Canelés are a traditional dessert from Bordeaux. They are small cakes which are deeply caramelized on the outside and custardy on the inside.
The recipe is straightforward, but they do use specialized copper molds and one unusual ingredient, bee’s wax, which keeps most people from trying to make them. I bought a cooking lesson from Craftsy.com on how to make canelés, bought a set of the copper tins on Amazon, and bought food-grade bee’s wax on-line from the Honey Lake Bee Company. I made my first batch at the beach last week and they were a success. This recipe makes 12 little pastries, and will serve 6-12 people. The batter rests in the refrigerator for two days before baking, so this recipe needs to be planned in advance.
The bee’s wax is used with butter to line the tins. I was surprised to find that after the canelés were baked, the cookie sheet the tins were on was coated with bee’s wax, which apparently boiled over as the canelés baked. I used a bit more than half of the wax/butter mixture to line the tins and have saved the rest in the refrigerator for another batch. It should last almost forever refrigerated.
This recipe made a bit more batter than would fit into my set of 12 tins, so I heavily buttered a small pyrex bowl and baked the excess in that bowl. It was hard to get the finished product out of the bowl, but otherwise that was a success as well.
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup (200 g.) sugar, divided
2 cups (450 g.) whole milk
4 Tbs. (60 g.) unsalted butter
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (90 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. spiced run
½ vanilla bean, split and seeded
Coating for the Tins
4 oz. (112 g.) beeswax
1 stick (4 oz. – 112 g.) unsalted butter
Two days before baking, make the batter.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yolks, and ½ cup (100 g.) of the sugar and whisk smooth.
Sift the flour into a small bowl to ensure there are no lumps.
In a small saucepan, bring the milk, butter, salt, and remaining ½ cup of sugar to a full rolling boil. Pour the hot mixture over the eggs and whisk smooth.
Slowly add the flour and whisk smooth.
Add the rum and split vanilla bean. With an immersion blender, blend the batter until there are no lumps. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it for 48 hours.
On the day of baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the wax and butter stirring well. Using a dipper, fill each tin to the top with the wax/butter mixture and then immediately pour the mixture back into the saucepan. This process will coat the inside of the tins with the wax/butter mixture. Repeat with each of the tins. Allow the coated tins to chill in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
Stir the batter well and strain out the vanilla bean pieces. Fill each of the chilled tins to within a centimeter or so of the top. Do not overfill since the canelés will swell during baking before they shrink back. Bake the canelés at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and let them bake for another 60 minutes, until the top is deeply golden brown.
Remove the baked canelés from the oven and as quickly as possible turn the tins over and remove the cooked canelés. I found this easy to do on some tins and hard to do on others, where I had to run a thin object around the edge of the tins. Allow the cooked canelés to fully cool to room temperature before serving. The cooling will take about an hour.