Canelés

Chewy, custardy canelés, flavoured with vanilla and bourbon

As soon as I found out about canelés, just a few weeks ago, I knew I had to make them. I love pastries, custard and anything with booze in so after a bit of research I purchased two De Buyer silicone canelé moulds. I went with De Buyer because their silicone contains metal powders to help retain heat and give the canelés their signature chewy crust and soft custardy insides.

According to reviews these fortified silicone moulds do a decent job of turning out canelés but they can’t really compare to the beautiful traditional copper moulds which require careful seasoning with 50% butter, 50% beeswax before the canelé batter goes anywhere near them. I’m far too lazy for that so silicone is fine by me.

This recipe comes from Chocolate and Zucchini and I was extremely happy with my first batch. You can see in the picture that some of my canelés suffered from what’s known in Canelé World as “pale ass”, meaning that the bottom hasn’t coloured. The canelés near the back of the oven (the hotter part) caramelised more evenly so next time I’ll be vigilant about rotating the moulds throughout the cooking process.

Update: I've made a second batch of canelés and figured out the exact cooking times for my (non fan assisted) oven. I've also swapped plain flour for extra strong white bread flour and reduced the sugar from 180g to 150g, which is just the right amount of sweet for me.

Ingredients

Makes: 18

  • 500ml full fat milk
  • 30g semi-salted butter (I used salted)
  • 1 vanilla pod (split) OR
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 80ml rum or bourbon

Method

  1. Add 500ml milk, 30g butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 split vanilla pod to a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has completely melted. Turn the heat off and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Combine 100g strong white bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 150g sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Gently beat 3 eggs in another bowl taking care not to mix in any air (the canelés are not supposed to rise when cooked).
  4. Once the milk mixture has cooled, pour the eggs into the flour mixture then immediately add the milk and gently stir (don’t whisk) until the ingredients have combined. 
  5. If using a vanilla pod scrape the seeds into the mixture and throw in the pod.
  6. Add 80ml of rum or bourbon to the mixture and stir. If the mixture is looking lumpy, pass it through a sieve.
  7. Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 24 and up to 72 hours (to allow the gluten in the flour to develop).
  8. When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 250°C (230°C fan). If using non-silicone moulds butter the insides generously.
  9. The canelé mixture will have separated in the fridge so gently stir it and remove the vanilla pod (if using) before pouring it into the moulds leaving a 1cm gap at the top.
  10. Place a tray at the bottom of the oven to catch any potential drips then place the canelé moulds directly on the oven shelf, not on a tray, so that the heat can circulate effectively.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes at 250°C (230°C fan) before turning the oven down to 200°C (180°C fan), without opening the door, to bake for another 20 minutes. 
  12. Rotate the canelé moulds and bake for a further 35 minutes, rotating one more time if your oven cooks unevenly like mine does. If at any point the tops of the canelés look like they’re starting to burn, cover the moulds loosely with foil.
  13. Cook until the tops are a deep dark brown (not black and burned). My canelés required a total of 75 minutes in the oven for the bottoms to colour.
  14. Once cooked, allow to cool in the silicone moulds for 10 minutes (to prevent collapsing) before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

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