Le Canelé de Bordeaux originated in the 17th century, the nuns of the Couvent of the Annunciation in Bordeaux in Southern France started baking little pastries by using donated egg yolks from local wine makers who clarified their wines with the egg whites. These exceptional little confections made from basic ingredients were offered to the children in need.
Today, the popularity of the canelé reached out foreign countries and became a solid culinary reference in the French regional gastronomy. They are flavored with vanilla, dark rum or Grand Marnier or both with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. Replace alcohol for orange blossom water or orange extract or almond extract or zests...
The Parisians have the macarons, and in Southern France, they have canelés. Millions of these treats are consumed each year. Canelés became so famous that they can be even bought in New York!.. To find canelé molds and pizza stone*, check my Shop Page.
How to avoid the 'Mushrooming' problem during baking?
Here are a few precious tips. First, the temperature of the milk. When I worked at Baillardran patisserie in Bordeaux, the boss would add milk into the rest of the ingredients at 180/185ºF (80/85ºC). This prevents eggs to coagulate which decrease the risk of 'Mushrooming'.
How long should batter rest prior to baking?
Canelé batter should be resting for 12 hours at least in the refrigerator. Leave batter at room temp for at least 2 hours before baking. If batter is too cold, temperature of the oven will drop and canelé may end up underdone in the center.
How far up should molds be filled?
Here is the deal, canelé molds should rather be filled almost to the top, otherwise they will end up too small. Leave a little space though, just about 0.20''/0.5cm from the top. This recipe fills twelve (2.5''/5cm) canelé molds.
Convection or conventional oven?. both work. Back in the days, canelés and all pastries were in fact baked in deck ovens (four a sole). If using conventional oven at home, I found out that baking canelés onto a pizza stone contributes to better results. Indeed, the stone accumulates the heat ensuring faster caramelization from bottom to the sides up.
Lastly, using conventional or convection oven, baking temperature should be the same from start to finish. At 425ºF/220ºC for 60 minutes using conventional, and 375ºF/190ºC for 55 min using convection.
When it comes to baking canelés, copper canelé molds remain the best option. Copper is best to create the brown crust that canelé are known for. In this picture, you can see the layers created by the beeswax-butter mixture on the bottom cake. It looks like puff pastry layers!... Aluminum canelé molds offer descent results and are on budget. Nonstick canelé molds are also good. As it goes for silicone canelé molds, they lack of spacing between each cavity. In addition, silicone does not conduct heat well. Though, some professionals manage to obtain great results using silicones molds. But here is the trick, they are baked using powerful convection ovens...
Do not grease molds using beeswax only!.. For ultimate results, copper or aluminum canelé molds should be greased with a mixture of melted beeswax and butter. For 12 copper canelé molds, use 40g beeswax and 60g butter. Make more for backup if desired. Beeswax must be slowly melted in a small saucepan with butter. Use super hot. Do not microwave beeswax. Fill up each mold* with hot beeswax mixture – one at the time. Reheat if necessary. Flip mold immediately over the remaining beeswax mixture. Do likewise until done. Protect your hands with cloves if needed. If you can't find beeswax, here is a great alternative used by many professionals and it works for all type of molds. Brush them out with a fair amount of softened butter first and cooking spray (do not use clarified butter, butter wont burn unless pastries are forgotten in the oven). Chill molds until ready to use.
*To use less beeswax mixture, copper molds can be heated up in the oven for 3 minutes. Grease with beeswax-butter mixture. Flip molds to drain onto a cooling rack with parchment placed underneath. Chill to set.
Vanilla powder, paste or extract can be used as well. For the bean, cut lengthwise and scrap seeds out. Throw seeds and pod in the milk, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and add cold butter. Meanwhile, combine flour with sugar, and beat eggs in a separate pastry bowl. When milk temperature reaches 185ºF/85ºC, slowly temper eggs with half of the milk. Add it to the flour-sugar mixture; mix well. Add remaining milk and alcohol. Refrigerate batter for 12 hours at least before baking. Pass through a sieve, and save vanilla pod, rinse and let dry out.
Canelé mixture can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days. Leave batter out for about 2 hours or more before filling up prepared molds. Always stir up canelé mixture before using.
*Using conventional oven: Preheat oven with a rectangle pizza stone to 425ºF/220ºC. Fill the greased molds with batter to 0.20''/0.5cm from the top. Bake canelés for 60/65 minutes. They must be well done in order to get the desired brown caramelized crust.
Using a convection/fan oven: Bake canelé at 375ºF/190ºC for about 55 minutes (no need for pizza stone).
Remove canelés from the oven, and let rest 5 minutes. To remove canelé from mold, turn over and bang canelé mold, and let cool on cooling rack. Canelé is best eaten within 6 hours after been baked. As the day goes by, the crust softens up. So, they are still good a day after but without the wow effect!.. Baked canelés can also be stored in the freezer for awhile. Before eating, place pastries 5 minutes in a hot oven and leave them at room temp for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Only silicone molds can be thrown in the dishwasher. Copper and aluminum molds should not be washed using detergent, simply wipe with a dry cloth or a paper towel while still warm after each use. At the last resort, molds can be cleaned immersed in boiling water and a couple drops of soap for 20 minutes or so. Finish cleaning under running water with a non-abrasif device, rinse and dry out.