Canelés are a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France, and we think these delightful little pastries make an amazing holiday treat. The flavor is similar to creme brulee, with rum and vanilla flavor and a rich, caramelized crust. The texture reminds us of bread pudding!
We guarantee that a platter of cannelés will impress family and friends. If you have an ambitious cook on your Christmas list, a set of canelé molds would be an incredible gift.
These are delicious pastries, but they don’t come without considerable expense and effort. First, you need proper equipment. There are silicone canelé molds, but the authentic French molds are made of tin-lined copper. It would be difficult to get the rich, dark, caramelized crust that makes these pastries so special without copper molds.
There are only a few factories in France that make proper cannelé molds. Ours are made by Mauviel. We found them at Cookin’: Recycled Gourmet Appurtenances on Divisidadero. If you are not in San Francisco, Mauviel cannelés molds are available on Amazon.
Second, there is the technique. We went through three batches of cannelé batter to get what we thought were the perfect cannelés. You will want to minimize the amount of air incorporated into the batter so they do not puff too much; we used a food processor to mix it since the blade incorporates less air than a whisk. Resting the batter in the refrigerator is critical, and we found the ideal resting period to be close to 48 hours.
Finally, there is the wax. It’s critical to line the molds with a mixture of food-grade beeswax and oil or butter. We found one ounce of beeswax and four tablespoons of butter to be the ideal combination. This messy coating ensures a dark crust on the outside of the cannelé and an easy release from the mold (turn them out while still hot).
Get Recipe: Canelés de Bordeaux by Paula Wolfert