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My Canelé Misadventures, Thus Far

Nine years ago, I started out with two sets of silicone canelé molds and an uncomplicated recipe that I had pulled off the internet (http://antioche.lip6.fr/portier/0507....). No beeswax, no greasing, no freezing--just mix the batter, chill a day, and bake in silicone. Simple. The results were pale in spots, crunchy in some places (though only for a couple of minutes out of the oven), but with delicious custardy-cakey interiors. As the canelés cooled, they started bending out of shape and developing a rather plasticine exterior. Since the results did not seem to hold sufficient promise, I put the molds and the recipe aside, assuming that to bake proper canelés I'd have to go the copper molds-and-beeswax route--and I wasn't masochist enough to fall for that one!

But there's no fool like an old fool, and I recently found myself forking over 60 Euro for a lovely box of 10 copper molds.

Which led to my wasting way too much time on the internet, looking up recipes, techniques, every what-not, and why-not about making canelés I could find. Having thoroughly addled the old gray matter, I then spent hours fiddling with beeswax and canola oil--beeswax in the microwave, beeswax in the oven, beeswax melted by kitchen-torch-- in an effort to lightly and evenly line the interior of the precious bleeping copper molds. (Did I mention that the resulting "white oil" had a tendency to suddenly coagulate on my silicone brush, so I ended up pouring and swirling the quick-drying beeswax in the molds?) When the coating got too thick on a mold, which was in 9 out of 10 of them, I'd put the mold in a warm toaster oven, which invariably resulted in an oily puddle at the bottom of the mold, necessitating another attempt at coating the interior before the oil turned to wax, which it would do quickly and abruptly. Eventually, I settled for far-from-perfect linings, put the molds in the fridge, and went to sleep.

Thanks to threads on this Board, and to links found on them, particularly http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/340907 and the e-gullet thread to which it led, I found a recipe attributed to Pierre Hermé (which turns out to be virtually identical to the one I used 9 years ago.) I also studied the Chow video, "The Perfect Canele": http://www.chow.com/stories/12156. Had Cynsa not told me a few days ago, I would never have known that souschef had been working on canelés at virtually the same time, with much more success (Hats off to souschef!), and posting on it on this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719393.

So what did I do? A lot wrong, I think--and here I'd welcome comments and suggestions from the many hounds who are more accomplished bakers than I can ever hope to be. First, as in the video, I scalded 500 ml. of milk with a vanilla bean, which I immediately poured over 50 g. of cold butter in my blender. Finding that the milk was now just warm, I blended in, first, the 2 eggs + 2 yolks, then the 100 g. flour and 250 g. sugar mixture, and finally, the 15 g. rum. The mixture was a thoroughly combined, but frothier than I had expected--the blender container was very full. (I had theorized that a blender would eliminate any need to strain the mixture--yes, I am that lazy--and I hoped that the refrigerated rest period would get rid of any unwanted air bubbles.)

A day and a half later, after the molds had chilled for a couple of hours and the convection oven was preheated to a good 190C/375F, I placed the molds on a baking sheet, filled them, and popped them in the oven. I still had enough batter left over to fill around 15 of my old thimble-sized silicone canelé molds, which went into the oven around 15 minutes after the copper ones.

Since the baking time would be over an hour, off I went to the farmers market nearby, returning just before an hour was up to find--POPOVERS!!! Holy cow! My canelés had BALLOONED! A giggle escaped me just before the gasp of dismay. I reached for my kitchen fork and tried to poke the air out the soufflés, but it was too late. . . I let the disasters bake through the rest of the time, and removed them, a dark, glossy mahogany, from the oven. When I tipped them out of the molds, I found that the bottoms of the cakes were not only blonde, but seriously abbreviated! They had climbed halfway up the molds: it seemed like the batter had tried to heave itself out of its container. That night, I had a nightmare about canelés escaping their molds and running out of the oven to dominate the world :-


Proof of the pudding being in the eating, I'd have to say that the beeswax and the copper molds certainly gave me the shiny, crunchy exterior I had hoped for--just not in the right shape! And the recipe ingredients yielded a wonderful rummy, custardy deliciousness that can hold its own anywhere. Now if only I can get the next batches in the right shape, I shall be one happy chowhound!

Help, please, anyone?

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  1. For 2.8 oz molds the oven should be 475 convection for about the 1st 15-20 mins then 375 to complete cooking.

    Ballooning batter can result from too low a starting temperature. If your canele are growing too tall as they bake you can take them out and give them a poke or let them rest a just a minute to deflate. It's best to do this within the 1st 20 minutes. If you wait too long they will set up with an unfortunate shape and it can't be undone.

    I don't recommend baking canele unattended.


    1 Reply
    1. re: gaetano

      Thank you! "Unfortunate" is a nice way to describe what I allowed to happen to the poor little dears :-) I shall try the higher temperature and watch more carefully next time round.

    2. pilinut, thanks for bringing caneles back into my consciousness--I tried them about 4 years ago. Liked that flavor/texture very much, enough to make another batch a few days later, then forgot about them 'til now. I used this recipe:
      from Clotilde Dusoulier's blog "Chocolate and Zucchini".
      But no traditional molds-- I just baked them in a regular muffin tin! The middles stayed pale and the outside was dark and sweet.
      Of course now I'd like to try again with real molds (and a better brand of rum!) They are different enough, and tasty enough, (and so French!) to try even if you don't have the proper equipment yet.
      The picture I attach here is from the Chocolate and Zucchini site--beautiful little pastries, aren't they?

      1. Pilinut, thanks, but you give me too much credit. I did not achieve the custardy consistency you did,

        Mine did balloon out like soufflées (popovers), but if you leave them alone they settle down to about the level of the molds. I baked them at 400 degrees,

        Before I ditched the last of the batter I thought I would try baking them one last time at a higher temperature. My thinking was that I bake soufflées at 425 so that they are still soft in the middle, so I should try the same with canelés. I had nothing to lose as I was going to get rid of the stuff anyway. They puffed up and started to burn, so I took them out after an hour. They were still blond on the crown part. This seems to bear out the recommended 400 degree baking temperature.

        You paid only 60 Euros for a box of 10 copper molds!! That's a steal.

        One of the problems with these things I find is that panic quickly sets in, and you end up taking them out too soon.

        Here is the permalink to the relevant section of that thread to which you had linked, so you do not have to scroll through the entire thread:


        I am going to give your recipe a whirl and let you know here how it works out. Did you denude the vanilla bean, i.e. did you scrape the seeds into the milk?

        BTW you absolutely have to strain the mixture, through a very fine sieve. I got a bunch of solids strained out, but that of course could be because of the recipe.

        1. "When the coating got too thick on a mold, which was in 9 out of 10 of them, I'd put the mold in a warm toaster oven, which invariably resulted in an oily puddle at the bottom of the mold, necessitating another attempt at coating the interior before the oil turned to wax, which it would do quickly and abruptly."

          When you get the oily puddle would it not be best to just quickly turn the molds upside down, creating a thin coating ? The excess would run out.

          BTW where did you get those molds so cheap ? I WANT SOME !!

          4 Replies
          1. re: souschef

            Souschef, I did try quickly inverting the molds once when I found the wax had turned to oil, but the oil only ran down the grooves of the mold, leaving the edges of the grooves bare! I think that next time I will try keeping the unwaxed molds a bit warm, pouring enough wax to completely fill a mold, then pouring out the excess into the next mold. The wax will probably congeal before I get to the 3rd one, but (IF it works) that would still be vastly more efficient than my last attempt.

            I bought the copper molds from one of the Lemoine stores. Lemoine is a chain of around 5 or 6 canelé shops in France, and they sell the molds in 3 sizes as well as the cakes. However, they use a baking spray, not beeswax, and consequently their canelés are not nearly as good as the ones Fauchon used to make: Lemoine's lack that quintessential crunch. They do give you a recipe along with the box, but I compared it with the ones I got off the internet, and found that Lemoine's had much more sugar.

            I didn't know that steel molds exist, otherwise, I'd have been tempted to seek those out. (No complaints about my molds, though. If I ever master the techniques needed for good canelé, I might be tempted to buy another box of molds.)

            Oh, and I did split and seed the vanilla bean while it was in the milk.

            Good luck--and here's looking forward to reading about your next batch of canelés!

            1. re: pilinut

              Pilinut, are those molds made of lightweight or heavyweight copper? I have a BIL who lives in Europe and he is threatening to come here soon, so I may get him to pick up a set for me.

              1. re: souschef

                I'd say they're good quality mid-weight molds, i.e., you can drop them on the floor, squeeze them hard with tongs, and put them through most imaginable canelé misadventures without fear. Heavier ones probably exist, but I'd place those in the heirloom category. I don't know how Lemoine's prices compare with other possible outlets, but the prices seemed reasonable to me.

                I just checked, and they have a website:
                and it seems they sell their canelés on-line. Though no mention is made of the molds in the on-line boutique, maybe you can e-mail them. If all else fails, they do have a shop in Paris that might be more accessible to your BIL.

                I'd love to try steel molds to see if there is any difference, granted that copper has an aesthetic appeal outside of utility.

                1. re: pilinut

                  The molds I have are aluminium, not steel. I would gladly trade you :)
                  You paid for your copper molds what I paid for my aluminium ones (6€=$8).

          2. For anyone planning to get into this hobby/challenge, I should mention that beeswax is highly flammable.

            I saw Laura Calder on FN make canelés on French Food at Home. It was a quick and dirty version. The batter was chilled for 2 hrs, then ladled into silicone molds, baked for 15 minutes at 450, then 45 minutes at 350. They came our misshapen.

            BTW on the CH video on The Perfect Canelé I find the way the guy speaks somewhat irritating. I have never figured out the reason for upspeak.

            7 Replies
            1. re: souschef

              Re beeswax, It is a good thing you mentioned that it is flammable. While I didn't have any incidents with it, I was fortunately aware of this, so tried not to get it too hot for too long, It is a peculiar substance, prone to abrupt changes from solid to liquid and back, so heaven knows what else it is likely to do!

              Re the guy on the canelé video--I totally agree. His manner of speech was annoying at worst, distracting at best, and interfered with my desire and ability to pay attention to the subject matter. Had I been a casual viewer, and not someone on a quest, I'd have quit watching after his second sentence.

              1. re: pilinut

                Hahahaha, I thought I was the only one who felt that way about the guy in the video! I didn't want to say anything, but he was really annoying. Kind of made me not want to like the canele. I need to find a place nearby that makes them! There are too many things on my "to buy" list to include canele molds!

                1. re: Jemon

                  Haha! Check out the link gaetano posted; it has been updated. We are a lot more charitable towards the guy who did the video.

                  1. re: souschef

                    Hahaha, remind me not to get on you guys' bad sides!

                    1. re: Jemon

                      We don't have bad sides. Life is too short for that !

                      Have a wonderful day!

              2. re: souschef

                For best results it is recommended to keep batter in fridge for 48 hours. Source: linternaute.com

                1. re: lamaranthe

                  Seen that in a number of places. The quantity of batter that I make allows me to make two batches. The second batch is baked after 48 hours.

              3. With the pictures in this post I may well become a laughing stock on this site, but it does not bother me as I am doing this in the interest of trying to get a solution.

                I decided to forget about the Michel Roux recipe (which did give me a great shape) as the inside was not custardy enough. Instead, I used pilinut's recipe, or, more correctly, the ingredients in pilinut's recipe. The method I used was what was shown and discussed in the video: milk heated to a bit over 180 degrees (I used a thermometer) with vanilla, poured over cold diced butter, whisked till butter melted, and cooled to barely lukewarm. Eggs beaten into milk mixture. Liquid whisked into dry ingredients. Rum added (only one tablespoon, bushwickgirl). Sieved through very fine conical sieve and cooled.

                When baking I got the popover effect (first picture) at 30 minutes when I turned the molds, but left them alone. I did not poke them, etc as when I did the Roux recipe they settled down themselves.

                At 60 minutes (second picture) they seemed to "un-popover" and settle down.

                At 90 minutes (third picture) they were obviously done (or over-done). I kept them that long as that was how long the Roux ones took, and I wanted a comparison.

                The fourth picture shows that they were definitely trying to crawl out to feature prominently in pilinut's nightmares. The cake is much shorter than the Roux cake. BUT, and this is a big BUT, they are wonderfully custardy.

                For comparison I am re-posting a picture from the Roux attempt.

                Analysis: the Roux recipe is not custardy enough, and the pilinut cake is trying to leave the building. I think that perhaps if the egg white component in the pilinut recipe were reduced it would make it puff up less, and perhaps make it even more custardy. Paula Wolfert uses yolks only, so that's what I will try on my next attempt. I do still have some batter left, so am considering whisking two yolks into it. I wonder if it will work. I may try it tomorrow, then take a break.

                After the break I may well try the Roux recipe again, but with less egg white, in an attempt to make it more custardy. The shape should hold up.

                The recipe definitely needs more rum as I could not taste it.

                BTW for anyone looking for copper molds, the cheapest I have come across this side of the pond are at J.B. Prince @ $16.20.


                14 Replies
                1. re: souschef

                  I told you, I had to leave the shop. I was looking to spend around $100 for either 4 or 6 and now I can't remember exactly. They were very expensive and my dh would not of gotten it. He was with me at the time and I remember him picking them up, turning them over and shrugging. he gave me that look of "get em if you want." I felt too guilty, they do look odd and it was hard to explain this need to buy them. I have never eaten a canele, but needless to say I am just completely smitten and infatuated with them.

                  Can you explain how the beeswax works, and what is the puddle under the one canele I see of souschef's? They look terrific by the way, all of them.

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    I don't know how the beeswax works, but it's supposedly essential in order to get the required caramelized crust. There are actually puddles under all of them, the puddles being beeswax. I am surprised that the puddles are so large as I managed to get a very thin layer of beeswax in the molds; I got the molds nice and hot, then brushed them with the beeswax.

                    So chef, when are you going to enter the fray? We need the expertise here of a professional chef, which I am not.

                    1. re: souschef

                      The question about the "puddle" puzzled me, too, and I thought it might refer to the glistening, pale part of the canelé but I later realized that chef chicklet might be referring to the--shall I call it the "foot"?--formed by the deflated soufflé part of the canelé. (The part that tried to escape the building.)

                      1. re: pilinut

                        No the puddle was clear, I wasn't sure if it was melted butter or wax. I understand the foot, or where the canele swells and rolls over the side of the mold then shrinks back...

                      2. re: souschef

                        Oh no! I've never claimed to be a professional chef -uh uh ( I can only wish that were true!). It's a nickname only. I don't know if you were around when that topic came about & how/why we picked our user names. The nickname was given to me by my ex-neighbor and very good friend, she always called me that kiddingly because we both loved to cook, and I was her go to person when she had questions. When it came time to register on chowhound in my hurry to get going, that's all I could think of. Of course now I wished I'd chosen something more clever! So many great user names here. I think that our favorite name was a topic as well.

                        You say:
                        *"I got the molds nice and hot, then brushed them with the beeswax."*
                        Then do you chill the molds? Add the batter, and pop them into the oven?

                        I would love to join in the active part of this testing but I'm afraid It might not be until the weather cools before I can attempt the caneles. Another thing holding me up is I'll have to bite the bullet and purchase the molds soon too.

                        Are you using a conventional oven, electric or gas? Have you tried these in a convection oven and what are thoughts> bad idea?

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          Yeah, I regret using souschef as a name; I can think of much more clever names now.

                          After coating the molds I put them into the freezer for an hour or more, then fill them and put them into the oven.

                          I use a conventional electric oven. A convection oven ensures that you do not get cold spots, so all canelés will get cooked the same, but in terms of each individual one I don't think it will make a difference as the surface area is so small.

                    2. re: souschef

                      Thank you so much for trying the recipe I used, souschef! I thought that mine might have ballooned because of all the air worked in by the blender, but it sounds like you were much more careful with yours. Oddly, I don't remember getting the popover effect with the same recipe when I made them in the silicone molds 9 years ago. Could it be I just didn't fill them as high then as I did this time?

                      As for the rum, the way I measured out 15g turned out more like 2 tablespoons (or a bit more, actually--I like rum), my justification being that alcohol weighs less than water ;-)

                      I've been toying with the idea of repeating the experiment, too, but using a whisk, filling the unchilled molds 3/4 of the way, and baking them at the higher temperature suggested by gaetano. It would, of course, be more scientific to change just one variable at a time, but I'd have to eat way too many canelés . . .

                      1. re: souschef

                        P.S., I don't think there's any chance of your photos causing you to become a laughingstock. Your Roux canelé is as beautiful as any I've seen in a French patisserie.

                        1. re: pilinut

                          Indeed. I agree.

                          I have been following your efforts. I know this is blasphemous, but I have the silicone molds. Can you get decent ones with them? It sounds like you've tried it, pilinut.

                          1. re: karykat

                            I do have the silicone ones, too, but "decent" is relative. If you want an unusual, good-tasting, easy-to-make little cake, then silicone is your friend. It will taste like a canelé, but lack the uniquely crunchy exterior of the ideal canelé. I'd rate it a 5 out of 10. But if you've ever had a really, truly great canelé--a perfect 10--and are aiming for something close, scoring 8 or 9, I'm pretty sure you won't get it without the beeswax and the metal mold.

                            1. re: pilinut

                              Thanks pilinut. I do need to try out my molds. And bravo for everyone's search for the ultimate in caneles.

                        2. re: souschef

                          I have a couple of cannelés recipes (a Bordeaux specialty) and there is no mention of beewax. Where does that come from?

                          1. re: lamaranthe

                            If there is no mention of beeswax, the recipe writer has probably adopted the more modern approach of using either baking spray or oil in metal molds or using silicone molds. I believe the more traditionally accepted procedure is to line the metal molds with beeswax.

                            1. re: lamaranthe

                              Recipes that state that you should bake them in copper molds usually specify that you should apply a thin coat of beeswax mixed with peanut oil or some other oil to the insides of the molds before baking. Check out this site:

                              Recipes that tell you to use a silicone mold do not specify beeswax.

                          2. I was just looking at Paula Wolfert's recipe, thinking I'd try it next, but there are a few things about it that annoy me:
                            1) It calls for 3/4 cup cake flour, but does not say how it's measured - sifted or dip and sweep. What is the weight for heaven's sake?
                            2) It calls for baker's sugar, which is not available to the home cook. Again, 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons. Superfine sugar should be ok.
                            3) It calls for extra-large egg yolks. Not so serious, but the standard is large, and that's all I buy.

                            Here is the URL: http://www.paula-wolfert.com/recipes/...

                            End rant. I will probably try it at some point. My inclination is to also go back to the Roux recipe and eliminate the egg white.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: souschef

                              Really isn't baker's sugar just superfine? Here on the US west coast, you can buy a two-pound carton of C&H baker's sugar that is also labeled superfine and is no different from other superfine sugar I've seen.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I googled it and found that it is not really superfine technically, but practically it is, so why throw in a term that is not common.

                                1. re: souschef

                                  Yes, you're correct that it makes little sense to use an obscure term where it's not needed.

                            2. After my first batch of Roux canelés, where they developed what the Bordelais call "white asses" (no kidding), I switched from a shiny baking sheet to a black one, thinking that was the problem, when in fact I was underbaking the things.

                              Then, during a case of insomnia last night I got to thinking that maybe the bottom of the molds were getting too hot and so the batter was crawling out to escape the heat, so maybe the black pan was not such a good idea, and I should bake the things on an ordinary half sheet pan.

                              As I have only 5 molds I still had some pilinut batter (has a nice ring to it, does it not?) in the fridge, and so I should make one more attempt, on the sheet pan. I noticed that the batter today was different from yesterday. Yesterday there was a very thick skin on the batter, and I had to fight to stir it so it was evenly mixed; today there was a much thinner skin with sludge on the bottom, and it was easier to stir it. Maybe there is some truth to the statement that the longer it rests the batter, er, better?

                              So I tried another batch of pilinut batter (using a non-black sheet pan) and looked in on them (glass oven door) after 25 minutes; they looked EXACTLY like the Roux ones after 30 minutes, i.e. like soufflées, not popovers. Elated, I shouted, "Eureka!" (no, I did not run naked through the streets), thinking I resolved the problem, and went to get my camera. At 30 minutes I looked in again - popovers! So in that 5 minutes they changed from souflées to popovers. Predictably they failed again.

                              The more I think about it the more I am convinced that we do not need the leavening action of the egg whites.

                              So I am going to play with pilinut's and Roux's recipes, removing egg whites and adding rum.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: souschef

                                Perhaps had you run naked through the streets they would have come out perfectly. It sounds as if you've done just about everything else to and for the little buggers!

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Hey, you think as I do. I did not want to lose my couth and call them little buggers on this genteel site.

                                  I have not yet given up!

                                2. re: souschef

                                  Hmmm, I didn't think that the baking sheet under the molds would have a significant effect: I remember putting the molds on a cookie sheet (I only have formerly shiny ones) and thinking that the fluting on the bottom of the molds minimize the points of contact with the baking sheet and that the convection oven should be able to circulate the hot air evenly enough around the molds. (But then again, I do have this ability to rationalize the path of least resistance so that it would seem unnecessary to buy a dark cookie sheet.)

                                  Souschef--or anyone out there who has deliberately made popovers--perhaps we should find out what makes popovers pop and then avoid doing anything like that? Are we beating the eggs too much?

                                  I decided to revisit the Lemoine canelé recipe, just to get more information. I had thought too much sugar was what put me off the recipe, but I now realize it was my lack of comprehension of the English version recipe: what is "1 bag of sugar containing vanilla"? (In my kitchen a bag of sugar is 10 lbs.) or "1 spoonful with soup of melted butter"? (It should have been "soup spoon", but a tablespoon seemed like too little, and a soup ladle looked like too much.)

                                  But, for whatever it is worth to those of us on this mad quest, here's my rough translation of the Lemoine recipe, French version.

                                  Yield: around 15 canelés

                                  1/2 liter milk
                                  125 g flour
                                  1 soup spoon melted butter
                                  1 sachet vanilla sugar (I think they mean a sachet like the little Dr. Oetker ones)
                                  225 g sugar
                                  3 eggs

                                  Break 2 whole eggs in a bowl and add the yolk of the 3rd egg. Beat as for an omelette.
                                  Bring the milk to a boil and, pour it on the eggs while beating. Chill the mixture.
                                  Mix the sugar, flour, vanilla sugar and melted butter. To this, add the cooled milk mixture and combine well. Let rest 24 hours.
                                  Line the copper molds with beeswax, vegetable shortening, melted butter, or even better, spray shortening.
                                  Fill the molds 3/4 of the way. Place them on a baking sheet at the bottom of the oven and cook for 1 hour at 200C.
                                  Unmold while hot.

                                  You can freeze the mixture; let it defrost to room temperature and use normally.

                                  So there it is, as best as I can make it out. No freezing of molds, and batter at room temp. Which makes sense for most patisseries. Simpler is better. Let's see if it works.

                                  Now to persuade myself to go over that frustrating, convoluted beeswax ritual all over again.

                                  1. re: pilinut

                                    Pilinut, I have never made popovers, but I HAVE made souflées many times. What makes them puff is egg white (albeit beaten), and the pilinut batter definitely souffléed before it popped. What makes a soufflé collapse is when the proportion of egg white to the rest is too high. Hence my thought that egg white should be eliminated.

                                    Re the recipe: when you say "chill the mixture" I think you mean cool to room temperature, do you not? And are you sure that you have to add that small amount of butter to so much dry ingredients? I'm sure that it would be the equivalent of creating "nuggets" in kitty litter, i.e. It would clump.

                                    I don't know if I would be comfortable leaving egg batter unrefrigerated for 24 hours.

                                    I wish I had got a picture of the pilibatter after 25 minutes. Those soufflées were spectacular !!!

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      What you say about soufflés helps explain why my two attempts at Soufflés Grand Marnier didn't quite work. (DH didn't want to eat 3 in one week, and I never got around to making more.) Perhaps if I applied my soufflé technique to canelés. . .?

                                      Re chilling the milk mixture, you are right, the English version of the recipe, which ironically is harder for an Anglophone to understand than the French, does say "let cool." The French version has "refroidir". Both say about the batter "let rest 24h" without mentioning refrigeration. But I agree with you and would certainly make it a refrigerated rest.

                                      As for the butter--well, that's one reason I decided not to use the recipe. It didn't seem like enough butter, and mixing it with the flour and sugar would sounded like making more problems for my lazy self. I, too, dread those clumps. They remind me of cellulite. Would that be worse than kitty litter?

                                      1. re: pilinut

                                        If you need help with soufflés pick up a copy of this book; it taught me how to make them.


                                    2. re: pilinut

                                      Pilinut, I am wondering why the beeswax ritual is so frustrating as I don't have much trouble, but then maybe I have it all wrong. If possible, would you please post a closeup picture of one mold coated correctly.

                                      1. re: souschef

                                        Oh, I'm pretty sure it is I who have it wrong! You see people in the videos literally brushing the stuff on the molds and ending up with a nice, almost translucent coating of uniform thickess. Mine just clumped on the brush and on the parts of the mold it got dabbed on. How did you manage to coat your molds? You have lustrous dark canelés that obviously did not stick. What kind of brush did you use? How did you keep the oil from solidifying too fast?

                                        I'm wondering if I should have heated up the oil before adding it to the melted beeswax.

                                        1. re: pilinut

                                          I used peanut oil with the beeswax because that was what Roux specified. After the beeswax melted I poured in an equal amount of oil, swirled it around to mix, then left it on the turned-off electric stove while I worked. You have to work fast. I heated the molds for a few seconds in the oven (I could still hold them in my hand), then brushed on the wax with an ordinary, cheap pastry brush. They are less than $1 each, so I dispose of them after.

                                          I had to reheat the oil to do all the molds, and I had only 5 to do.

                                          If you get the molds very hot, such that you can't hold them in your bare hands, you can brush on the wax so that it does not look like you have any on the molds, even when it's set, but I don't think that's the right way to go.

                                          To make sure that the wax does not clump on the brush while working I keep dipping the brush in the warm wax often. Sometimes it works and sometimes I swear, in French naturally.

                                          1. re: souschef

                                            Tabernac' you are the most devoted baker I've ever known, dear sc.

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              I am more likely to say, "sacrifice de basse messe", which I learnt from my late MIL.

                                  2. Cleaning Canelé Molds

                                    Paula Wolfert states that you should not wash canelé molds; you should just burn off any debris in the oven, then oil them before you put them away. BUT, any oil turns rancid after a while. The same is true of crèpe pans; I wash mine. What do the rest of you do?

                                    1. Thank you so much Souschef and Pilinut, I appreciate your effors and testing.
                                      I also love reading your adventures, and the back and forth comparisons.

                                      I have to wonder how many times the originators of some of the recipes you've tried made there own? Or maybe not as determined as you are for quality results?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                        I suspect that some of the originators did not open their kimonos completely when it came to revealing all of the details about a recipe.

                                        Paula Wolfert says she knows one of the secrets, but I doubt it is part of her published recipe; she was undoubtedly sworn to secrecy.

                                      2. Pilinut, check out this link on making canelés at the Lenôtre Pastry School in Paris. Note the picture on the second page, taken after 30 minutes; that is EXACTLY what the Roux canelés looked like after 30 minutes, and what the ones made with your batter looked like after 25 minutes.


                                        Looking at the colour of those things in the pictures, I am convinced that I need to get copper molds as aluminium is reactive (hence changing the colour) whereas tin is not, IIRC.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: souschef

                                          Thanks for the link, souschef! I did note, however, that their canelés were pale on top probably meaning that they climbed the molds while baking--your Roux ones looked much better.

                                          This afternoon, I started my next batch of batter and I waxed the molds, too. (I needed 3 more eggwhites for a pavlova I was making, so it seemed too good an opportunity to try the canelé recipe with one less eggwhite, as you mentioned it might help.) Oh, and I used a flat whisk to combine the ingredients, instead of the blender, and I poured the batter through a sieve, too.

                                          As for the molds, I warmed them for a few minutes in the 250F in which the pavlova was baking while melting my white oil (which is more than 50% beeswax) in the microwave. I had enough oil to fill almost 1 1/2 molds, so wearing a thick dishwashing glove and using a paper towel in the other hand, I poured the hot oil into a hot molds and poured the excess into the next mold, etc., then inverted the mold onto a rack to drip off any excess. This procedure was far easier than my earlier attempt, but I hope I got enough of a coating on the molds because I couldn't see the wax lining inside the molds.

                                          The batter now sits at the back of the fridge, possibly waiting to surprise me with more popovers.

                                          I will let you know what happens. If it works, I shall christen the minus-one eggwhite technique the souschef variation!

                                        2. ♥ this word-by-word canelé thread! Thank you for taking us along on a pleasure-ride. With each bite into the mysterious realm of the canelé, I will reflect on your discoveries.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                            Really, you should be joining the fray! I'm sure your expertise would help.

                                            1. re: pilinut

                                              Are you saying that Cynsa is an expert who has just been sitting with her feet up at the back of the boat, enjoying the ride, but is unwilling to come up front to help us row?

                                              If so, I think we should throw her off the boat, into the swamp we are passing through :)

                                              1. re: souschef

                                                I bow to y'all with subject humility. My 'expertise' is eating the elusive canelé with passion and delight. Timing is crucial and I was fortunate to be with pilinut to taste a batch fresh-baked at a favorite San Francisco patisserie that surpassed all others - the creamy custardy center enrobed with the crunch of its delicate caramelized mahogany shell. I marvel at the mystery and the science of this.
                                                Throw me into the swamp - I've pulled on the hip-waders.

                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                    Which patisserie ?

                                                    Can you describe as closely as possible what they looked like. You said mahogany, so I was wondering if they were lighter or darker than my Roux version.

                                                    I see a bunch on blogs and websites that are golden in colour. Can they be that shade yet caramelized? And I can't help but wonder if some of those were treated for food photography prior to being shot; some almost look like they had a glaze applied. Call me a cynic.

                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                      Patisserie Philippe on Townsend between 7th and 8th in San Francisco. I'd had canelés there a couple of times before and were not as crisp as they were that day with Cynsa. It may be that, since I had previously had them later in the afternoon, they had softened.

                                                      As far as looks go, they were the color of light or medium roast coffee beans. I kid you not, your Roux canelés look just right. Now from whom did I hear that patisseries in the US don't bake them as dark as they should because customers think they're burnt?

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        From your profile I see you are in the Bay Area. So how come you have not sampled them yet?

                                              2. Sitting back and considering all of the recipes I have perused, it occurred to me that they can be put into two broad categories, those that combine hot milk with eggs, and those that combine cold milk with eggs.

                                                I have done both, and the hot milk with eggs was more successful than the other, but I did not like futzing with condensed milk and milk powder. So the logical thing to do next is hot milk with eggs using the pilinut ingredients, modified a bit. I'll call this the hot pilinut variation. Hope I can start today (long weekend here).

                                                What I plan to do is go back to basics. The centre of the damn, pardon me, the lovely canelé should be custardy, so I should start as if making custard (crème patissière). I want a relatively thick batter and I get this by beating egg yolk alone (no white in custard) with sugar till thick and light-coloured, then adding flour, and then pouring in the milk. Not having egg whites would also resolve a problem I had the last time - the snotty texture of the whites did not get combined easily, and I had to work it a bit.

                                                Question now is when to add the butter, and in what form. The hot milk added to the cold butter may be a bit of a red-herring; I think I will melt the butter and add it at the end, together with the rum (1/4 cup this time). Additionally, vanilla beans are expensive, so I will instead use vanilla extract (the good stuff, not the artificial), 2 teaspoons.

                                                So, how many egg yolks? When I use 500 ml of milk for pastry cream, I use 6 yolks, so that is what I am going to do. As Michel Roux says in his book, these are not light, but not even the most beautiful girl in the world has everything.

                                                Considering the debacle between 25 minutes and 30 minutes the last time, this time I will take more pictures of "the little buggers".

                                                I have a $50 gift certificate from my favourite cookware store, so on Tuesday I will see if they can get me some copper Mauviel molds. The certificate should ease the sting of the price. I plan to get 6, and hope they can match the JB Prince price ($16.20).

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  An analysis worthy of any philiosopher! And you are much braver than I when it comes to tinkering with a recipe, so hats off! I will be awaiting your results with baited breath, and cheering you at (or near) the finish line. GO, SOUSCHEF, GO!!!

                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                    Where angels fear to tread (I'm an electrical engineer, not a philosopher).......

                                                    I have a batch of hot pilinut batter resting comfortably in my fridge. I followed the process I said I would, except that instead of melting the butter and mixing it at the end, I swirled it into the hot milk.

                                                    I think that the butter is there just for taste, so if this works out it will be interesting to try out "buerre noisette" in the recipe.

                                                    Wouldn't it be interesting if we got Rose Levy Beranbaum interested in figuring this out?

                                                    Darn this cooling period!

                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                    Please clear this up for moi. Is the canele a batter fit for a crepe or a waterdowned pate choux?Whilst I ask dumb questions, what or who's recipe are you now using? Photos (not yours) seem to range from cakey, to pate choux. I am so confused. My readings on the subject took me to believe the canele is a very moist pate choux (webbing and airholes) and then the center becoming like custard. The out surface with thin thin layer of sugar that breaks with deep caramel notes, and the center with a hint of rum.
                                                    Am I even close?

                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                      I'll try and clear it up, but please bear in mind that I have only eaten canelés that I have made; the ersatz ones I ate in Montreal were rubbery affairs.

                                                      The batter resembles crêpe batter, but that's where the resemblace ends. It bakes up into a cake with a custardy interior, the cake part being more moist than a usual cake. It does not resemble pate à choux at all; choux is mostly air.

                                                      Please take this with a grain of salt. If I am blowing smoke up everyone's skirt someone please correct me.

                                                      1. re: chef chicklet

                                                        The canelé is the duck-billed platypus of the pastry world. It is cake, cookie, pudding, and custard all in one. Possibly a cocktail, if souschef ups the rum ;-)

                                                        The batter is a little thicker than the one for crêpes. (Caveat: based on my obviously imperfect results.) On the other hand, a good canelé, once cooked and cut neatly in half, will exhibit some similarity to pâte à choux. The custardy-ness comes as much from the flavor as from the texture, but is is a firm custard, not at all runny. The caramelization of the exterior is not due to a layer of sugar applied to the mold, but to the sugar already in the batter and the long cooking time. The exterior gloss is the result of beeswax, butter, or oil coating the mold.

                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                          In what way is it similar to pâte à choux? Looks alone, or looks and texture? I have difficulty imagining that it has the same texture as choux.

                                                          Are you supposed to have an air space between the top of the canelé and where the custard starts?

                                                        2. re: chef chicklet

                                                          To answer your question about whose recipe I am using: I am using the ingredients in pilinut's recipe in the first post, except that I am using 6 egg yolks instead of 2 eggs and 2 yolks. As well, the technique I am using is my own, well, I call it my own but you may well find it on the Internet somewhere.

                                                          BTW Chef Chicklet, thank you for unwittingly giving me a much-deserved prod into trying to make these things. It was when you said on the other thread that I really got your interest that I decided to try to make them.

                                                          On gaetano's link is a statement from a chef in Philly that it took him months to work out the recipe, so we should not feel too bad about stumbling in the dark for the last week or so.

                                                      2. Thought I would post this about the wax layer, from a Philly baker who makes canalés; it is on a link from gaetano's link:

                                                        "Candles and canelés are different objects. Use just a film of wax, not enough to set a wick." This was in response to the infamous video, to which the Philly baker took exception.

                                                        So it seems like a good idea to get the molds warm but not hot before coating them.

                                                        Looking forward to pilinut's report on her latest attempt.

                                                        1. And the saga continues......

                                                          After the appropriate rest in my fridge, the canelé batter (the hot pilinut version) was taken out and beaten, not because it was bad, but because a skin had developed on top. After beating it I toyed with the idea of straining it, but it seemed lump-free, so I didn't.

                                                          I followed the waxing ritual, chilled and filled the molds, and baked the pesky things. Took pictures at 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and when done. I did not want to screw things up too much when I took the pictures, so did not turn the tray at 30 minutes, which was perhaps a mistake.

                                                          Picture 1: at 30 minutes. Notice that they tended towards popping, but not quite. They were definitely not as straight up or as high as the Roux versions.

                                                          Picture 2: at 60 minutes. Notice that they seemed to settle down, to the point that one is down slighly lower than the top of the mold (I had filled them all to that level).

                                                          Picture 3: at 70 minutes. Panic time, thinking they were done too much. I took only two out of the oven. The one on the left looks not too bad. The one on the the right is trying to play Houdini.

                                                          Picture 4: at 85 minutes. A study in contrasts. The one on the left is almost perfect, I think, the one in the middle is passable if you do not know better, and the one on the right is just plain underbaked. I guess not turning the tray is what did it. Picture 5 is a top view of the same thing.

                                                          Now how is that for inconclusive ??? Expletives deleted here. Some tried to climb out and some did not. Was it the difference in heat?

                                                          The proof of the pudding:

                                                          85-minute canelés:
                                                          Left: Now I understand what the fuss is all about. The shell was nice and crunchy, but could have been a bit more crunchy. The inside was amazing - wonderfully custardy and delicious, but needed more rum! I took a picture of the inside, but it does not show the texture too well.

                                                          Middle: Just as custardy, but not as crunchy.

                                                          70-minute canelés:
                                                          Left: Obviously not as crunchy as the 85-minute ones, but definitely even more custardy and delicious.

                                                          It is darn frustrating that not all turned out the same, but the best one was amazing, and my first inclination is to bake another batch using the batter I have in the fridge, so that is what is going to happen this evening. I am going to turn the tray after 30 minutes, and let them bake for at least 90 minutes.

                                                          Stay tuned for more results. I think I am getting close........famous last words? I hope not !

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                            I decided to attach the picture of the best canelé cut open after all; you do see the custardy softness,

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              I am thrilled that you are making so much progress, souschef! I tried baking 3 last night, and did not have any escapees--in fact, they were too short, probably because I overcompensated and left a good 1/2 inch between the batter and the top of the mold, and they shrank at the end of cooking.

                                                              But the results, thanks in part to your suggestions, are a definite improvement, though no cigar for me yet: a bit too crunchy in the exterior, but tender, custardy interior. I used a really fragrant rum (Pyrat XO) , so 2T was just about right.

                                                              Oh, yes, oven temp! I started out at 425 for the first 15 minutes and went down to 400 for an hour in the toaster oven (not convection). Very dark and crusty--borderline burnt around the edges, but still delicious!

                                                              I took some pics. but have to find the cable and may have to persuade DH to download and upload the pics. (He's an electrical engineer.) Now I have to fix dinner but will try to get back to finish my report.

                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                "a bit too crunchy in the exterior, but tender, custardy interior. "

                                                                Pilinut, I didn't think that a canelé could be too crunchy. I'm glad that you're making progress too.

                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  A more accurate description would be that the crust is a bit too thick, as you'll see if I manage to get the pictures up. The top edges were also black--kind of burnt, really--so I might have cooked the canelés too long or at too high a temperature.

                                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                                    My wife felt that the crusts of mine were too thick as well. I wonder if baking longer would result in a thinner crust, in my case anyway since you said yours were tending to the burnt side.

                                                                    Oh well, we'll have to tackle each issue one thing at a time. At least so far we have the custard using two different recipes, and we have the caramelization.

                                                                    Just for the record I will post the Michel Roux recipe later today. As I said before, I would like to play with it too.

                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                      Well, my last batch came out of the oven just before midnight PDT--I'd say 10 minutes too soon, because 2 of the 7 were barely golden, 3 were golden-brown, and 2 were a nice mahogany. From 5 minutes overdone to 10 minutes underdone. . . I cut one of the mid-colored ones open and found the crust thinner but not as crisp, and the interior a bit too much like flan. One hour was definitely not enough in my toaster oven, though 1.5 hours was too much.

                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                        PDT? I thought you lived in France?

                                                                        How were your molds lined up ? I tend to keep mine in a square formation, per my pictures, but just remembered that in the video they were all in a straight line. Something to try the next time.

                                                            2. Hello pilinut, and greetings from Sherman Oaks, California. I don't think that I have the time or the strength to share all of my own Canele misadventures to date....suffice it to say, I do believe we are cut from the same cloth :)

                                                              I even joined up at the e-gullet to follow their Canele thread. I've had silicone molds, tinned copper molds, etc.

                                                              I'm about to run out to grill some steaks, so I will cut to the quick....after years of trying most of what you've experienced, including dreadful beeswax experiences that I won't even elaborate on, here is what works for me:

                                                              I use the Michel Roux recipe, and will no longer use my silicone molds. No beeswax AT ALL. I paint the inside of my large Canele molds with peanut oil, and then I give each one a nice spray of Pam!

                                                              Our little family of two is very happy indeed when I prepare these treats.

                                                              Best wishes and luck on your fun obsession!


                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: JeffW

                                                                Unless you have had a particularly unpleasant experience using beeswax as a depilatory, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                  Hi again pilinut,

                                                                  First off, my Michel Roux recipe is different than the one listed below. This intrigues me. Both recipes with his name....and different measurements. Anyway, here is the one I've used, for your obsessing pleasure :)

                                                                  I've mentally blocked out anything to do with Beeswax from my memory....but if I must go back to this period of time, I think I ended up paying a tidy sum for edible beeswax from a company that also manufactures aromatic oils....the smell was noxious for me...it was a b--ch to clean up from in the vessel that I melted it in....the molds were a double b--ch to clean thoroughly, etc.


                                                                  Michel Roux's Canneles

                                                                  1 1/2 cups sweetened condensed milk (15.6 oz.)
                                                                  2 1/2 cups sugar (17.5 oz.)
                                                                  1 2/3 cups flour (7.5 oz.)
                                                                  3 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks (5.25 oz. whole egg + 1.35 oz. yolk)
                                                                  5 tbsp rum (2.4 oz.)
                                                                  2 1/2 cups water (20 oz.)
                                                                  4 tbsp unsalted butter (2 oz.)
                                                                  1/2 cup whole milk powder (45 g.)

                                                                  Combine condensed milk, sugar, flour, whole eggs, yolks and rum with a whisk.
                                                                  Put the water, butter and powdered milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Still whisking, pour the boiling liquid into the condensed milk mixture and mix until very smooth. Pour through a chinoise, let cool completely, transfer to an air tight container, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

                                                                  Preheat oven to 350º pure convection. Prepare molds by brushing the insides with a combination of melted beeswax and peanut oil. Place the molds upside down on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, until the wax has set. Arrange the molds on a baking sheet.

                                                                  Whisk the Cannele mixture and fill the molds almost to the top (2.75 oz.). Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the Canneles are deeply colored. Immediately unmold them onto a cooling rack.

                                                                  Makes 24 large (2” x 2”) Canneles

                                                                  1. re: JeffW

                                                                    The "two" Michel Roux recipes are really the same. My book has measurements in both Imperial and Metric, where the Imperial correspond to what you have listed. Roux, being French, works in Metric, and the Imperial measures are close approximations.

                                                                    I prefer to work in metric as I like to work with nice round numbers and hate messing around with odd fractions of an ounce and tablespoons of butter, so I listed only the metric measurements.

                                                                    1. re: JeffW

                                                                      Thank you very much for the recipe, JeffW! I'm still trying to figure out the rationale for condensed milk and milk powder. When you made this recipe, did it have any taste of condensed milk at all? What did you think of the results?

                                                                      It seems that the beeswax made a lasting impression on you ;-) But I know what you mean about cleaning up that stuff. I went through a LOT of wax paper and aluminum foil!

                                                                      Please, why don't you join us? You're already well along the learning curve, so don't let that beeswax experience go to waste!

                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                        Hey Pilinut, don't make such an issue of the beeswax thing. I don't want to discourage others from getting involved - thinking here of Chef Chicklet and bushwickgirl; I think we have lost buttertart. And let's not talk about Cynsa (I hope the crocs get her !)!

                                                                        The first time I worked with beeswax I did curse, but quickly learned to lay down paper towels so that the drips fall on the towels instead of the counter. Also, I line my baking tray with parchment paper instead of wax paper as in the oven the wax on the paper would melt. If the wax gets onto the baking tray I just wipe it up with paper towels while it is still hot, then clean it with soapy water when cool.

                                                                        BTW if you work with parchment paper make sure it it rated to the temperature you will be baking it. When I removed the sheet I used yesterday in my convection toaster oven it just crumbled (it had turned brown).

                                                                        I also do not mess with silicone brushes, but use cheap ones from the dollar store, and dispose of them after one use.

                                                                  2. re: JeffW

                                                                    Are you the blogger who bakes his canelé in a large bundt pan?

                                                                  3. As I said, I was going to bake one more batch tonight. I baked them for 90 minutes, and here is a picture; the canelés are actually a bit darker than in the picture. Two turned out great; the other three were light on the top. Can't explain it. Have to stop baking and do some analysis

                                                                    Well, that's it for the baking until I get some copper molds.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                      I have the remainder of the batter in the oven. I think the biggest problem may be overfilling. Better under than over as this last batch--half a cm from the top--rose up and developed overhangs that I have not been able to get rid off, despite lots of poking. Can't trust those little monsters!

                                                                      In fact, I just burned my left hand after accidentally hitting the 425F oven thermometer. The canelé gods are not smiling on me at the moment, and I think I'll give it a rest until my hand is better. But I'll try posting photos later--or tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.

                                                                    2. Here is Michel Roux's recipe from his book "Finest Desserts", which has some spectacular-looking desserts (take note, buttertart ;)). I thought I would post it as it is different from all the other recipes I have seen. Perhaps other Chowhounds will try it?

                                                                      250 ml unsweetened condensed milk or 350 ml full cream sweetened condensed milk
                                                                      540 gm sugar/440 gm if using sweetened condensed milk
                                                                      240 gm flour
                                                                      3 whole eggs plus 2 yolks
                                                                      5 Tbsp rum
                                                                      600 ml water
                                                                      60 gm butter
                                                                      60 gm whole milk powder
                                                                      Equal small quantities of beeswax and peanut oil

                                                                      In a large bowl combine the condensed milk, sugar, flour, eggs and yolks, and rum and mix with a spatula.

                                                                      In a saucepan combine the water, butter and milk powder, and bring to a boil, whisking all the time. Pour it into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Mix till smooth, then pass through a conical sieve. Let cool then refrigerate for at least 24 hours in an airtight container.

                                                                      Preheat the oven to 400°F.

                                                                      Greasing the molds: melt the beeswax in a saucepan over low heat, then mix in an equal quantity of peanut oil. Warm the molds in the oven, then brush them with the beeswax mixture and leave them upside down for 5 minutes. Place the molds on a chilled baking sheet.

                                                                      Give the batter a good mix, then fill the molds to within 1/12 in of the top. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the tray through 180° and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the blighters are deeply coloured. Immediately unmold onto a cooling rack.

                                                                      I don't know why he messes around with milk powder, as 600 ml of water combined with 60 gm of milk powder makes 600 ml of whole milk. When I make it again I will just use whole milk.

                                                                      I wonder why he uses a chilled baking sheet.

                                                                      Note that he is not stingy with the rum, and that he does not use vanilla.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        I'm checking Roux out (and wishing you'd get off your canelé high horse and come back to play in my Baking VI back yard more often). ;-)
                                                                        Holy Hannah! you better treasure your copy of the Roux, look at this:
                                                                        (not a link - how do you post a link anyway? - copy/paste)

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          That WAS a link you included. It is available on Amazon for $29.95. Funny how it is with books. I picked up two copies for maybe $5 each, new at a bookstore many years ago, and gave them as gifts to friends.

                                                                          "High horse?" I am ever so 'umble, mum.

                                                                          This canelé thing is almost an obsession, but I will be back playing in your backyard shortly as I will be making the chestnut pound cake from 'Pure Dessert'.

                                                                          I went out to my favourite cookware store today to get a price on copper canelé molds. Maudit! $28 for one friggin' mold. I need 6, so with taxes that's about $190! If JB Prince is willing to ship USPS instead of UPS I'll go that route (hate paying brokerage fees); else I have to look for other options.

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            It became a link as I posted. Will look into the Amazon offering...
                                                                            Expensive obsession!

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              Bloody expensive obsession! Aren't all obsessions expensive?

                                                                              I found a U.S. site where I can get them for $20 each, free shipping, plus $17 international fees (brokerage, duties). Still expensive. Have to examine the finances. I don't think I will be able to get the ones pilinut got from Paris.

                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                Any URL including the www or http automatically becomes a hotlink, so cut and paste is all. When your post first shows up after you hit submit, it will show in black, but it is already a link you can click on despite not showing in blue.

                                                                        2. I was about to throw out the last of the batter, but it looked like there was enough for 2 more gremlins, so I did the wax thing on two molds, froze them, and put in some batter. There was enough for one more beyond that, so I just bunged it into a naked, untreated mold; I thought it would be good to see the result.

                                                                          It is hot today, and despite having a/c I did not want to turn on the oven, so I threw them into my convection toaster oven at 375 degrees.

                                                                          The first picture was taken at 30 minutes. Note that there is no tendency to popover; they rose straight up, though not as much as the Roux ones. The one on the right is the one that did not get the hot wax treatment.

                                                                          They did not shrink and go down to the level of the tops of the molds when done; they stayed pretty much high.

                                                                          The second picture was taken after they were baked for 85 minutes. The first one looks like it climbed, but I don't think it did; it just looks like that as the second one was higher. Funny, but the middle one developed an outsie bellybutton. The one without the hot wax treatment (far right) had to be coaxed to come out.

                                                                          They were all baked too long and tasted burnt. The one in the untreated mold looks about the sameas the others, which makes me wonder if this copper mold/beeswax thing is all just myth.

                                                                          The reason I am submitting this is because they did not popover, so I was wondering if the fact that the batter was in the fridge about 3 days had anything to do with it. Perhaps pilinut should do a test, baking some after 24 hours, then after 72 hours.

                                                                          Pilinut, what is a "Pili" ? To me, "pilipili" is Swahili for hot pepper; also, Pili was a character in an episode of the TV series Xena.


                                                                          37 Replies
                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            Hi, souschef, I forgot to congratulate you on the beautiful cross-section of your canelé in the picture above. That's it! No bubble between the crown and the rest of the cake. I can't tell how moist and custardy the interior is, but it looks wonderful--and better than anything I've made.

                                                                            Before I forget to answer the question regarding my name, the pilinut comes from the kernel of a tree (canarium ovatum) native to the Philippines, like me. It also happens to be one of my favorite nuts with a taste and texture somewhere between pinenut and brazil nut.

                                                                            Canelés are weird little beasts, aren't they? I can't imagine why one would develop an "out" belly button. . . But maybe locking up the batter in the fridge over 24 hours helps tame it? What would happen if one froze the batter and then thawed it just before using?

                                                                            Here are the pictures (I hope) of my attempts:
                                                                            1. one of the infamous Popovers--Batter A
                                                                            2. the results of overcompensation--Batter B, batch 1
                                                                            3. Batter B, batches 3 and 2, showing top and side views
                                                                            4. Batter B, batch 2, cross-section
                                                                            5. Batter B, batch 3, cross-section

                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                              Pilinut, some of yours look really good; there is one in picture 3 that looks perfect.

                                                                              I have seen pictures of some, professionally made, where there IS an air space between the crown and the rest of the cake; who knows what's right! I guess that if the taste and texture are fine that is all that matters.

                                                                              What we need to do is work on getting them consistent every time. I don't know if it would help to freeze the batter, but I somehow doubt it.

                                                                              Last weekend at a food store in the Laurentian Mountains north of here I saw a guy in a food store who was wearing a chef's tunic from Lenôtre's school. I asked him about our favourite beasts, and his first question was about the type of mold I was using; he insisted that I need copper molds. That does not explain your problems, of course. He was working, so I did not get to talk to him very long.

                                                                              I will be getting 6 Mauviel copper molds in a couple of weeks, so will chase this again then.

                                                                              BTW I followed gaetano's link, which ultimately is supposed to lead you to a video about making them, done at a Store in France called Ballardran. Unfortunately I could not get the video to open.

                                                                              One idea I had was the following: Roux uses condensed milk, which is thicker than milk, so how about using a bit of cream? Yes, I know, a tribute to cholesterol.

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                Wow, Mauviel molds! I've seen them and they are gorgeous! I think they will make a difference. You must post photos, especially in comparison with the ones you use now. I was toying with the idea of buying 4 more. It seems that one batch of batter makes 14 pieces.

                                                                                I was wondering about cream, too, but I'm afraid it will make my canelé even heavier than it is now. I think the density of the batter may be causing the gap between the crown and the rest of the insides. I'm also wondering why my canelés sink so much in the middle, at the end opposite the crown. I know that their middles should be slightly concave, but mine were like craters.

                                                                                Another thought: should we weigh the eggs? Perhaps eggs here are a bit bigger than eggs in France. Or should I cut down on the milk? Cook the eggs, sugar, and some of the milk to make a thin custard before adding the rest of the ingredients? Add a pinch of baking powder? Prostrate ourselves before the oven?

                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                  Do you really want to buy 4 more molds and bake 14 at a time ? Remember that they do not keep, so they have to be eaten right away.

                                                                                  If you do decide to buy them, the best source price-wise ($16.20) is below, but you have to pay for shipping:

                                                                                  The next best is more expensive ($19.95), but you do not pay shipping:

                                                                                  This is about the same as Amazon.

                                                                                  Re eggs, I checked The Cake Bible, and RLB recommends weighing them as even within a grade they may vary. Good catch; I had not thought of that. Since there are so many variables I will weigh the next eggs I use and make sure I match that weight (without shells) every time. Then I can play with the other components.

                                                                                  I would not use baking powder as they rise enough unaided.

                                                                                  Prostate ourselves before the oven, and have the canelé gods laugh at us ? Not likely ! I want to master this and laugh in their faces !

                                                                                  The one thing I am still puzzled about is the use of cold butter. If it's going to get melted in the milk anyway, why specify that it should be cold? Is it just part of the mystique? But I'll do it anyway.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    Hi, souschef! Yes, I did think better of blowing another $80 on molds. I had thought of getting them more because I only wanted to do one round of beeswax pouring than because I wanted to bake all 14 canelés at one time.

                                                                                    I had also one round of relatively easy beeswaxing, and I think I'll do it that way from now on: melt enough wax and oil to fill 1 1/2 molds and pour the wax from mold to mold, making sure that the molds are very warm. I think that's why in several of the videos with professional chefs, they melt so much beeswax. I keep the white oil in a dedicated jar and just re-melt in the microwave when I need it. I heat the wax on top of a baking tray covered with foil, and do my pouring over a sheet of wax paper, which I try to re-use the next time I have to line the molds.

                                                                                    (There, I hope I've induced some of the fence-sitters to give it a shot!)

                                                                                    This has been a real challenge, but I can't remember when I've had more fun running along the bottom of a learning curve, which is clearly because I've had such great company!

                                                                                    For the next round of our exercise in masochism (oops, I meant the next round of our Noble Quest), I am thinking of using half cake flour and smaller eggs. If that doesn't get me higher up the curve, I may try slightly cooking the butter, eggs, and sugar in hot milk before mixing in the flour. . . The possibilities are endless. (Is that a good thing?)

                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                      PILINUT QUOTE: "There, I hope I've induced some of the fence-sitters to give it a shot!"

                                                                                      Yeah, it's time that the armchair canelémeisters got off their, um, armchairs, and joined in, perhaps even using muffin pans to start with.

                                                                                      PILINUT QUOTE: "This has been a real challenge, but I can't remember when I've had more fun running along the bottom of a learning curve, which is clearly because I've had such great company!"

                                                                                      Pilinut, my dear, we are waaaaay above the bottom of the learning curve. We have custard !!! And yes, I am enjoying myself tremendously as the company has been great. I am almost begining to like Cynsa too :-)

                                                                                      PILINUT QUOTE: "For the next round of our exercise in masochism (oops, I meant the next round of our Noble Quest), "

                                                                                      I like to think of it as our Quest for the Holy Grail, but hopefully we are not approaching it in Monty Pythonesque fashion !

                                                                                      PILINUT QUOTE: "I am thinking of using half cake flour and smaller eggs. If that doesn't get me higher up the curve, I may try slightly cooking the butter, eggs, and sugar in hot milk before mixing in the flour. . . The possibilities are endless. (Is that a good thing?)"

                                                                                      Too many possibilities (variables) Cake flour usually gives you a softer cake, so I don;t know how this would tie in with your looking for a thinner crust. Smaller eggs ? you are braver than I, nursing this along while juggling so many variables.

                                                                                      The Baillardran technique is for all intents and purposes the same as mine, so I am going to call it the Baillardran-Souschef technique, henceforth called the BS technique.

                                                                                      I am satisfied that the BS technique yields a nice custardy interior, but so far I have only tried it when using 6 egg yolks. Since I need a thinner crust I am thinking some air in the crust, and that points me to egg whites. The logical thing to do now is to return to your ingredients in the first post of this thread and use the BS technique on those ingredients.

                                                                                      If it works, great. If it needs more custard I will increase the number of egg yolks. Of coures, I will carefully weigh the eggs. BTW as an aside, buttertart once thought I was a bit obsessive (not her words, but I can't remember them) when I mentioned weighing egg whites. I just remembered that I read somewhere that when separating eggs you lose a whole white in about 6 eggs or so because of the white clinging to the shell.

                                                                                      I am itching to get re-started. Now where are those Mauviels ?

                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                        i never said you, i said I found RLB a bit precious on the point. But have changed my opinion on the matter after doing a few more of her cakes.

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          OK, my apologies. I stand corrected.

                                                                                          BTW you should make RLB's Golden Grand Marnier cake from TCB. It is wonderful. There is something about sour cream cakes that I really love.

                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                            I will. Must get the Grand Marnier for it - always makes me think of my dad who loved it and it was the subject of one of the few war stories he was willing to tell - holing up in a wine cellar in northern France and coming across (pilfering) Grand Marnier and Champagne, and using the Champagne as mixer for the Grand Marnier. Yes sour cream cakes are ze best.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                              Hm! Grand Marnier and Champagne; that would make an interesting Kir Royale. I must try that.

                                                                                              BTW about 10 years ago my wife gave me at Christmas a bottle of the stuff Grand Marnier made for their 150th anniversary. It was super smooth and wonderful; it made ordinary GM taste very ordinary. The bottle then was about $160. I wonder how much it is now.

                                                                                        2. re: souschef

                                                                                          Speaking of cupcake molds, I was at Target yesterday, browsing around the cookware section, and what did I see? Well, there were these Nordicware non-stick brownie molds (since when did brownies have to be molded?) that looked like slightly squashed canelé molds, complete with the bellybutton! I spent the next 10 minutes turning them around, putting them in my cart, taking them out. . . I finally left them there because I was concerned about the white non-stick interior not holding up to the heat, or causing the beeswax to slide off. Now, if I can find a non-non-stick tray of such brownie molds, I think it just might set off a canelé baking relapse.

                                                                                          I've been trying to download that dratted Real Player so I can see the Baillardran video, but no luck.

                                                                                          I'm considering the cake flour because it's weaker than AP, and may help the soufflés come back down straight into the molds instead of puffing outward and catching on the edges. I have no idea what sort of implication it may have on the thickness or crunch of the exterior. This is beginning to feel like the Canelé Genome Project. . .

                                                                                          I'm almost as anxious as you for those Mauviels to get to you: I can hardly wait to see the next set of pictures! In the meantime, I've got to buy more of that Pyrat rum (or something like it) and beeswax those molds, in preparation for the next round of our Noble Quest for the Holy Canelé!

                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                            On the Baillardran site there is a link to a site from which you can download RealPlayer; it works!

                                                                                            There is a flaw in the video. The chef dumps the milk into the egg mixture all in one go; however, it is my understanding that you should first add only a small amount of milk in order to avoid getting scrambled egg. It may not matter with all that sugar and flour in the mix, but when I do it I will not take a chance.

                                                                                            It's curious, but in Paula Wolfert's recipe she tells you that when straining the batter you should push any congealed egg through the sieve. Now what would cause the egg to congeal except if it was in contact with too much heat?

                                                                                            So Pilinut, should we officially call ourselves the Canelé Knights, and make our battle cry, "CUSTARD!!!!!" ???

                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                              Hey Pilinut, Friday night, my wife is out with a friend, and I thought it would not do any harm to try the BS technique using the ingredients you listed on your first post, and use the aluminium molds. It would serve as a "control".

                                                                                              To avoid the need to scroll back by anyone interested, I am listing again the ingredients I used. This will be my reference recipe going forward.

                                                                                              500 ml whole milk
                                                                                              100 gm AP flour
                                                                                              250 gm superfine sugar
                                                                                              2 whole eggs plus 2 yolks (145 gm)
                                                                                              50 gm unsalted butter, cold, cubed
                                                                                              1 tsp pure vanilla extract
                                                                                              2 tbsp dark rum

                                                                                              Sifted sugar and flour into a mixing bowl. Mixed with wooden spoon.
                                                                                              Lightly mixed together eggs + yolks and added to flour/sugar mixture.
                                                                                              Mixed all with wooden spoon till uniform
                                                                                              Heated milk to 183 degrees and added 1/4 cup to egg mixture
                                                                                              Mixed with wooden spoon till uniform
                                                                                              Added another 1/4 cup and mixed again.
                                                                                              Added rest of milk and mixed till uniform
                                                                                              Added butter and mixed with wooden spoon till dissolved
                                                                                              Added vanilla and rum and mixed
                                                                                              Strained through fine conical sieve into an airtight bowl.
                                                                                              Covered batter and refrigerated.

                                                                                              I was surprised at how long it took for the butter to melt. It made the batter develop a gloss the way the technique "mounting with butter" does to a sauce. Maybe there IS something to this cold butter thing after all.

                                                                                              Note: the eggs were cold, but I don't think this is an issue as they were not being whisked to a mousse.

                                                                                              It will be interesting to see how this works out.

                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                That sounds very promising! (Wow, you even weighed the eggs!) How thick is the batter? Was it difficult to work the eggs into the dry ingredients before adding the milk? Didn't the mixture clump up before you stirred in the milk? Were there bits of coagulated egg left in the strainer?

                                                                                                Feeling the need for something a bit more predictably successful, I spent the evening making an old favorite, Tarte Tatin, from the Official Recipe:
                                                                                                In every respect except deliciousness, this is the exact opposite of the canelé--simple, consistent, unfailing!

                                                                                                (Hmmm. . . Coincidentally, DH was uncharacteristically out tonight, too, with people from work. . . If you and I hadn't been on opposite ends of the continent, I'd suspect a rebellion was being hatched two people who feel they have been eating too much oddly-shaped custard for the past few weeks. Little do they know--the deluge is yet to begin!)

                                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                  Pilinut, I did say I would weigh the eggs, and I'm glad I work in metric: 145 gm translates into 5.1 oz; imagine trying to replicate that!

                                                                                                  The batter was about as thick as the others I made, but perhaps a bit thinner than the Roux one. It did look the glossiest and smoothest, no doubt because of the butter at the end. I use a tall jug to strain the batter into, so I do not have to hold the conical sieve; the batter had a smaller head of foam than the last time.

                                                                                                  It was easy to mix the egg into the sugar/flour mixture, but that was because I was careful and worked fast. Eggs dumped onto sugar will get cooked by the sugar and clump (coagulate?) if left alone. I broke the eggs into a separate bowl and whisked them lightly together. Then I dumped them all at once into the flour/sugar mix and mixed them fast with a wooden spoon; it would have been more difficult with a whisk because of batter being caught up in the tines. There was no clumping at all. Note: I sifted both the flour and sugar.

                                                                                                  Mixing in the milk was no problem at all, but again, I worked fast. There was no coagulated egg in the sieve. BTW a conical sieve is supposedly used to give a gloss to sauces.

                                                                                                  Tarte Tatin! Yum! It's been years since I last made one. Good recipe. It does not do it the lazy way - make caramel first then add the apples. I think it's essential to have the juices of the apples caramelize. The recipe says that you should serve it on its own, but I find it essential to serve it with ice cream AND whipped cream.

                                                                                                  Our spouses may yet stage what could be known to posterity as The Great Canelé Rebellion of 2010!

                                                                                                2. re: souschef

                                                                                                  Pilinut, I just checked the batch after 30 minutes. They popped. So, I have tried this recipe with cold milk and with hot milk, and both have failed. I have to conclude that it's the proportion of ingredients.

                                                                                                  Next step: since trewq uses the Paula Wolfert recipe that uses only yolks, I am inclined to going back to using only yolks, keeping everything else the same, except that when I did use 6 yolks I felt that I needed a thinner crust. So for my next attempt I will try 5 yolks and 1 whole egg, using of course the BS method.

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    This is frustrating. I baked the darn things for 90 minutes and took them out, at which time I noticed that one of the pesky popovers popped back into it's shell. When turned out it was beautifully dark brown all over. When cool it was nice and crunchy, and wonderfully custardy - definitely the best custard of all that I have made.

                                                                                                    Had they all turned out that way I would have called it a fait accompli and stopped experimenting. But noooo, life is not that easy; the remaining four were climbers. Darn!

                                                                                                    So do I toss out the remaining batter? Opinions please.

                                                                                                    And to all a Good Night !

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      Keep the batter. I've used four day old batter and it was fine.
                                                                                                      How do you stir the batter? Do you let it warm to room temp? How high do you fill the molds? Mine also are climbers but they settle back down.

                                                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                                                        I stir the batter gently with a spoon, till the skin that develops on top during chilling disappears and the batter is homogeneous. I have considered straining it through a coarse conical sieve, but have not done it yet. Do you think I should.

                                                                                                        I do not let it come to room temperature. Should I ?

                                                                                                        I fill the molds to about 1/12 inch of the top, which is what is in the Roux recipe. How high do you fill them?

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          Do you mean straining after the chilling? Wouldn't the butter bits get strained out? I guess it depends on how coarse.

                                                                                                          I do take the batter out gently stir and let it sit out for an hour before baking. And stir as i fill the molds.

                                                                                                          The mold are pretty much filled to the top.

                                                                                                          Did you keep your batter?

                                                                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                                                                            Yes, I mean straining after chilling. The butter melts (slowly, but it does melt) into the hot milk mixture, so there are no butter bits.

                                                                                                            I did keep the batter, and will keep it out before filling the molds. I'll try it later today and report back here.

                                                                                                            When tasting the one that worked last night I found it a bit too sweet, so once I get this sorted out I plan on reducing the amount of sugar, perhaps from 250 gm to 200 gm to start with.

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              I baked another batch today, from the same batter as yesterday.

                                                                                                              As trewq does, I waxed the molds at room temperature, and left the batter out for 1 hour. I thought it was curious that yesterday there was a thick skin on the top of the batter, but today there was none. So, I did not strain it; I just stirred it gently.

                                                                                                              I baked them for 90 minutes. At least the frustration is consistent - one turned out okay while the others were climbers.

                                                                                                              Now I am definitely going to hold off experimenting till I get those Mauviels. I'll use the time to decide which recipe I will try next, with the Mauviels. The logical thing to try is Paula Wolfert's since it works so well for trewq. After that I will maybe try my afore-proposed modifications.

                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                When will they be arriving?

                                                                                                                Maybe its the oven. Is the ok one in the same spot as the one from yesterday?

                                                                                                                1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                  I should receive them in a week or so.

                                                                                                                  I too thought about whether it was in the same spot, but could not remember what the case was yesterday. Today it was in the middle of the tray. But I don't think it was the oven as the ones I made with the Michel Roux recipe rose straight up like soufflés, without popping. That tells me it's the recipe.

                                                                                                                  In the Paula Wolfert recipe she tells you to process the stuff in the food processor till the mixture "tightens". What exactly does that mean?

                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    I don't know what that means, I never read her recipe, i just used her ingredients. I know that sounds weird, it sound weird to me as I wrote it. What I did was follow the instructions from the annoying guy's video and used her ingredients. Does that make sense to you?

                                                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                      Makes perfect sense to me. When I do it I will follow the method in the Baillardran video, with the modifications I made in my last attempt, i.e. Milk not added all at once.

                                                                                                                      Our two different methods will be a great comparison.

                                                                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                        In preparation for when I make the Paula Wolfert recipe in the Mauviels, I thought I would convert her recipe into metric (and it would be great for comparison). I used the weights in The Cake Bible reference section. Notes: 4 extra-large eggs translate into 5 large. I assumed that she used the dip-and-sweep method for the flour and sugar.

                                                                                                                        PAULA WOLFERT INGREDIENTS
                                                                                                                        500 ml milk
                                                                                                                        5 large egg yolks
                                                                                                                        100 gm cake flour
                                                                                                                        175 gm superfine sugar
                                                                                                                        30 gm unsalted butter, chilled
                                                                                                                        1 tsp vanilla
                                                                                                                        1 tbsp dark rum
                                                                                                                        Pinch of salt

                                                                                                                        Comparing this with the egg-yolk-only recipe I concocted, she uses the same amount of milk and flour, one less egg yolk, substantially less sugar (175 gm vs 250 gm), and half as much butter.

                                                                                                                        Looking forward to trying it!

                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                          Yesterday evening I casually asked my wife her thoughts about my canelé adventures. Her response: "Great! Are you going to make more soon?".

                                                                                                                          Well, that just pushed me over the edge, considering I've been itching to try the Paula Wolfert ingredients. So I just made a batch of batter, using what I called the BS technique, which I had also used in my last batter.

                                                                                                                          By my calculations I needed 84-92 gms of egg yolk to make up 4 extra-large. The 5 large weighed 84 gms.

                                                                                                                          As before, I sifted the flour and sugar into a bowl, then added the egg. Mixing it this time was totally different. Instead of the eggs lightening in colour they went dark, telling me that the sugar was "cooking" them. The mixture was extremely lumpy and formed into clumps that I just could not work into a smooth paste. I was concerned about not being able to work out the lumps, so I added about half the milk 1/4 cup at a time. When the batter was strained there were bits of dark egg in the sieve. It's in the fridge now; just have to wait and see what happens.

                                                                                                                          So it seems that the Baillardran method works great if you have whole eggs and yolks, but not so well if you have yolks alone.

                                                                                                                          Time to return to the tried and true method I use when making custard, i.e. yolks in bowl, add sugar gradually to give a light-coloured mixture, then stir in the flour.

                                                                                                                          I was waiting to hear the results of Pilinut's last baking.

                                                                                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    I prepared another batch of batter today--almost the same ingredients as the recipe I've been using, but I used half cake flour. Didn't have time to weigh the eggs as the kitchen was a bit of a zoo with visiting relations.

                                                                                                                    The difference was that I tried a modification of souschef's procedure, as best I understand it: Scald milk with vanilla bean. Beat eggs. Sift flours and sugar together, and gradually but thoroughly mix into the eggs. Slowly stir the warm milk into the batter, adding bits of the butter so the pieces melt slowly into the batter. Add around 2T rum. Strain into another container.

                                                                                                                    I shall let it sit until tomorrow night or sometime Tuesday, depending on when I can get the molds waxed. Will report back.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                      Pilinut, whenever you do it would you please let me know if the batter develops a thick skin on it after 24 hours. Since you will not use it all in one go, please also let me know the batter that's left has a skin after another 24 hours.

                                                                                                                      As I mentioned in another post, with my batter there was a thick skin after 24 hours, at which point it was stirred to re-incorporate the skin, and then some of it used. Then 24 hours later there was no skin.

                                                                                                                      Can anyone here explain the skin effect? Perhaps bushwickgirl ? On other threads I have noticed that she is extremely knowledgable.

                                                                                                                      I was also wondering about the following: if you decide to let the batter hang loose in the fridge for 48 hours before you use it, should you stir it after 24 hours?

                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                        Hi, souschef! It's been more like 36 hours since I placed the batter in the fridge, and it doesn't have a thick skin, but it has the same sort of foamy layer on top that was there when I first strained it in. (There are tiny butter granules that worry me a bit because I had thought that the butter had melted when I mixed the batter. I'm wondering if I should take this foamy cap off, melt it gently in the microwave, and stir it back it.) There's also a floury sludge at the bottom of the mixture, as there was in my previous batters, but that one's easy to incorporate.

                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                          Hi Pilinut! So there are butter granules only in the foam and not in the batter itself, I take it. I think you should do as you are proposing. I would stir it back in only after it has cooled - just being cautious here.

                                                                                                                          BTW when I get the Mauviels the first thing I am going to do is bake a bunch at the same time and from the same batter in the aluminium molds and the copper molds just to see if the copper requirement is all just hype.

                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                            I think the butter granules are normal. I just stir them back in.

                                                                                                                            Don't forget before you use the Mauviel you need to season them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                              Yup, will do. Paula Wolfert covers that in her recipe.

                                                                                          2. re: souschef

                                                                                            BTW, did you see my Leaning Towers of Canelé behind the "nearly perfect" one? Sometimes, when the batter rises over the top, it catches on the edge of the mold and doesn't slide back down as far.

                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                              Yes I did. Fickle these darn things are.

                                                                                            2. re: souschef

                                                                                              I managed to view the Baillardran video, here:

                                                                                              The procedure followed is: flour and sugar in a copper bowl, followed by eggs. All mixed up with a wooden spoon. Milk poured in; it is hot because the butter that follows melts. A touch of rum. No quantities given, of course.

                                                                                              The method is similar to what I concocted last, but I will try this specific method once I get those Mauviels. I do have a copper bowl that I use for beating egg whites, so I will use that. They do mention vanilla in the intro, and a "soupcon" of rum; in my opinion the chef is stingy with the rum. Maybe I should get better rum ?

                                                                                        3. ok, you got me.
                                                                                          i've been playing with canneles for the last year. (i'm actually baking some now as i write.) I use to baking them in a non-stick popover pan. Finally last month i took the plunge and bought some copper molds from JB Prince. They were so pretty i didn't want to use them, but they are extremely sharp on the edges and i've cut my hand many times on them so i now wear gloves.

                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                                                            Glad to have somebody really experienced on board. I am really looking forward to your comments on our efforts, as well as any advice you have for us. Your recipe would be great too.

                                                                                            We love food porn, so would like to see pictures of your canelés.

                                                                                            Thanks for the words of warning on the Mauviel molds. I'll be careful when I get mine.

                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                              I would never say i'm experienced. But i have experimented, cannele meets eberskiver pan. Lets just say i won't try that again. My son just picked some blackberries so i just threw some in the next batch, we'll see how that turns out.
                                                                                              I use the Paula Wolfert recipe. I do use beeswax that i got from the farmers market, i don't do 1 to 1 but more like 1 beeswax to 2 oil. I like the shine and crunch the wax gives. I use jumbo eggs. I now have a freezer full of whites. Other then that i'm in the same boat as you.

                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                "Other then that i'm in the same boat as you."

                                                                                                In the same boat as me? From the look of those pictures I would say that you are in a yacht while I am far behind in a dinghy. They look really great - nice and uniformly baked. Are they custardy or cakey, how long do you bake them, and at what temperature?

                                                                                                It's beginning to look like our quest is over.

                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  Yacht, ha, I bet the only reason you're in the dinghy is so you can rescue Cynsa from the crocs and become the hero of the day. ;)
                                                                                                  They are custardy, I usually bake them for 1 3/4 hours but they were a little too crunchy for me, so did these for an hour and twenty minutes. And the seem a little soft so maybe I will stick to 11/2 hours. Baked at 400.

                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                    Why would I want to rescue Cynsa? I threw her in, remember? She has been rather quiet of late; I hope the crocs did not get her.

                                                                                                    Come back please Cynsa. All is forgiven :)

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      ok. I am back.
                                                                                                      posting KA attempt on http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7236...
                                                                                                      (leaving for ten days... see ya later, alligator) Wet Feet.

                                                                                                      1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                        Welcome back.........10 days from now :(

                                                                                            2. re: trewq

                                                                                              YAAAY!!! One more on board! WELCOME!!! We look forward tremendously to your company on this quest--though from the looks of your canelé you've got your hands on, or very nearly on, the grail. I really like the way your canelé cross-section looks--somewhere between cake and custard. I can almost taste it.

                                                                                              Odd about the copper molds being so sharp. . . Have you contacted JB Prince about them? Have you tried sanding the edges a bit? What kind of gloves do you wear? I need to get some for handling the uncomfortably warm molds while I swirl that beeswax. Speaking of which, is it easier to handle the white oil with a higher proportion of oil? How does it affect the crustiness of the exterior, if at all?

                                                                                              And please don't forget to let us know how the berries work out. It sounds like a great flavor combination. Now you've got me thinking: perhaps I should hide my less successful canelés in chocolate.

                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                i wear oven gloves.
                                                                                                i made an interesting discovery today, well not really, but after i brushed the oil i noticed it started to puddle in certain spot so i took out the creme brulee torch lightly torched the puddle and pour it back into the container. i think the higher oil makes it easier to spread.
                                                                                                The berries were interesting. They floated to the top so it wasn't through out.
                                                                                                CHOCOLATE covered cannele sound yummy. From what i've read and seen i'm sure there are no chocolate covered ones in your house but if there were i would be the first in line to eat them.

                                                                                                1. re: trewq

                                                                                                  When you do the hot wax thing how hot are the molds before you start? I do know that you wear gloves to protect your delicate hands, but would you be able to hold them in your bare hands? I noticed that if they are barely warm you can see the wax film clearly, but if they are hot you don't see any film.

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    The mold are room temperature. I use a pastry brush and the oil is warm. I do notice a light waxy film. That way i can tell where a oiled .
                                                                                                    Another thing is that i don't wash the molds after or oil them before i put them away. I just wipe the outside with a paper towel, while wearing gloves to protect my delicate hands.

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      I used to be really afraid of not seeing a waxy film in my molds after doing the hot wax, but I thought it would be better than having to eat candle with my custard. I've had one or two that stuck a little, but I'm surprised that an invisible coating has sufficed thus far. (Oh, the way I told the waxed from the unwaxed molds after pouring out the oil was a little droplet of wax on the belly button (souschef's terminology :-))

                                                                                                      BTW, speaking of canelé anatomy, since it looks like we're in this for a long-ish run (the chocolate-covered canelés have been preying on my mind), would it not be a good thing to agree on a couple of terms? I think "bellybutton" is pretty clear, but what should we call the part of the canelé that's on top while baking, and at the bottom after it's been tipped out of the mold? Also, since the technically accepted term for the part of a canelé where wax has pooled is "white ass", should we (a) adopt this term and call that part of the cake the "ass" and risk getting spanked by the moderators, or (b) call it something else? "Crown"? "Rump"? "Fesses"? We Knights of the Canelé ( Benighted by the Canelé?) strive at all times for dignity and politesse. . . (vbg)

                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                        May I suggest that we call the part that is on top while baking and on the bottom after, the "bottom". It is logical and highly descriptive (I was going to suggest "foufoune", but it would not pass, I think). The top is of course the crown. As you said, we have to be polite. In that vein, the part where the wax pools could be called "a pale posterior" (Ahem, Your Majesty, I believe your canelé has developed a pale posterior). See what I mean?

                                                                                                        While sipping a glass of St. Emilion on a terrace somewhere in Bordeaux we can throw caution to the winds and use our own terms, of course.

                                                                                                        As for the chocolate-coated ones: thinking of that now would be trying to run before I can walk. I saw a recipe where they injected stuff into a canelé after it was baked and cooled. So imagine this: praline cream injected and then the canelé plunged quickly into a bowl of tempered chocolate. You HAVE to ensure that corresponding to the crunchy shell you get a chocolate shell with good snap.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          Souschef! You ARE naughty. Foufoune indeed. How abut fanny?

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            Hehe! But I discarded it, and besides it would only be understood by French speakers. Isn't fanny a bit risqué?

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              Not as risqué as foufoune, it seems to me. Fall on your fanny = fall on your bottom in English-Canadian parlance.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Well, I'm not French-Canadian, so foufounes to me is just slang. Not the first time I have had foot-in-mouth disease.

                                                                                                                So buttertart, you intrepid baker, when are you planning to jump onto the canelé-making bandwagon? Believe me, the frustration involved is well worth it when you taste one that turned out right. The one I had last night was a true epiphany.

                                                                                                                Darn, this thread has become so long that it seems to take forever to load on my iPhone. I even tried shaking the phone to help the bits go down faster, but even that did not help.

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  Don't you hate it when that happens? I'm waiting for all y'all to duke it out with the recipes and come up wuth the failsafe before I lash out on the molds.

                                                                                              2. Here is a book on canelé for anyone interested, and who can read French. Note the prohibitive price, though: $48 !


                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                  That is for dedicated canele lovers!

                                                                                                2. Since I seem to have misplaced my most recent entry to this thread, I'll start again at the bottom, which is how I feel with every batch of canelés. My most recent adventure, a continuation of the one I wrote about around 3 days ago, began with my original recipe, but using half cake flour, half AP. The procedure I borrowed from souschef: I sifted flours and sugar into a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs separately and mix them into the dry ingredients with a hand-held mixer. Slowly poured in milk that had been scalded with a vanilla bean, adding bits of butter while stirring in the warm liquid. Strained the mixture into a bowl and added rum. Let rest 2 days. (A foamy layer with butter granules developed on top of the batter, so I skimmed that layer off, gently microwaved it until liquid, and gradually stirred it back in.) Baked the canelés in a convection oven at 400F for around 68 minutes.

                                                                                                  The results are below: before baking, after 15 minutes (note the odd caramelized spot in the middle of each cake), after turning out of the molds, and cross-section.

                                                                                                  Reactions: better than before (no popovers and only one pale crown out of 7), but DH and mother ask why I keep going to so much trouble to make the darned things only to keep burning them. (Souschef, your wife is a gem!) Actually, I may be having oven trouble again--the temperature creeps up above 400F and I have to keep turning the thermostat lower and lower as the cakes bake--and the batter began browning sooner than it had ever done. On the other hand, the nicely crunchy crust was thinner than before, and the custard was, well, perfect. The only flaws were the cakes were rather charred (around 8 minutes less might be just right), and posteriors (souschef's word, not mine ;-)) were deeply dimpled. The latter I can live with, so maybe it's just a matter of timing. I'll try baking the remaining batter tomorrow--with fingers crossed.

                                                                                                  The quest continues, but I feel I should offer many and effusive thanks to souschef who has been so generous and so diligent with ingredient and procedure alternatives, and to everyone else who has contributed to this thread. I may never hold the Holy Grail of Canelé in my hands, but I think I may catch a glimpse of it.

                                                                                                  Marchons, mes amis, marchons! :-)

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                    Hey Pilinut, it looks like success is at hand! I'm glad to hear that you got that nice thin crust and custard; I'm still in search of that crust. Doesn't your dh detect the differences among the various iterations? Time for ten lashes with a wet noodle! :)

                                                                                                    No need to thank me so much. I am learning with you.

                                                                                                    I am curious about those butter bits and foam layer. I have no butter bits, and a thick skin instead of a foam layer. Unless of course in my case the butter bits combined with the fat in the milk to form the thick skin. I wonder if the method of mixing has anything to do with it. I use a wooden spoon, not a mixer, and I only add the butter at the end, after all the milk has been added.

                                                                                                    As for the burnt section in the middle of each cake after 30 minutes, New Age people would tell you that there is a vortex in the centre ;)

                                                                                                    So it seems like cake flour may be the deciding factor. I'm looking forward to baking a batch later today (it was all cake flour) to see what transpires.

                                                                                                    I keep thinking back to the Roux recipe that souffléed instead of mushrooming into a popover, and was uniformly baked, but had cake instead of custard in the centre. I may go back to it after I have sorted out my current trials (and tribulations) with Paula Wolfert's recipe and the Mauviels.

                                                                                                    BTW I am going to abandon the method you used as it causes problems when you use egg yolk alone, per my last post. It's too much effort to frantically try (unsuccessfully) to beat the mixture so you do not get clumps. I will stick with my custard method whether or not there are egg whites.

                                                                                                    Your adding to the bottom of the thread with each new attempt is a great idea. I think I'll do the same - easier to follow.

                                                                                                    I wonder what happened to those other budding canelémeisters, including the chicklet who was going to Carmel to pick up molds, and the rum-lover - did she get bushwhacked somewhere, I wonder :)

                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                      The foamy layer was my fault. I was dithering about, trying to decide whether to add the eggs to the milk, worrying that the eggs might cook whether or not I added them to the milk or to the flour. . . So the milk wasn't as hot as it should have been, and although the butter seemed to melt and get incorporated into the rest of the batter (virtually nothing left in the strainer), I should have been braver and added the milk to the batter while it was hotter, or maybe added the butter directly to the hot milk before stirring that into the flour-egg mixture.

                                                                                                      A thought on chilling molds before baking: probably not necessary unless you are working in a very hot kitchen. One of the things I look forward to most in this adventure is coming up with the simplest, most efficient way to make these little--well, noun choice varies.

                                                                                                      As to your suggestion to whip DH with a wet noodle, he'd probably ask for pesto to go with that, and extra noodles, too. Or maybe I just should pull the cakes out when they look done on top, before the edges are totally charred. Mom had taken to eating the custardy centers and leaving the burnt posteriors.

                                                                                                      I think chef chicklet may have decided to extend the visit to Carmel--such a lovely place!--and postpone the tribulations of canelémeistering. Face it, there is a grudge-match aspect to this. ("You bleeping little cake, you think I'm going to let you get away with this?! I'm going to whip that ballooning posterior of yours into shape!)

                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                        ``A thought on chilling molds before baking: probably not necessary unless you are working in a very hot kitchen.``

                                                                                                        This may well be, but one thing I have found is that soufflés rise much better if you chill the dishes first. My theory is that the butter takes longer to melt when chilled and so the batter has a better chance to slide upwards. The same may hold for canelés. Then again my theory may make no sense at all.

                                                                                                        With all your talk about whips and posteriors I think we are teetering on the edge of deletion. Maybe we`ll even get banned !

                                                                                                        I think that if you had added the eggs to the milk you would have got poached eggs.

                                                                                                    2. re: pilinut

                                                                                                      Pilinut, I just took another look at the cut open canelé, on my laptop this time instead of my iPhone. OMG it is gorgeous !! I can easily see that it is very custardy. I think you can easily say now that you are within reach of that Holy Grail. It's now just a question of playing with timing.

                                                                                                      Félicitations, mon ami !

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Merci beaucoup! But we know how fickle these things can be, and it maybe the decades of flan-making, but custards have usually been kind to me. It's everthing else about canelés that have been a problem. We shall see if the next batch from the same batter produces the same results.

                                                                                                        Good luck with your ongoing batch: I look forward to reading all about it!

                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                          If you like flans you should try the recipe for the one I posted in one of buttertart's baking threads (number IV or V). It's super-smooth, with a voluptuous texture.

                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                            Is there some easy way of finding a topic on a long, long thread like the baking ones?

                                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                              Sorry, it was not the baking thread after all, but I did manage to find it. Here is the permalink:


                                                                                                              Note: this recipe will leave you with even more egg whites in your freezer !! BTW I have stopped keeping egg whites as nothing lasts for ever in the freezer; it just goes bad slower. I would never be able to use all those whites if I kept them. There are only so many tuiles I can make and stocks I can clarify. And angel food cake? That is diet food, and I don't eat diet food.

                                                                                                    3. I have to confess a certain degree of ignorance about canele since I do not believe that I have ever tasted one. Nonetheless, I have followed these adventures with interest as well as admiration for your ability to keep going despite multiple disappointments. My question is whether canele are something that are only available in France, or is there somewhere in the US (preferably in the NY Metro area) where these fascinating pastries can be sampled?

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        The only place I've ever seen them in the NY area was at Bouley Bakery (this is going back a good while ago) -but I don't often frequent patisseries so they may well be available elsewhere.

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                          Gaetano's post (first response in this thread) has a link to a place in Philly that makes them. The link is well worth reading, even if you do not make the pilgrimage.

                                                                                                        2. WOLFERT. BAILLARDRAN TECHNIQUE. TEST #1

                                                                                                          This is the batter where the egg yolks got "cooked" by the sugar. This batter did not have a thick skin, but it was a thicker batter than some of the others. It almost did not have to be stirred.

                                                                                                          The first picture was taken after 30 minutes. I was elated as it looked very much like the Roux version, though the Roux ones were more straight (not as "bouffant"), and since the Roux ones collapsed nicely into themselves, this was promising.

                                                                                                          The second picture was taken at 60 minutes. No sign of collapse here. The friggin' things looked like they were set in stone.

                                                                                                          At 90 minutes only the one at the back right had done a shrinking violet act. The rest were mocking me. In disgust I decided that they did not deserve to have their picture taken.

                                                                                                          The one at the back right was crunchy and custardy but a bit burnt. The rest of the miserable things were climbers.

                                                                                                          I still have some batter in the fridge, so will try this once more.

                                                                                                          As I said, the eggs were cooked by the sugar, so I was not too crazy about the batter to start with, but thought I would see anyway how they turned out. Darn, I forgot to keep the batter out for an hour as suggested by trewq. Maybe tomorrow I will keep the batter out and not chill the molds.

                                                                                                          My next step will be to try Wolfert again, but using what I call the custard method. If I bang my head against the wall there too, I will then try the technique in "annoying guy's" video. BTW he does have a name - Scott Hocker.

                                                                                                          I think we should all just forget about this and convene at trewq's house for a demonstration on how to do this right.

                                                                                                          Forgot to attach pictures. Next post.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                            Pictures. I wonder if it is significant that the one that turned out right did not have a belly button at 30 minutes.

                                                                                                          2. The wicked canelé demon must have had a very busy day between souschef's kitchen and mine. This afternoon, I baked the last of the batter, and the little bleepers made sure that any residual smugness I may have harbored from yesterday's brush with success was firmly obliterated.

                                                                                                            First picture at around 15 minutes, after I had taken the baking sheet out, rapped it on the counter (hoping the souffléed tops would subside) and returned it to the oven. After that, I decided to have faith and hope that things would work out. Misplaced optimism resulted in picture 2, after 1 hour in the oven. I am surprised at how much difference in color there is between these and the charred (but nicely shaped) ones yesterday, given the mere 8 minutes baking time. I think the oven temp was steadier today, but I really don't know where I went wrong. Anyone out there with any ideas?

                                                                                                            So I didn't burn them. And DH ate 4 of the 6, declaring he liked these better than yesterday's rather charred ones. Small consolation, but I'll take it.

                                                                                                            This adventure is an exercise in repetitive chagrin. Souschef, if "repetitive chagrin" were an Olympic sport along the lines of "synchronized swimming" Souschef, I think our team would be in the running for gold. Like any self-respecting O-C masochist, I re-waxed by molds while they were still warm from today's failure.

                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                              Pilinut, I seem to remember a video i had watched where cannele looked like your first picture. She took them out of the oven after 30 mins and sort of squish the sides with tongs until they when back down.
                                                                                                              I've been also thinking about the liquid to dry ratio. Where Roux has the most liquid and Paula has the least. Which made me think of the time where i accidentally doubled the milk. The custard was more or less solid with a large air bubble.
                                                                                                              So i'm thinking of starting a new batter today with less milk. But the question is how much less. What do you think?

                                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                Hey trewq, I was wondering why you want to play with the ratios as yours look perfect. What are you not satisified with and are trying to change?

                                                                                                                You are already using Wolfert's, which uses the least milk, so why do you want to reduce the milk ?

                                                                                                                Would you please outline what you are doing based upon the Hacker video. There may be something there that I missed when I did it, or you may be doing something slightly different, but it seems to work well. Thanks.

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  "looks perfect" HA. Are we ever satisfied? The quest must go on. One day I when I taste the real thing I want to say Souschef and Pilinuts are much better. Then maybe I would be satisfied. ;)

                                                                                                                  I've been looking at pictures online and i've noticed that they look more airy, almost sponge like from top to bottom. And I add more rum the the recipe requires since more people on different forums say MORE RUM. I use about 3 tbs. Now i'm sort of thinking hmmm maybe i should make vanilla rum.

                                                                                                                  Ok this is how i make my batter
                                                                                                                  heat 2 cups of milk and vanilla until there are tiny bubbles on the side of the pot
                                                                                                                  remove from heat
                                                                                                                  put 2tbs butter in bowl
                                                                                                                  pour hot vanilla milk over butter, let cool
                                                                                                                  add beaten eggs
                                                                                                                  sift flour, sugar and salt
                                                                                                                  add to milk, egg mix
                                                                                                                  add rum
                                                                                                                  cover and let chill

                                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                    When you combine the flour/sugar mixture with the egg/milk mixture do you add the dry ingredients to the wet? My inclination would be to add the wet gradually to the dry to avoid the formation of lumps.

                                                                                                                2. re: trewq

                                                                                                                  Sorry for the late response, trewq! I can only guess what the optimal amount to liquid is. And thanks for the pointers on the videos. Even though I did have to push, prod, and rap those uppity canelés to get the best batch I ever made, I must admit that I love the canelé interiors as they are and wouldn't want to adjust the recipe without good cause.

                                                                                                                  In the meantime, I look forward to hearing about your next batch!

                                                                                                                3. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                  Pilinut, I think that our experiences are living proof of the old saying "misery loves company".

                                                                                                                  I mentioned our problems to a baker who is familiar with canelés, and she indicated that the uneven baking within a batch may be due to the oven. She also said that they should be baked in the centre of the oven. I notice that you seem to bake them towards the bottom. So you may want to try the centre today.

                                                                                                                  From what I saw of the Roux batch, where they did go up and then down, I believe you should not have to push them down yourself. Yours look just like the ones from Lenotre, in the oven and after they have been baked. One of the batch that I made yesterday did go down by itself, and I think they should all do that.

                                                                                                                  Keeping gaetano's comment in mind, I think I will bake my next batch at 425 for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature. It seems to me that they do need a bit of extra heat. Oh, and I will also buy an oven thermometer today. Maybe I lead a charmed life, but I have never had a need for an oven thermometer before.

                                                                                                                  The ones I made yesterday got charred as well. I have been using 90 minutes baking as a rule because that's how long the Roux batch took. I ate the insides of one this morning, and it had the taste and texture of cold pastry cream, as in the filling for salambos. So the custard part is well-covered, by us both. We just need to break their legs so that they don't climb !

                                                                                                                  I never did understand how synchronized swimming could be a sport, but yes, we are in the running for the lead in repetitive chagrin.

                                                                                                                  NEVER GIVE UP !!

                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    I, too, think that proper canelés should know their place and not have to be pummeled into submission with tongs or sharp raps to the crown. I have to admit to a certain amount of just such coaxing with my previous, more successful batch, but I had hoped that the most recent lamentable specimens would have had the maturity to settle down on their own. Perhaps I should try the gaetano method, too, and see if that works with these rebellious little cakes.

                                                                                                                    No, I won't give up, but I'll wait a few days before the next batch--I've eaten too many as it is. Who eats all the canelés you bake?

                                                                                                                    Now to go and have more nightmares about canelés.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                      I definitely think now that they do need a burst of heat at the start, and need to finish cooking cooler. I`m not sure now that you need to chill the molds or leave the batter out for a while.

                                                                                                                      I too have eaten too many of these things of late. My wife and I eat them, with me doing most of the eating; I HAVE to eat them in order to critique them. Fortunately I do not have a weight problem.

                                                                                                                      No nightmares about canelés here......yet!

                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                        In the Fannie Farmer cookbook Marion Cunningham recommends putting popovers in a cold oven, i think because when the oven heats up it starts at a higher temperature to heat up faster. Maybe it would work for canneles.
                                                                                                                        I actually like eating them cold so i eat them the next day.
                                                                                                                        I think my biggest problem is what to do with all the egg whites.

                                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                          I like to eat them the same day as I like the crunch, but they are still good the next day.

                                                                                                                          I no longer keep the whites as I could never use that many. They don't keep in the freezer indefinitely; they just go bad slower.

                                                                                                                4. WOLFERT. BAILLARDRAN TECHNIQUE. TEST # 2

                                                                                                                  I had to either throw out the rest of the batter or make another batch of those elusive cakes; I chose the latter,

                                                                                                                  Per my last report, I think the ballooning (no popovers, mind you) was caused by insufficient heat, so I thought I would increase the heat to 425 degrees in the hope that they would rise straight up, and then I would decrease the heat to 400.

                                                                                                                  I had been applying the hot wax cautiously, but this time I gave the molds a good coat, and I decided to not freeze them. Getting frustrated with details at this point. Need to see if wax is a problem.

                                                                                                                  I left the batter out for all of 30 minutes. No skin, just smooooth batter.

                                                                                                                  After 15 minutes at 425, I checked the cakes. The ones in the left side of the oven had risen, but in less of a balloon than yesterday, while the ones on the right were bubbling merrily away - obviously too much heat. So on a hunch I decided to reduce the heat right then to 375.

                                                                                                                  At 30 minutes they had all risen in a slight balloon - definitely not as straight as Roux.

                                                                                                                  At 60 minutes they started to deflate.

                                                                                                                  At 90 minutes most of them were level with the tops of the molds. Note: I did not poke, prod, or tease them back into the molds. The tops looked nicely browned, not burned at all.

                                                                                                                  Taking a deep breath I took them out and unmolded them. As you can see from the first picture, two of them looked almost perfect. The others had pale crowns, but were not climbers as such. I checked their heights, and they were the same as the ones in front.

                                                                                                                  The second picture shows the one in front cut open. This was closest to what I imagine a canelé to be, never having eaten one. The outside was a thin, very crunchy shell, and the inside was all custard. Definitely the best I have made.

                                                                                                                  While pondering the reason for the uneven baking, I realized that I had had a brain fart - I forgot to turn the tray, and as there is definitely a difference in temperature between the left and right of the oven, this accounts for the unevenness (I like to think so, anyway).

                                                                                                                  So, I think I am making progress. If it is repeatable, but this time no brain farts (the baking sheet gets turned), my progress will get confirmed.

                                                                                                                  I definitely did not like the way the batter came together in this technique, so the next attempt will be the "custard" technique.

                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    They look great. I think you may have achieved perfection.

                                                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                      Haha ! This coming from someone who earlier today said about his/her own stuff:

                                                                                                                      ""looks perfect" HA. Are we ever satisfied? The quest must go on. "

                                                                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                      BRAVO, souschef! The curse of the Evil Canelé Demon seems to be waning and you are getting closer and closer to perfection! The sheen on those canelés is lovely, and the custardy interior is mouthwatering. Please remind me: what is the "custard" technique?

                                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                        Thanks Pilinut. I hope that I can keep that demon at bay, and hopefully she will not stay in the San Francisco Bay area!

                                                                                                                        The "custard" technique is how I make pastry cream. This is how I will use it to make canelés:

                                                                                                                        Sift flour and salt together; sift sugar separately. Heat milk to 183°. Put yolks into mixing bowl. Break up yolks with wooden spoon. Beat sugar gradually into yolks until thick and light yellow. Add flour and stir to combine. Add 1/4 cup milk. Stir till uniform. Repeat with another 1/4 cup milk. Add rest of milk and stir to combine. Add butter and stir till incorporated. Add vanilla and rum. Strain using a very fine conical sieve. Cover and chill (the batter). Pour glass of preferred libation and chill.

                                                                                                                    3. My SIL, who lives in Carmel, told me about a bakery in Monterey that sells canelés:


                                                                                                                      Perhaps Chef Chicklet can check it out when she goes to buy the molds ?

                                                                                                                      Pilinut do you like marrons glacés? Something tells me that you do !

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                        Thanks for the link to Parker-Lusseau. We go down to Carmel maybe twice a year, and it will be on the list of places to visit next trip. I just recalled a place in Palo Alto that I has them, too, Shokolaat.

                                                                                                                        Were you going to suggest that I add marrons glacés to the canelés? It would probably be a good use for them. I'm afraid I generally find them too sweet, except for the ones with cognac. Speaking of sweets with alcohol, I had a baba au rhum last night, and I kept thinking it needed more rum. . . The baba is on my to do list, but I'm going to wait until I've gotten the canelé sorted out because babas look like another candidate for popovers and and anemic crowns.

                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                          I was just wondering if you like marrons, that's all. I was not suggesting wasting them by putting them into baking.

                                                                                                                          Baba au rhum is trivial compared to canelé. I have made it a few times as a savarin using the recipe in Pierre Hermé's book "Chocolate Desserts". It turned out great the first time. The book I recommended to you for soufflés has a section on babas, but I have not tried the recipe in that book. The book is very thorough, and is a great reference. I recommended the same book to buttertart, and she likes it.

                                                                                                                      2. I've been puzzling over this canelé baking process. I think the batter itself is not so much the issue, and that there is probably more than one way to combine the ingredients to get the desired honeycombed custard interior. Flavor seems to be the least of our problems.

                                                                                                                        The devil may be in the baking--timing, temperature, and type of oven--and possibly in the waxing as well. I'm glad that souschef is going to try the gaetano method so that we can see if that will work for him, too.

                                                                                                                        I've also been wondering about the amount of wax that ends up on the foil I place under the molds while baking. Am I correct is assuming that most of it comes from inside the molds, having been pushed out by the batter, rather than the random drippings for the last time I waxed the molds?

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                          My last attempt was in fact the gaetano method, except that he suggested starting at 475 convection and finishing at 375. I was leery of starting at so high a temperature, so I started at 425 and finished at 375. It is definitely the way to go.

                                                                                                                          You are right that most of the wax comes from inside the molds. Yesterday when I used a good coat of wax I ended up with a lot more wax than usual on the foil.

                                                                                                                        2. WOLFERT. CUSTARD TECHNIQUE. TEST #1.

                                                                                                                          I am beginning to think like Pilinut that canelés are less about the ingredients and how you combine them, and more about how you bake them.

                                                                                                                          As I mentioned before, on my last attempt a few rose into the air after 15 minutes, while the others merrily bubbled within the mold. I was concerned about those that bubbled, but in retrospect I thought that maybe they should all have bubbled. To do that it seemed logical that you increase the heat (or so I thunk), so I thought I would increase the heat for the first 15 minutes to 450.

                                                                                                                          It was a cold and rainy day here yesterday, so I took a break from making leek and potato soup (with Boursin), and mixed the batter using Paula Wolfert's ingredients, using the custard technique. Thought I knew the quantities well, but for some reason used 60gm butter instead of 30gm. It's butter, so no harm done. Also, I got tired of not tasting the rum, and what are the French doing messing around with rum anyway ? I used 1/4 cup French brandy instead. I'm hoping that when buttertart finally starts baking these things we can persuade her to pilfer some of her hubby's XO and try it.

                                                                                                                          I waxed the molds but did not freeze them. Pulled the batter out of the fridge and stirred it; no skin. Filled the molds and put them into the oven at 450. Looked in on them after 15 minutes. Surprise ! no bubbling ! they all just puffed up a bit, but it did not look serious. I reduced the temperature to 375 and turned them, then turned them every 15 minutes. By about 60 minutes they were settling down to the level of the tops of the molds.

                                                                                                                          I took them out at 90 minutes. This time they did not slide out easily, so I had to rap them on the crown to release them. Two of them were perfect colour-wise; the rest were a bit variable. I think they could have used a bit more time in the oven. The bottoms were not burnt. There was more burnt batter in the molds than during my previous attempts, as seen in the picture.

                                                                                                                          My wife tasted one before I did. Her comments: "Pretty special. I think you're going to like them. Nice thin crust".

                                                                                                                          The crust was nice and thin and crisp. and the inside seemed to be creamier than usual. I hope this is not my imagination but they seem to get better with each attempt. Oh, and I could taste the brandy. Wish I had some Armagnac ! I ate three; they were all delicious.

                                                                                                                          Question for my fellow canelémeister, Pilinut: I have enough batter left for another batch. Should I bake them again at 450 and leave them longer in the oven, or should I bake them at 425 since I am using a new type of batter?

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                            Re the 1949: not at USD 24.00 the ounce, he's not letting me near it for baking.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              Not even 1 tbsp? I do of course realize that that small quantity is worth $12.

                                                                                                                              BTW if you ever come across a Barros 1963 port, give it a try. A dinner guest of mine brought it over in 1993 at New Year's Eve. It was fabulous; the bottle was worth $600+. Subsequent to that a waiter in Boston gave me a glass of it free ($36), and asked me to not tell the chef/owner of the restaurant that his backoeffe (his pride and joy) sucked when he came round to ask how the food was.

                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                I was allowed it for his birthday cake this year (and may expropriate same for mine, depending on what I make). I love Port and will keep that in mind. Backoeffe, there's a dish that's either impossible to get right or you just have to grow up eating to appreciate.

                                                                                                                          2. WOLFERT. CUSTARD TECHNIQUE. TEST #2.

                                                                                                                            Where did I put the "Kick Me" Sign ??? Thought I followed the same procedure as yesterday, but dang it, forgot to turn the oven down to 375. Got 2 perfect little cakes only. Can I say "Merde!" here ???

                                                                                                                            No pictures today. Nothing to see. Move along.

                                                                                                                            No more canelés till after the Mauviels land. My frazzled brain and overworked stomach need a rest.

                                                                                                                            Where did pilinut go to ?

                                                                                                                            26 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                              Hi, souschef! I've been driving family members around, shopping and foraging, and cooking, but not baking for the past few days. I've been silent, but that doesn't mean I haven't risked a couple of freeway collisions deep in thought about how best to roast those little beasties.

                                                                                                                              It seems a given that the canelés WILL rise up above the rims of the molds. Barring excess air (or liquid?) in the batter, they should not turn into popovers or spillovers. However, there seems to be a critical point at which the cakes should settle back down--a minute or two too late and one ends up with the pale crowns that have been my most recent undoing. I think that, if one got the temperatures right, settling back down would come as a matter of course. However, threatened with imminent disaster, the solution seems to be to slip the uppity little monsters back into place by letting out the hot air trapped between the cake and the mold. I did this with the batch that turned out best (without knowing about the video you mentioned) by lightly pressing the protruding sides of the canelés with tongs and by sliding a cake tester along some of the ridges of the mold.

                                                                                                                              What remains to be seen is if a drop in temperature (how much of a drop and at what point in the baking?) can effect the return of the prodigal canelé.

                                                                                                                              I went back to using the full-size convection oven after it seemed inevitable that the toaster oven would char the cakes. The maximum temperature I set it for was 425F.

                                                                                                                              I'm waiting for your Mauviels almost as anxiously as you are.

                                                                                                                              BTW, I just bought a small bottle of Myer's rum because the wine guy at my local grocery said that it was the best one for cooking--specified by Maida Heatter and other bakers. Well, I took a sniff, and it will probably work well enough, but I I'm going to go back to Pyrat XO (I already miss that aroma!) as soon as I can justify the $30 for a third bottle of rum that no one drinks.

                                                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                Hey Pilinut, I think that what causes a popover or a spillover is excess liquid; if the batter is stiff enough it should not collapse.

                                                                                                                                I'm still mad that I forgot to turn down the temperature today because I felt that the batter was thicker (after 48 hours), and in a review of the book on canelés it was stated that a Bordelais baker mentioned to the author that the batter must rest for 48 hours before being used.

                                                                                                                                I have found that the rising takes place within the first 15 minutes, and then it rises no more, so the temperature should be dropped at 15 minutes, to give the insides a chance to bake. At 400° they burn before they bake, so it should be 375°.

                                                                                                                                My take on shoving (coaxing) them back in is that if they want to escape they should suffer the consequences and burn.

                                                                                                                                As for the rum, I have not played with different brands. BTW the vanilla beans probably cost you more than the rum. I pay about $4 per bean, so I use extract instead.

                                                                                                                                I should perhaps mix a batch of batter and let it sit while waiting for those Mauviels. They should be here any day now.

                                                                                                                                How do you clean your molds? I use a paper towel to rub off any caked batter, but it's a pain doing it that way.

                                                                                                                                Thinking about Boulotte's Larder (Scooter's fave canelé place in the video), their making only twelve a day makes me think about Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. Why would any baker make only 12 of something popular?

                                                                                                                                The failures today were dispatched post haste to meet their just desserts - an appointment with stomach acid. They were delicious. I am pretty settled on Wolfert's ingredients.

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  You're right, my canelés were at maximum height between 12 and 15 minutes in a 400F convection oven. I did try to persuade them (the most recent and unsuccessful batch) to come down by taking them out at around 12 minutes, but they tricked me and popped back up after a couple of minutes in the 400F oven. After that, I decided to sit back and let nature take its merciless course. Next time, I'll leave them out until the oven cools down to 350F or 375F.

                                                                                                                                  Boulette's Larder is a rather special kind of place--they sell unusual specialty ingredients and prepared foods--all in small quantities, prepared by far more staff than you think a garage-sized space could possibly support--even at the stratospheric prices they charge. It's a place that straddles the various definitions of recherché. Surprised?

                                                                                                                                  Ah, vanilla bean! I have to confess I have not been using Madagascar or Tahitian for a while now. I've been using beans that a friend has been producing for the past couple of years in Bukidnon in the Philippines. Not yet as good as the best Madagascar stuff, but very promising and only a dollar per big fat bean.

                                                                                                                                  I'll give the Myers a try. If it doesn't measure up to the Pyrat, well, it'll be fine to drown a rum cake.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                    I don't think you have to leave them out till the oven cools; they will just collapse by themselves even if you just turn down the oven, leaving them inside. I wonder if a soufflé collapses if you leave it in too long.

                                                                                                                                    Boulette's Larder does sound quirky/eccentric. Have you ever had one of their canelés? Making only 12 day they would almost need a "Soup Nazi" approach to selling them. The owner looked personable enough, though. Do you know how much they sell for?

                                                                                                                                    Humph? I have been trying to save money by not using vanilla beans, while pilinut has her own plantation ! Life is just not fair!

                                                                                                                                    I should try the Myers rum after I perfect the little devils. I've been using some nondescript that could well have been made in NYC instead of Jamaica! You will have another use for rum once you start making those babas, and if you decide to make salambos.

                                                                                                                                    Making a birthday cake today. Pictures later.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                      Here is the video where the baker sort of gently coax then back in. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26yVwQ...

                                                                                                                                      Yesterday I baked the batter I made with less milk, it rose a 1/2 inch and didn't settle back down. But the interior was more honeycombed.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                        Incidentally the Mauviels en cuivre I saw in the flesh as it were seemed a bit taller and narrower than those in the video above. Also isn't it possible that the manhandling of the cakes back into the forms adds to their custardy character? She really pushes them around. Would think it would lead to a squidgy centre.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                          The copper molds she used did seem stubbier than the pictures I have seen of the Mauviels. They do come in different sizes, but my understanding is that the 2" one is "de rigeur". There is a company in France that refuses to sell any other size because it would be wrong !

                                                                                                                                          I shuddered when I saw her leave egg yolks sitting on top of sugar. I alway thought that it was a big no-no.

                                                                                                                                          She essentially makes crème anglaise, cools it down, and then adds flour. I would think that the way she adds the flour would create a lot of lumps, but she does not strain the batter.

                                                                                                                                          She certainly does manhandle the things. It was not clearly shown, but at the end it did look like the ones in the copper rose above the molds.

                                                                                                                                          Interesting that it was shot in Canada and that she offered to find molds for the viewer.

                                                                                                                                          I also thought it interesting that she contrasted the ones that were right for Bordeaux with the ones she sells in her shop.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                            And she put the vanilla in before heating the milk??? Mom always said to put it in after heating, off the heat.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            Everything in that video looks a little squat.
                                                                                                                                            I don't think the manhandling affects the center since it may still be uncooked. It would be interesting to cut one open at that point to examine the insides or maybe cut one open every half hour.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                              But if they bake for only 15 mins after that there would be some structure to the inside I should think.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                The opening shot does show a lot of squat little canelés, as compared to the ones at Boulotte's.

                                                                                                                                                I very much doubt that she gets a crisp crust on her cakes.

                                                                                                                                                Buttertart, I'm looking forward to when YOU start baking some.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                  Oh God, must I? It sounds excruciating.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, please do!!! It's great fun, really!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                      They're on my list (for when you all perfect the technique and recipe). ;-)

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                        But we could use your vast and varied expertise to guide us towards a solution. You ARE, after all, the doyenne of the baking thread. And you would get a chance to work with people with unusual names, such as pilinut ;)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          YES, you must join us. It's like a treasure hunt, you maybe the one to hit the jackpot. :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                            Twisting my arm, eh? souschef knows how far that gets you...I'll look into the mold issue.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              Twist your arm? Who me? Never. :) We shall call it persuasive charm. ;)
                                                                                                                                                              Has it worked?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  YAY!!! And you really don't need the molds, I've made good ones using a non stick popover pan. Sometimes i think of going back to the popover pan. I think the only difference was the shape.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                    "I've made good ones... "

                                                                                                                                                                    Hey! Trewq is holding back on us. I think trewq is an accomplished canelémeister; the pictures of 12 (count 'em, 12) perfect canelés bear this out. I am still struggling to get more than two in a batch perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                    Hooray for buttertart joining us. I think you should order the molds today, so you get them in time for your birthday tomorrow (I have been paying attention).

                                                                                                                                                                    HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUTTERTART !!!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                      HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUTTERTART!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                      Birthday molds?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                        PS everybody, don't hold your breaths, souschef knows how long it took me to get my first St-Honoré made (but I'm terrifically glad I did break down and do it).

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        Thank you! I think I can get them in the city, will have a look this Sat.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Happy Birthday, buttertart! What better way to spend it than buying yourself canelé molds and then making something new and challenging? Perhaps the Fairy Godmother of Canelés will crown your birthday efforts with crunchy, custardy perfection!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you! Work and dinner plans might get in the way of this!

                                                                                                                                      2. The Mauviels have landed. Yayyy! They are about 1/4 inch taller than the aluminium ones I have been using, and weigh 87 gm whereas the aluminium ones weigh 24 gm. I have to season them before I use them, but I should be able to make a batch before the weekend is over. I bought only 6 molds.

                                                                                                                                        The first thing I did was check the rims to see how sharp they were. They did not seem to be too bad, but I guess my hands are not too delicate :)

                                                                                                                                        37 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                          That was pretty quick - glad to hear it! Maybe the thicker material will allow longer baking w/o burning. (You have a supporter at my house, I said you were baking something as I understood it somewhere between a popover, cake, and custard, and certain people's ears pricked up..."I LIKE popovers"...)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            This is promising. Does he like XO in popovers ?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                              Oh souschef! IF I get them right and IF he's in the right mood, maybe.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                            YAY!! They've arrived!!!!! Aren't they beautiful.
                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately I have to wait till I get back from Canada to hear about your success.
                                                                                                                                            Be careful of your non delicate hands. ;)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                              Huh ? We do have the Internet in Canada !

                                                                                                                                              Yes, they ARE beautiful.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                              Congratulations, souschef! Those Mauviels are impressive: I weighed my Lemoine molds and they are a mere 62-64 grams, and, if I recall the Amazon.com photo correctly, the Mauviels flare outward a little bit more, which may help the cakes descend properly after the initial soufflé phase. They may be a bargain after all! I can hardly wait for the photos of your next batch.

                                                                                                                                              Oh, do post photos of the Mauviels a.s.a.p. beside the steel ones so we can see!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                Will do, pilinut. Right now the Mauviels are in the oven getting seasoned. It will be a couple of hours before I can take them out.

                                                                                                                                                I hope that the flare does not make them popover more, though judging from trewq's pictures that should not happen. I'm hoping that trewq's secret is Mauviels !

                                                                                                                                                BTW how tolerant of banter are the mods? I'm holding myself back from responding to trewq's Internet comments. Hate to get deleted/censored !

                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                  Souschef, I apologize if i have offended. I was just having a little fun.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                    Offended me? Not at all. No need for an apology. I dish it out, and I can take it too !

                                                                                                                                                    I was just concerned about the mods deleting banter.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                      No. so were we all - I think it's that the mods want everything to be about food. Just kidding around is frowned upon.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart


                                                                                                                                                        Souschef, just so you know the first batch is usually a throw away batch. Well, not really throw away but more like why is it sticking. It's part of the seasoning process.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                          What DO you do to season them (or was this covered, if so pls forgive me).

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            This is what I am doing, taken off Paula Wolfert's site:

                                                                                                                                                            "To season new molds: heat oven to 350 degrees F; wash the molds in soapy water; rinse; dry thoroughly; heavily grease the interiors with vegetable shortening or oil; place on sheet tray; place in oven 1 hour; remove from oven; place upside down on a rack; return to oven; heat 15 minutes; turn off heat; leave in the oven until room temperature."

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                              I have friends coming from Paris next week - Bordelaise on the father's side - should I ask her to bring some cannelés for review?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                Yes!!!! And you should make some a do a comparison. What i want to know is, is it suppose to be wet inside like custard or dry like undercooked cake that is custardy like.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  You definitely should, but ask her to pick them up at the last minute. They can be warmed up to crisp them up.

                                                                                                                                                                  You may want to ask her to bring some from a couple of different shops.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    She's used to odd requests from me - we've been friends since 1990. Will see if she can come up with some.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                      While you're at it, you may want to ask her to get you molds from Lemoine. Also, if you like dragées, Medicis makes some really nice ones, which Williams-Sonoma carries at Easter. They have stores all over France. You could also get her to bring you some foie gras and......and......

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        I was thinking of asking for another of those mindblowing Jacques Bellanger milk choc with Marcona almonds bars. Most extraordinary chocolate confection ever. There seems to be way too many nuts in it for it to hold together. And the chocolate is fascinating.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                You wash them in hot soapy water. Oil them. Bake them at 375 for an hour. Take them out. Turn them upside down on a rack and bake for another 15 minutes. Then you never wash them again even after use. Just like a cast iron pan.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the info. Will avoid pulling of hair and rending of garments.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                  Turn your hair shirt inside out for a while too.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                          Here's a picture Piliniut; the others are aluminium, not steel. Why do I get the impression that you want to buy some Mauviels?


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                            They are lovely things, aren't they. Couldn't believe how heavy they were.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, they are lovely. Just over 3 ounces each. I need to make some batter so I can use them pdq.

                                                                                                                                                              I think that for my first attempt at baking in them I will start at 425, and reduce the temperature to 375 after 15 minutes, using "custard" batter.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                The batter is in the fridge. One thing I like is that it is so easy to make, and I hardly have to strain it. But of course the frustration comes after.

                                                                                                                                                                I am always reminded of paint when I work with the batter - the texture, and the smell to some extent....."but dear I painted the walls a custard colour".

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                              The thought has crossed my mind more than once. The Mauviels are beautiful, and heavy copper kitchen gadgets have a powerful attraction. But I think my Lemoine ones are more like your aluminum ones, so I'd end up with different cooking times and shapes, given the size and metal thickness considerations. I think I'll wait until the next opportunity to get 4 more Lemoines so I can bake a batch all at once.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                Go Pilinut, Go ! Buy a bunch of Mauviels !!! We all need the same frame of reference. Trewq and I have Mauviels, and I think Buttertart will buy the same.

                                                                                                                                                                I think I'll have to increase the quantitiy of ingredients as in the Mauviels the batter will make only 10 canelés, and it makes sense to make batter for 12, as I have 6 molds.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                  Please don't take me seriously pilinut !

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm trying to decide if the molds really need to go into the freezer. I wonder about the rationale behind it.

                                                                                                                                                                  Here's a picture of a "textbook example" of beeswax coating:


                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting reading:


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the photos, I am still puzzling over the correct amount of beeswax as so much of it seems to end up in puddles around the molds after baking. On the other hand, maybe more beeswax will mean that much more space for the canelé to return home after its attempt to escape. . . What do you guys think?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                      A site I was looking at yesterday showed a picture of molds that had a very thick coating, and the comment that the canelés tasted very waxy. The person then made more, without using any wax, and the next batch was more acceptable. It may have been the same site, but they stated that you should get the molds very hot before waxing, i.e. a thin layer.

                                                                                                                                                                      I think that even if you do use a lot of wax the extra space will be insignificant when it comes to space for the batter to return to.

                                                                                                                                                                      Trewq I'm looking forward to your response on this,

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you've got it all wrong and what you need is a good hit of PAM for baking (signé bt la paresseuse)
                                                                                                                                                                        (kidding of course)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            The Lemoine recipe recommends--and the bakery itself uses--baking spray! But since I wasn't impressed by their nearly crunchless canelés, I wrote off the baking spray.

                                                                                                                                                                            I have to admit that lazy as I am, I find using baking sprays on anything other than flat surfaces almost as much work as more traditional means of greasing, and there's a fun-in-the-lab aspect to beeswax coatings that I like, even if I may never get them quite right.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                              I take your point. A little on the mad scientist side.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                        That syrupandtang article IS interesting reading.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, it collects together in one place all of the black art surrounding the subject. It is interesting the concept of placing freezer-cold molds on an oven-hot baking sheet. Michel Roux uses the hot baking sheet concept, but not the cold molds. I think I'm going to try it with the next batch. I hate handling cold molds, though.

                                                                                                                                                            3. In a previous post I had indicated that my research showed that in the Wolfert recipe you need 84-92 gm of egg yolk (5 large yolks, whereas Wolfert uses 4 extra-large). Well, the first time I measured the egg yolks I used they weighed 84 gm, whereas the second time they weighed 92 gm. What are the chances ?

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                Slim and none. What scale do you have? My Salter goes in 5-gm increments.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  I have a Kilotech scale that goes in 1 gm increments.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                    Wish list for when the old one croaks.

                                                                                                                                                              2. FIRST ATTEMPT WITH MAUVIELS

                                                                                                                                                                Wolfert Ingredients. Custard method.

                                                                                                                                                                Made the batter yesterday, Took it out so it was at room temperature for over an hour. Heated the molds and got a nice thin film of wax on them. Then, after they had cooled, stuck them into the freezer. Used a heated baking sheet (threw it into the oven when I started the preheat). Started at 425 degrees, reduced to 375 after 15 minutes, at which point they were all gently bubbling and at the level of the tops of the molds.

                                                                                                                                                                At 30 minutes they were nice soufflés; no popovers. At 60 minutes they had deflated slightly, but were still standing proud. At 80 minutes I decided that they were brown enough, so took them out to turn them out. WHAT A FRIGGIN" DISASTER !!! WIthout exception they all refused to exit the building. I had to rap the crown of each one, and then when I turned it over the crown part stayed in the mold. So I have a bunch of broken cakes. Coincidentally I was listening to "Cucurucucu Paloma", and the words struck home "No llores", i.e. don't cry !! :)

                                                                                                                                                                From what I can see of what remained in the mold it was overbaked, so the hot sheet was probably a half-baked idea. When Trewq said that the first batch was a throwaway (s)he was not kidding ! I did not think it would be so bad though. The canelés are beautifully coloured, though. The bright side of this batch (there is ALWAYS a silver lining) is that they were all consistent :). It's almost funny !!

                                                                                                                                                                So it's back to square one with the Mauviels. I have to throw out the door all of my results and conclusions from the last month. I have enough batter for 2 or 3 more, so may try again this evening, if I can scrape the burnt bits from the bottom of the molds.

                                                                                                                                                                1. I am pleased to report that the Mauviels are MUCH easier to clean than the aluminium molds. I took a toothpick and poked at the stuff at the bottom; it came out with some coaxing. The debris left is rubbed off quite easily using a paper towel.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. SECOND ATTEMPT WITH MAUVIELS

                                                                                                                                                                    Used leftover batter from the last attempt. Was enough for about 2-2/3 canelés. Will have to increase ingredients by 40% to make a double batch. Works out well - 7 yolks.

                                                                                                                                                                    This time I waxed the molds while they were at room temperature, so got a visible film. Did not put them into the freezer. Did not leave the batter out for an hour. Do you sense the frustration ? I put them into the oven at 400 degrees and left the temperature there as this was how I started out with this insanity.

                                                                                                                                                                    After 15 minutes the mold that was 2/3 full was just bubbling away while the other two had souffléed. At 30 minutes they had all souffléed. At 70 minutes they looked done. I took them out of the oven and flipped them over; they did not budge. I finally had to work a toothpick down the molds to release them, and they did release completely. The crowns were pale.

                                                                                                                                                                    I am now at somewhat of a loss. It seems that 400 is too high with copper, so maybe I should start at 400 for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 375. But then gaetano says they should be started higher.

                                                                                                                                                                    Time to turn to whomI consider to be the closest we have to a guru here, none other than trewq: So maestro, at what temperature do you cook those babies ? As we have the same molds I should be able to successfully make them at the same temperature.

                                                                                                                                                                    Opinions from anyone else ? Pilinut, buttertart, bushwickgirl, chef chicklet, Cynsa, Caroline .........?

                                                                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                      Dang. What should we do? We are thwarted every time we think we are getting close to the finish line. There are so many possible iterations. We have to start with some assumptions.

                                                                                                                                                                      I think the recipes are pretty much okay since we like the taste and texture of the finished products. The devil seems to be in the baking. Maybe gaetano's oven is different? I wonder what would happen if one started at 400F and then moved the canelés after 15 minutes to another oven preheated to 350F? Or kept them at a steady 375F for 60-80 minutes?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                        ok- here's a random stab in the dark that has absolutely no reasonable bearing on anything at all... what if.. you open the oven door and spray a mist to lower the temperature and create humidity? or, place the hot molds on a folded wet towel as they continue to bake? that would certainly shock those babes into submission. late night catastrophe - now you'll ban me from the playground

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                                                          Cynsa, I don't know if the spray will have much impact on the temperature of the oven. Isn't that a technique that you use with bread, so the bread absorbs the moisture?
                                                                                                                                                                          The wet towel may well do the trick though; I should try it.

                                                                                                                                                                          And no, you will not get banned for joining in the fun on the playgound. Take off your shoes, sink you feet in the sand, and stay awhile. We have swings and merry-go-rounds too!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                          Pilinut, maybe my molds are not seasoned yet? Perhaps I should just try again at a steady 375°? Considering how fast they seem to cook in the copper, maybe that's what I should do. I have never baked before in copper. Or should I start them at 400 till they soufflé and then manhandle them back into the molds and continue at 350°? I think my first step is to assume that they have not been seasoned enough, and just try again. Another thought - I have been using beeswax and peanut oil, and was wondering if I should use butter instead of pilinut oil. Thoughts? I have only one oven BTW.

                                                                                                                                                                          I was looking again at Paula Wolfert's recipe, and she mentions that one of the secrets is the special way of combining flour and butter. The only way to combine such a small quantity of butter with flour is by rubbing it in (a technique I use when making scones). Is this what the Lemoine recipe really means? I think I'll try it on my next attempt, and use cold milk and eggs. Heck, I'll try it all. If this fails I can always pack it in and cosy up to Betty Crocker!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think the problem is the seasoning of the molds. There seems to be something about the beeswax that lingers so that only a light coating is needed after the first baking. I still think it's an oven temperature problem, but since I have no idea how a professional oven differs from a home oven, I'm at a loss to see what they can do that we can't. I'm also wondering whether convection is a good thing or not, or whether it's a good thing at one point in the baking, but a bad thing at other times. . . I think Cynsa's towel may be a very good idea! Put those hotsie patootsies on a cool damp towel and shrink that hot air space between the molds and the pale crowns! Cynsa, we need you! Come join the playground/Quest/Olympic championship team for repetitive chagrin!

                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, can one think oneself into a tizzy! Must be those swings and merry-go-rounds. . . And the occasional roller coaster ride, too. But it is FUN!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think that a professional oven really differs from a home oven; it's all just hot air :)

                                                                                                                                                                              I do agree that oven temperature is the key here, but ovens vary so much that it is hard to compare your oven with mine, or even Cynsa's. I suspect that Cynsa only has an Easy Bake oven and that is why she is reluctant to get her feet wet here.

                                                                                                                                                                              As on my last attempt the monsters got done faster than with the aluminium molds I think that the next time I will bake them at 375 using chilled molds and no hot sheet. That way I will start at one extreme and work up.

                                                                                                                                                                              Now please excuse me while I go make more batter.

                                                                                                                                                                              If Cynsa comes along please play with her.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                I figured using a metal that conducts heat faster than aluminum was going to throw a monkey wrench into the works. Wonder why the crowns don't get darker since they're in ctc with metal and not just air like the sides? (signed, Sancho Panza)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  I believe that when the crowns come out pale, it's because they have had contact with the mold only for the first 12-15 minutes of baking--long enough to take on the shape of the crown, but not long enough to brown. When the cakes rise up above the rim, I'm quite certain that the whole cake has levitated off the crown, leaving nothing but hot air between the the cake and the mold's crown. The big question is: how do we either keep the cake down, in continuous contact with the whole mold, or get it to slip back down after it has done levitating, but before it has had a chance to set and make backing down next to impossible? Part of the problem is knowing if, and at what point, one screams, "Enough!" at the upstarts and takes firm measures to make the runaways go all the way back home.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                    Pilinut, I agree with your explanation.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I tried a totally different technique of combining the ingredients today, and am looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference. If it works I'll explain it in detail. If not, well I at least tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Incidentally, slamming an oven door is supposed to make a soufflé fall. Should we try the same thing?........said partially in jest !

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                      Then wouldn't manhandling them into the molds like the woman in that one video does get them back down on the bottoms (and sufficiently deflate the batter for them to stay there? Maybe even stick a thin knife blade into their centres all the way down to the bottom? Or slam the oven door?

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                      This was one hell of a monkey wrench ! It sent be back to square one !!!

                                                                                                                                                                                      I am almost tempted to start again with the Roux recipe as the canelés did turn out out, albeit with a cakey interior instead of a custardy interior, just to see if they work out again.

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                      I've already tried to bribe Cynsa with a slice of the caramelized, butter-saturated kouign amann from Patisserie Philippe that she missed out on yesterday, but I fear I may have to increase the baksheesh to two slices. . .

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe you should sweeten the bribe with chocolates from XO? Or buy her dinner at La Folie (my favourite)?

                                                                                                                                                                                        I like the chocolates at XO, but it's been years since I was last there. However, my SIL (who lives in Carmel) was there once a couple of years ago, and thought of me, so she shipped me a bunch. Really enjoyed them !

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't you believe that virtue is its own reward?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I did give Cynsa one of my better canelés, and if her damp towel trick works, I'll give her another one! (Okay, two--maybe three.) And a kouign amann from PP!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you mean XOX truffles? Love the cognac and champagne ones! It's been years since I visited La Folie, and it's probably time to revisit. I remember the butter-poached lobster being better than the one at the French Laundry. (Hmmm. . . would butter-poached lobster be easier to make than canelés?)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                            "Don't you believe that virtue is its own reward? "

                                                                                                                                                                                            WOW! A true philosopher ! I'm an engineer, not a philosopher, remember? I'm still at the playground stage, while you are smoking.......what ARE you smoking ?

                                                                                                                                                                                            I always thought the store was called "XO", guess my mind was on the bottle buttertart's hubby is hoarding (XO), not on hugs and kisses (XOX). Can't remember which ones I liked.

                                                                                                                                                                                            In theory butter-poached lobster is far easier to make than canelés as you can taste during the poaching process and stop cooking at the right point. You might end up with an unbalanced but correctly-cooked lobster. OTOH once you pop the canelés into the oven and say "salut la visite" there is nothing you can do, apart from slapping them down.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I am now running into a time crunch. In less than 2 weeks I have to deliver to my SIL a bunch of canelés as I am going to visit her in Carmel; she loves them. The ignominy of it all; I may have to bake them in aluminium. Good news is that I will get to that Monterey bakery to try a genuine one.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't smoke. It ruins the palate :-) However, I will eat cognac-laced chocolate until I'm buzzed. . .

                                                                                                                                                                                              About virtue being it's own reward: I was thinking about how our patience, persistence, and intense contemplative analysis (all virtues, right?) on this quest for perfect canelés have yet to yield commensurate success. I feel like convent school was a hoax.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't worry, souschef! I'm sure that by the time you have to go down to Carmel, you'll have tamed those little beasties. In any case, you can come up to San Francisco and Cynsa and I can take you and Mme. souschef to Boulangerie de Polk and Patisserie Philippe to have MORE canelés!

                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't give up! I have a feeling success is just around the oven door.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                                Convent school ? Huh ! Those nuns got you into the habit of thinking those were virtues? Seems like foolishness now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it would be great to meet you and Cynsa over canelé and coffee. I will discuss this with Mme. Souschef, and we can arrange to meet. I will email you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I am far from giving up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ditto - we're a hop-skip-jump from Carmel. :^)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've been asked to comment on this thread, but let me first say that I am not only no expert on the subject, but hardly qualify as an amateur of experience. There are some things culinary that are best left to the gods. That said, here are a few thoughts.

                                                                                                                                                                                First off, as far as I know, no one on the planet makes caneles that come out perfectly shaped and prim every time. Think English muffins. The only people in the world who know how to make them come out every time with big butter pooling holes after they are baked are the folks at Thomas', and it is their BIG trade secret, with a lawsuit swirling around it at the time. And so it is with caneles. Some very expert bakers write of having to "reshape" their little darlings after baking. So I urge anyone walking this egg-shell lined path not to worry. After all, the great reward is interior taste and exterior crunch/taste. If you can get that, who cares if the canele is shaped like an ugly toad? As long as it's delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                Some speak of baking theirs with convection. Caneles are an aged and honored accomplishment, and I know of no canele makers of two hundred or so years ago who baked theirs in a convection oven. There are some things that are better done the old fashioned way.

                                                                                                                                                                                On the Paula Wolfert recipe, I would not worry that much about how the flour is measured. Yes, I would sift. But in my experience, almost all recipes are forgiving within certain limits. Even if you measure flour by weight, atmospherics, humidity and other factors will have their miniscule to major impact on the finished product, but it's a rare case where such conditions render anything inedible. Go with the flow.

                                                                                                                                                                                About beeswax. There is beeswax and then there is beeswax, and all are not created equal. Unfortunately, I know of no place that sells a variety of graded or geographically identified beeswax. Paula Wolfert's idea of mixing the beeswax with oil (though I do despise canola oil with a passion) seems to have some merit in that it would logically make the beeswax more manageable when it comes to coating the molds. Has anyone tried melting the beeswax and applying it to the interior of the molds with a brush? I would expect it to be a somewhat tedious task as there will likely be a problem with beeswax congealing on the brush and having to allow the brush to sit in the warm beeswax to melt before making the next brush stroke. Maybe warming the molds before brushing would help? Or rolling some melted beeswax around inside a warmed mold, then inverting it on a cooling rack to drain? If you're willing to really compulse over this, it might be interesting to buy some beeswax from a local beekeeper to see if it gives better results. I'm also wondering whether mixing in a little food grade paraffin along with some oil might improve things? If you come up with a fool proof beeswax formula, patent it and your fortune will be made! Canele bakers of the world will canonize you!

                                                                                                                                                                                It seems to me that one of those cute little butane/propane torches one uses for crème brulee would be a nice tool to have on hand when making caneles. It might prove useful in getting the beeswax to behave in the molds. And it could certainly be handy for touching up those pale spots that sometimes happen when the caneles are unmolded. Toast 'em up a bit!

                                                                                                                                                                                And now I think I'll go back to trying to master the size of the air pockets inside my English muffins, then see if I can't find a retail outlet that stocks caneles from heaven. I wish us all luck!

                                                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                  Caroline, thanks for your input.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Your point about convection ovens is well-taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that between pilinut and I we have covered all of your suggestions re beeswax. I was looking at smoke points of various oils this morning, wondering if my using Crisco to season my new molds was causing a problem, but I don't think it is as the peanut oil I am using has a high enough smoke point.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I like your suggestion about torching those devils to take away the pale spots. There is something satisfying though about a cake that comes out of a mold perfectly.

                                                                                                                                                                                  This is one thing culinary I will not be leaving to the gods.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                    I have tried turning my kitchen torch on the pale crowns, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. Perhaps the flame was too close, but I couldn't get an even color: little specks of the pale cake would char very quickly and suddenly, making it look like I had sprinkled pepper on the cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe I should just dip the crowns in caramelized sugar or chocolate. Not kosher, but maybe I'd feel less annoyed at my failures. . .

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                      hmmmm... What do you think would happen if you did a light sprinkling of sugar before torching, a la creme brulee? MIGHT work. Or you might end up with fat stubby flaming birthday candles.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                    And for anyone willing to wrestle with French, here is a definitive website on canelé, complete with recipes. Tons of recipes! If you don't do French, I like IM Translator, free and downloadable from the web.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for the link Caroline. I do French, so not a problem for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I took a look at several of the recipes where the pictures look like what I want the final product to be, and in general they cook the canelés for 5 or 10 minutes at VERY high heat (over 500 degrees F), then drop it to around 360. This is something I have not tried yet, and I don't think pilinut has, either. I don't know what trew'q has tried, but it seems to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think I'll try this next, though may not go so high in temperature (don't want to set off the smoke detector).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                        Can you turn off the smoke detector before you start? '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                        For all of you canelé makers, I'll be sitting right over there (points to right) and you can pass all of your rejects over to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, thanks for the link! The French is fortunately within my limited grasp. I think souschef and I should try the change in temperatures and see how that works. But since most of the bakers on the site seem to be using silicone molds, I'm curious to see how much on an adjustment we will have to make because of the copper molds. But I will keep my silicone tongs within reach, the better to discipline any strays.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, Caroline, thank you! A fresh perspective is very welcome: we appreciate your empathy for our plight, and wish you all the best for your English muffins. (You're right, Thomas's is best I've had.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        I will try baking the canelés without convection, at least part of the time next batch. (In the meantime, we still have a dozen very good blueberry muffins and half a kouign amann to get through, although savory, butter-cupping English muffins are even bigger favorites for breakfast.)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel confident that not all convection ovens perform alike, but with my own, I find that when I try to bake anything like breads or cakes, the convection will form a crust before they are finished rising, and the results aren't as satisfactory as they are when I just bake the old fashioned "thermal only" way. But if a boule or loaf that I want to be really crusty is softening up, convection is a quick way to restore that crust to crunchy!

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. YAY!!! Caroline1 has joined the fun.

                                                                                                                                                                                        WOW, you have been busy, Souschef, I hope you didn't pull out any of your hair. While driving through Montreal I searched for canneles without success. It's a good thing DH is patient.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I use a mix of beeswax and grape seed oil since it has a higher smoking point. Maybe instead of using inexpensive brushes and throwing them away why not get a good brush and make it your cannele brush? When I clean my brush I rub dishsoap into it and rinse with hot hot water.

                                                                                                                                                                                        i agree with Caroline1 about the convection. Why do you lower the temperature? I start at 400f and bake it at the same temp for 1 1/2 hours.
                                                                                                                                                                                        How are you cleaning your molds after baking? I usually just wipe the outside and never touch the inside. Once i used one mold without oiling it and the cannele came out without any problems.
                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I have tried placing the cannele on a hot cookie sheet. I've started with 3 in a cold oven and after the oven was hot I placed 3 more in the oven, it made my pan warp, the ones the went onto the hot pan rose a lot more then the cold oven ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I was wondering if letting the batter sit in the molds for a few minutes makes any difference then putting them in right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                                          Trewq my hair is intact, I am pleased to say. I have only ever found canelés in Montreal (120 miles away from me) once, and they were rubbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Tomorrow I will buy grapeseed oil and a decent brush.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I lower the temperature in the hope that the difference will take the air out of the sails of the blessed canelés and they will flop, but it seems like after they are in full flight there is nothing to stop them.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I just baked the latest batch, after looking at the link Caroline provided, where a lot of people started very high (the oven temp, not the people) and then dropped the temperature. So I started at 475 and dropped the temperature to 350 after 10 minutes. I had one desperately try to climb out, another made a half-hearted attempt, while the others got nicely browned but did not get rid of the junk in the trunk (the puffy bottoms stayed as such). The good news is that with the exception of one, they all slid outof the molds easily. I think I can now seriously experiment. Pilinut, I think seasoning IS a factor here.

                                                                                                                                                                                          My next attempt will be at 400 for 90 minutes.....tomorrow....or maybe this evening. Well maybe not this evening - I need to eat the evidence, and can only manage so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                          After baking I clean the inside of the molds by scrubbing them with paper towels to get rid of the baked-on debris. I tend to be a clean freak.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't remember - do you freeze your molds? I want to duplicate your conditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                            Glad to hair you're not bald! :) Maybe I will try Quebec next. Do you think they would have canneles?

                                                                                                                                                                                            No i do not freeze the molds. I am what you might call a lazy baker.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I am also a clean nut but i leave the insides alone. I have read that the only time that you wash them is once a year or if they start to smell rancid. Then you have to boil them in water and season them again. I have attached a picture so you can see the inside of mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've been thinking of trying the recipe from the manhandler video. What do you think? i also notice she doesn't use any butter and she just oils the bottom of the molds.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                                              I blew up the picture of the inside of your mold and had to close it quickly. My wife came rushing into the room at hearing my "EWWWWW !!!", wondering if I was okay. I just told her that I saw a scary sight.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Just kidding. I guess I will not clean them from now until they need it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The recipe from the manhandler video? I guess you mean the technique as she does not give quantities. Her method is similar to the Baillardran one, I think. You could give it a whirl. I think she makes creme anglaise before the mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The latest method I tried was gleaned in part from Paula Wolfert's site, where she says she figured out the secret way to combine the butter and flour. This is what I did:

                                                                                                                                                                                              I wanted enough batter to make a double batch, so increased quantities by 40%, which meant 7 yolks. I had only 6 eggs in my fridge, so used 6 yoiks and 1 white; always wanted to try a white again. Beat them with sugar, then poured in boiling milk and beat together till smooth. Allowed it to cool. When it was almost cold I rubbed the butter into the flour, then added the liquid to the flour and strained it. Got a bit more stuff left in the sieve than usual. Looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                                              You're going chasing to Quebec City for canelés? Are you making stealthy forays across the border ? Perhaps you should post on the Quebec board to ask about them first. Tell them souschef sent you :)

                                                                                                                                                                                              i imagine that to get a canelé at its peak you have to camp out at the bakery so you know when they are being put for sale. As I said before, the one I bought in Montreal was a sorry sight.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                Hahahaha I'm surprised you have not commented on my gloves. I once saw on foodtv a burger place somewhere where they deep fry their burgers in oil that has been in use for something like 50 years, they just filter and add oil to replenish, and people rave about the burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                She has posted the ingredients under the video.
                                                                                                                                                                                                1L of milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                450g of sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                300g of white flour
                                                                                                                                                                                                3 egg yolk
                                                                                                                                                                                                1 whole egg
                                                                                                                                                                                                vanilla extract
                                                                                                                                                                                                Her recipe makes 25 canneles according to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I am sure there are cannele bakers closer then Quebec perhaps Boston or NYC. Do you remember where in montreal you encountered these rubbery things? Maybe they were rubbery because they didn't come out of filthy molds like mine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Haha! i did not comment on your gloves just because I knew you were expecting me to !

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Deep fry burgers ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is far less egg than I would have expected for all that flour and milk. But maybe that's the secret of it - minimize the ingredients that cause the puffery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Her canelés are stubby, so I expect that we would make less. Using the milk as a guide, and with not much egg, I would say 16.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "I am sure there are cannele bakers closer then Quebec perhaps Boston or NYC." Closer to where ? How about Philly? Use gaetano's link to follow the yellow brick road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The ones I bought in Montreal were at a bakery in the Jean-Talon Market. I think it was next to Chez Nino.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Maybe they were rubbery because they didn't come out of filthy molds like mine." Nah, yours were so clean I would eat out of them :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would love to follow the yellow brick road. Then i can ask the Mighty Oz for the secret recipe. Closer to Vermont.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'm fascinated by the dedication all of you have to making the perfect little canele. Only problem is I can't find a definition anywhere -- here or on the web -- about just what the perfect canele is. So I puzzle on. But I've done some web reading today to see what I could find out. Here are some findings:

                                                                                                                                                                                          Most surprising to me is that it doesn't seem to matter whether you use the copper molds with beeswax or the silicone molds with a spritz of Pam, the writers write of the same crispy exterior no matter which molds are used. Since my office was once in the basement of a huge Catholic hospital where an order of nuns played and prayed with beeswax all hours of the day (and I presume night), I have little tolerance for the aroma of hot beeswax, so my personal choice, in view of what I've read, would be to go for the silicone. But I ask... Can anyone tell me whether the beeswax adds anything to the flavor of the finished canele?

                                                                                                                                                                                          I've also learned that similar to the batter for Yorkshire pudding, the batter for canele must rest. Except MUCH longer! One chef writer insists on 48 hours. Sheesh. And I get ticked at the overnight folderol when I make brioche! Two days before you can even start baking the little darlings? The bakery is only twenty minutes away.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm also wondering how much texture difference there is between an all yolk canele and a whole eggs plus two yolks canele? I've seen recipes both ways. Well, one thing is for sure. An all yolk canele won't exactly be "low fat!" These guys aren't diet food, are they!

                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, for anyone interested, here's the URL for the guy who says you have to let the batter rest for two days and who uses yolks only.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Meanwhile, I think I'll go make some babas au rhum. MUCH easier!

                                                                                                                                                                                          32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                            Caroline1, you must join the fun. It's one of those things that make you think.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I use a all yolk batter and the longest I've let it rest is 4 days. Sometimes things get in the way of baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Have you had a cannele? Babas au rhum, yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yup. I've had canele, but not recently. I even made them once, then the molds got mashed in moving and never felt compelled to buy more. LOLl... I have NO shortage of things that make me think! Or if I need to do that, I can always bake a square pie... '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                              Caroline, there seem to be differing opinions on whether silicone molds will give you a crisp crust. I guess even crisp is relative. With aluminium and copper molds you get a crunchy crust; you could cut your lip eating one of them; and if you are as delicate as trewq who knows what could happen !

                                                                                                                                                                                              Then again, it seems that in Bordeaux they like them almost burnt (very crunchy) whereas in the US they do not make them so dark, again leading to the definition of crisp/crunchy.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This beeswax in not scented, so would not remind you of the church. BTW how do you feel about Gregorian Chant? I love it when it is done by nuns (I prefer the female voice).

                                                                                                                                                                                              As for all-yolk my thoughts are that since you want the insides custardy you start with a custard recipe - all yolks.

                                                                                                                                                                                              You should look at the comments on the link you added. The guy is a fake - he has tripled the quantities of Paula Wolfert's recipe and is trying to pass off the recipe as his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                              The batter does seem to change in texture from 24 to 48 hours.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                Now you have me wondering about the acuity of your olfactories! Beeswax smells like beeswax. Even when my grandfather used a "hot knife" to peel the hives when I was a kid, I wasn't all that thrilled with the odor. LOVE Gregorian chants, but are they true Gregorian chants when sung by women? I don't think so! Singing nuns aren't my thing. Or flying nuns, for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                But you didn't answer my question. Is there a difference in flavor when a canele is baked in a copper/aluminum mold with beeswax than there is when one is baked in a silicone mold with Pam? I could see where the beeswax might give a little "buzz" to the crust, but no one has mentioned it. I've never had one baked in silicone. At least not that I'm aware of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                His recipe may be a repeat of Paula Wolfert's, but is hers original with her? I mean, we're talking about a two or three hundred year old dish! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the beeswax gives it it's shine and crunch. I did buy my beeswax at the farmer's market and it does smell like honey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And like honey, some beswax can be very strong and others not so much. Commercially raised honey today is probably all going to be fairly mild. With the mysterious decline of the bee population today, I cannot remember the last time I saw a wild hive. And if I found one, I wouldn't disturb it. Let them multiply!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Commercially raised honey, as everyone here probably knows very well, uses hives in which the honey "flats" already have the cells for honey storage and the bee nurseries already made. All the colony has to do is make their own wax to seal off the cells. And that's the part -- the fresh from the bees wax -- that is peeled away with a hot knife to release the honey from the comb when it is harvested. It's the smell that assaulted my nose when my grandfather was harvesting. There has to be some sort of wild beeswax flavor loss in there somewhere as far as the comb itself is concerned! I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe I'm not so offended by the smell of beeswax, so don't notice it. I do use it in small quantities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have never had a canelé made in a silicone mold, so can't answer your question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Paula Wolfert's recipe may not be original (we don't know. There are a bazillion variations floating around, and she may well have tweaked one), but the guy says "This is my gift to you", claiming it as his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You should listen to Gregorian Chant sung by nuns. how do you define TRUE Gregorian Chant? How do you define a TRUE canelé?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                      hmmmm.... How would I define a true canele? I guess the most succinct description would be "encased custard." Though it's not a true custard. I don't put flour in my custards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      And a true Gregorian chant is obviously sung by Gregorians! But seriously, Gregorian chants were sung in the churches and cathedrals at the time of their evolution from plain chant up to modern times exclusively by men. Nuns sang them ONLY in cloister. The Holy Roman Catholic church is VERY male-centric. I will expect pubic performance of Gregorian chants by women to be accepted about the time the first woman pope ascends the throne of St. Peter. (Well, excluding Pope Joan, of course.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think of custard as being the same as pastry cream, and I use flour in my pastry cream. How do YOU make custard? BTW I was just eating one of my failed attempts for breakfast; it was really delicious and wonderfully smooth.My dilemma is now do I eat another one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would like to think that the Roman Catholic Church has progressed to the point where it would allow nuns to sing Gregorian Chant in public. In any case, with or without the Pope's blessing, I have a wonderful recording of men and women singing together, in the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                          "I will expect pubic performance of Gregorian chants by women to be accepted about the time the first woman pope ascends the throne of St. Peter."

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Caroline, a keener-eyed Chowhounder than I alerted me to a possible Freudien slip on your part in your post, which I have quoted.....or was it deliberate? ROFL :))

                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW you never did tell me how you make custard. Guess I have been wrong all along, calling pastry cream custard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ahhhh... My Freudian petticoats are showing. yeah... Pubic works as well as public! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            For me, custard is custard as in custard pie, in which case all of the flour is in the crust, or flan, or any dish made up of eggs, milk and flavorings, then baked until set. I call what you're talking about a creme patisserie, but it is also called pastry cream. And then there is butter cream (or buttercreme) which in its more mundane form is made with powdered sugar, fat and cream, but in its more elegant robes takes on a guise such as Esterhazy buttercreme, in which eggs are added, along with calories, a fat boost, and a lovely mouth feel that warms the cockles of your heart. And expands your hips! There are so many lovely ways to fly. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Life is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My first attempt at canelés was baked in silicone, and I can say that while the interiors were very similar to the ones I later baked in copper/tin, the exteriors were markedly different. The silicone-baked ones were crisp for a couple of minutes, but with a strangely plastic-y exterior. I guess I might have been okay with those results if I had never had a really good canelé. I've also seen blogs and videos proudly displaying the results of silicone molds, but I wouldn't DARE serve one of those canelés to souschef, Cynsa, buttertart, or anyone else on this thread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Do you think the difference in the texture of the interiors with the silicone mold was entirely due to the mold, or could it have been something with the batter? Probably impossible to know at this point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've been thinking about that crunchy exterior that seems to be elusive for some on occasion. I'm not interested in trying this myself. I'm too old and all of the sweets I eat immediately attach themselves to my hips (and other places). Very difficult to dislodge them. But... I have been wondering what the result would be if immediately after unmolding them, they were dipped (or coated) with a thin shell of caramel? The very brittle kind that is used to glue a croquembouche together. If you get the sugar shell thin enough and crunchy enough, I would imagine it would be terrific! You could call it "canele en robe." Culinary fame can be yours! '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think sugar is a greatly under utilized asset in today's cooking. All sorts of fantastic things you can do with it, especially when it comes to desserts and the garnishment thereof. I don't entertain that much any more, but in my day, I had a BLAST with sugar! Individual sugar cages garnished with candied violets to top off individual desserts. Spun sugar threads to wrap around or over a cake or to form into a nest under a custard or whatever. And of course, fondant flowers. Orchids, roses, daffodils, pansies, lily of the valley. So much fun!