Canelés de Bordeaux are the new cool pastry that you might have seen around town. These small cakes are so much more than just a cake. They are crispy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside with a flavor like a bunt cake and warm crème anglaise. But the best part is the recipe uses beeswax to glaze the molds! It’s such a fun way to use beeswax in the kitchen.
I have been looking for a good recipe for canelés for a long time, and I finally found one that works at the relatively high altitude of the Colorado front range. It can be found here and is by the wonderful iFood Blogger from Toronto.
The recipe makes 14-16 canelés and is designed for 2” molds. The batter must be made a day ahead and chilled in the refrigerator so make sure you are planning accordingly. I don’t have the special copper molds for the recipe so I modified it to use the silicone molds that are cheaper and more widely available. That said I realize they're not nearly as good as the copper ones which I plan to get soon. Once I do I’ll modify the recipe to include directions for both types of molds here.
2 vanilla beans (you can substitute 1 tsp. Vanilla extract but the beans yield a better final product)
2 cups (500 ml) cold whole milk
1 and ¼ cups (250 g) cane sugar (If you want less sweetness, use 1 cup, I used the full amount but I have a sweet tooth)
¾ cup (100 g) bread or all-purpose flour
3 and ½ Tbsp. (50 g) butter melted and cooled a bit
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
4 Tbsp. dark rum, Meyer's is best
For the mold coating:
Two bars of Björn’s Beeswax (30 g each)
6 Tbsp. (60 g) butter
Split your vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into a medium saucepan, add the pods and whole milk. If you are using vanilla extract, add it to the milk now. Bring the milk to a light simmer on medium and then turn off heat. Be careful to not let the milk boil over.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, egg and egg yolks together. Slowly add the melted butter and mix well.
Take vanilla pods out of milk if using them. Add ¼ of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk. Then add the flour and mix until well combined. Slowly add the remaining milk to the mixture and continue to stir until well mixed. Now add the dark rum to the batter. These steps must be done in this order. By adding hot milk to the egg mixture you’re gently cooking the eggs and creating a custard which ensures the canelés have a perfect internal consistency.
The next step is to refrigerate the batter for 24 to 48 hours. The longer the better, even letting it go three days is a good idea if you have the time. The flavor and texture of the batter improve dramatically with chilling so it is a necessary step. The batter can be kept chilled for up to four days.
Once you are ready to use the batter, stir it for at least 2 min. with a whisk to ensure it is well blended.
Next, comes the beeswax part of the recipe! Melt the 60 g (two bars of Björn’s Colorado Honey Beeswax) together with the 6 Tbsp. of butter until fully melted. Use an old pot or pan to do this. You can easily find a cheap used pan at your local ARC or thrift store.
Quickly pour the butter beeswax mixture into your molds and then back into the pan, fully coating the molds. Working quickly is important and you might want to reheat the butter wax mixture once during the coating process. You are trying to get a thin coating on the molds. If you get extra butter beeswax on the top or outside of the mold, use a knife to remove it. Extra butter beeswax will burn during baking. Do not spill the butter beeswax, it is very tough to clean up!
Once molds have been coated, turn them upside down on a cooling rack covered with a paper towel to cool and then fully cool in the freezer until ready to use for baking. Coating the molds in this way ensures the dark brown glossy surface that canelés are famous for. It’s also a really fun way to use beeswax!
Preheat oven to 550 F. Fill the cooled molds with batter to ¾” from the top. Line a baking sheet with foil and then place the full molds on that baking sheet. Bake them initially at the 550 F for 10 min. only. Once the 10 min. passes and without opening the oven, drop the temp to 425 F and then bake for 25 min. more. At this point, pull the canelés out of their molds (carefully, they are hot!) and put them on the lined sheet. Bake for 7-15 more min. until well browned, be sure to watch them, each oven is different so baking time here varies.
This is the part that is a compensation for not using copper molds. If you have copper molds, leave the canelés in their molds and bake for 40 min. instead of 30 min. and skip the step where I say to pull them out of the molds and bake more.
Once well browned, remove the canelés from the oven. Place them on a cooling rack and let cool for 1 hour. They can be eaten warm but the flavor and texture are best once cooled.
Canelés should be eaten the same day they are baked, they can, however, be warmed at 425 F the next day to return them to their prime if you can't finish them all the day you make them. 3-5 min. at 425 F should do the trick. That said, I have a feeling that finishing them all in one day won't be an issue.Serve your canelés with tea and coffee or top them with cold unsweetened whipped cream. They make a luxurious dessert but are also lovely for an indulgent breakfast. Enjoy and comment here with questions or advice for others.