
Once this has happened, drop the temperature of the oven to 400°F and allow the canelé to finish baking, approximately 45 more minutes (there is no exact time, since the temperature has fluctuated so much with the oven being opened and closed and the canelé spending time, as needed, out of the oven). Watch for the tops to completely turn a deep golden brown and bubble (this is the butter in the batter) around the edges and middle. When the desired color is achieved on the tops, remove one from the oven using the tongs to test. Allow it to cool for several minutes, then invert the mold onto the cooling rack. If you are pleased with the color of the canelé, then remove the rest from the oven and allow them to cool for several minutes before unmolding. If you are not, return the canelé to its mold and bake the batch longer. The canelé should cool on the rack for 30 minutes before eating, and are best if consumed no more than 5 hours after baking.