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Baking Misadventures III: The Search for ScrumPtuOus Canelé caKes

Sentient beings thrive on challenge, and require it in order to grow, live long, and prosper. 

Some sentient beings on this board bit off more than they could chew when they decided that they wanted to make canelés, the small cakes that originated in the city of Bordeaux, France. Biting into the project was simple; all it required was some form of mold (preferably copper) and a willingness to bake. Chewing involved juggling a complex equation with questionable roots. Added to the equation was the fact that some of these beings (e.g. me) had never before seen or tasted a canelé, so even if they found what they were looking for, they were unable to recognize it!

Much progress has been made, but the search continues. The search thus far has been documented in two prior threads; this is a continuation, with a brief intro to the principal players. The last thread may be found at:

This search would have been in vain were it not for a Starship captain, Pilinut, who can be encountered on her ship, mumbling under her breath, "Five grams of flour more", or, "Out, out, damned wax", among other things. In her quest she has been known to deprive loved ones of an ingredient called moo juice, which is vital to her baking. She has met with much success in her quest.

Assisting the captain is the very able first officer, Trewq. To date she is the only crew member who has achieved perfection in canelé baking. Our fervent hope is that she does not abandon us, so she is being treated with much respect, and handled with kid gloves. 

The next baker is Souschef, Chief Engineer, me. I have had some successes and some spectacular failures.

Hopefully soon to join the ranks will be Consultant Cynsa. Devoid of an oven, she relies on her mother to provide heat to cook her nourishment. Her last excuse to not participate will be removed within 48 hours.  

We are waiting for Buttertart, Visiting Vulcan Dignitary and Collector of Tomes, to roll up her formidable baking sleeves, and join in the search. Her passion for baking (and tomes) knows no bounds.

Caroline1, our counsellor, has not been heard from in a while. It is rumoured that she is on the Holodeck, exposing herself to art by contemplating the statues in the fountains of Rome.

Chef Chicklet has returned, to the relief of one and all. Her role is as yet undetermined, but she receives an honourable mention as personal thanks in the Chief Engineer's personal log.

Putting in an appearance recently is 'miss Louella', who has been caught up in the mystique and hopes to begin baking after acquiring objects even more elusive than the Beast at Tenagra, i.e. previously-enjoyed canelé molds.

Caitlin McGrath, who is taking a pragmatic approach, and is not having any of this until all the nitty gritties have been worked out. Accordingly, she has been assigned quarters on the wings of the starship.

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  1. Caroline1 is contemplating alright. But it's not on the joy and beauty of dancing fountains. It's the distance between her navel and her spine! If there was a god (or goddess) and s/he REALLY loved us, then canele and other similar delights would be things we had to consume by the bucketfuls if we wished to decrease said distance between navel and spine. <sigh> Alas. "kitchen" and "temptation" are synonyms. Caneles are sin on a plate. Which is undoubtedly why they are so good!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Caroline1

      Caroline, the contemplation to which I was referring was not about the water in the fountains. It was about the statues in the fountain, keeping in mind the embarrassing art class situation you related in a previous post, I went about it the other way, saying you were going to be exposing yourself to art, and hoping you would get my drift.

      Sure canelés may increase the distance between your navel and your spine, but only if you eat a dozen at a time, but there is no pleasure there. Pleasure is savouring one perfect canelé slowly. In the grand scheme of things the impact of that one canelé is minimal. Looking at the recipes posted on our threads, one canelé contains about 1/2 egg yolk, 1/4 cup milk, and less than an ounce of sugar. Sounds like a healthy breakfast !

      Thanks for interrupting your contemplation. BTW on other threads I can now read your posts and indentify the poster as you before I see who posted it.

      1. re: souschef

        You took off you Clark Kent glasses, didn't you!

          1. re: trewq

            That I do! The "S" stands for "Souschef". But you're not gonna see me in tights!

          2. re: Caroline1

            No, you have an inimitable style!

            1. re: souschef

              LOL! I didn't realize I was inimmiting style messages! So what do you have against tights? Beat the hell out of Mario Batalli's khaki shorts and orange clogs! You don't have to be gay to wear tights, you know. You just have eat Peter Pan Peanut Butter! Or Three Musketeers candy bars. '-)

              1. re: Caroline1

                Let's just say that I don't have a Body By Bowflex.

                1. re: souschef

                  If you won't wear the tights, how about a cape?
                  Peter Pan and the Three Musketeers also wore capes.
                  But then again Edna from The Incredibles advises against it.

                  1. re: trewq

                    Bakers don't wear capes. They wear flour in their lapels. BTW mods gave been very indulgent with us about banter in the canelé threads, so I shouldn't push my luck.

                    Trewq, I'm looking forward to doing some baking using your method of preparation and the best technique of baking suitable for my oven. Your thin crust has me anxious to try and duplicate it.

      2. This morning, I baked the remainder of my last batter--4 days old, 3 days since the previous baking. Following the canelé master's example, I topped one off with a little bit of cream and baked at 400F. I suspect things would have gone better, except that in my rush to make it to the not-so-secret canelé conspirators lunch meeting, I vigorously shook (instead of stirred) the batter, and stopped baking before achieving the ideal very brown color.

        Results: the naughty little beasts threatened to popover again, so I manhandled them back into the molds after 15 minutes. They again attempted insurrection after another 15 minutes, but it was less serious this time, so I let them be and took them out after 75 minutes. Not as pretty as the last batch. I think the shaking they had endured worked in more air than was ideal, so I can't say that they would have been more obedient had I baked them à la souschef (450F, then 375F), which proves souschef correct (again) that there are so many bleeping variables in getting this right that there are an infinite number of things one can do wrong. . . I did notice, however, that the batch from 3 days ago, though darker and baked longer, had a moister, more flan-like interior. (So maybe I am learning something, however slowly.) Anyway, the 4 below--left over from today's original 8--are a fairly representative sample, and DH happily devoured 2 this afternoon with no complaints about having too many canelés too often.

        8 Replies
        1. re: pilinut

          I readily admit to being a perverse person, but I cannot stop thinking of a croquembouche made of caneles! 52 inch hips, anyone? Those are adorable! Lucky husband!

          1. re: Caroline1

            Those canelés you call "adorable" are what Cynsa calls "twisted sisters". Note, however, that she has no compunction about devouring them. I can vouch for the quality of them - if you can take my word, that is !

            Funny you mention croquembouche as Cynsa was saying today that someone in SFO had canelés instead of a wedding cake.

          2. re: pilinut

            What a beauty. Why is she hiding in the back? Is she shy?
            Did you notice any difference between the one you topped off vs. the others?
            The inside looks moist. How long did you bake them at 450F?

            I did a very bad thing. I boiled my molds. The batch I baked today was not a pretty sight. Why did I wash them? Because every time I looked in to them all I could hear was Souschef screaming. So the lesson here is never wash the insides no matter how loud he screams.

            How was your not so secret rendezvous?

            1. re: trewq

              You get top marks for imagining me scream; now if only I could imagine myself scream !

              A detailed report of the not-so-secret meeting will be posted once the boss, Madame Souschef, is done with the PC. This is being entered on my iPhone.

              1. re: trewq

                Well, trewq, I must tell you that the one I topped off with a little (approx. 1 tsp.) whipping cream was the prettiest of the lot! I'm not sure how much had to do with it being the least full by a few hairs (1/4 in. from the rim), and how much to do with the cream.

                I wish I could tell you how it tasted, but I offered the last (and prettiest) 2 canelés to my mother (she of the "You're making canelés AGAIN?!), and contrary to my expectations, received only an empty plate back. I guess it must have been good.

                And I baked this batch only at your suggested 400F in my more stable oven.

                1. re: pilinut

                  "she of the "You're making canelés AGAIN?!"
                  After my frustration with yesterdays batch. I threw them in the trash. My husband said" NO, don't throw them away. " You would think he would have been tired of them by now.

              2. re: pilinut

                "I did notice, however, that the batch from 3 days ago, though darker and baked longer, had a moister, more flan-like interior. (So maybe I am learning something, however slowly."

                I hope I'm not misinterpreting what you're saying, but it seems to bear out what I have read several times that the batter should rest at least 48 hours.

                I'm waiting to hear your feedback on Cynsa's canelés :)

                1. re: souschef

                  I'm thinking that the higher intial temperature, followed by the lower temperature, might be yielding a wetter interior in a darker crust, whereas the steady 400F may mean a more uniform interior consistency. OTOH, it could be that the longer resting period makes for the less wet interior, too. (Variables, infinite variables. . . )

                  You will certainly hear about Cynsa's canelés, as I am sure they will be splendid within the first 2 tries.

              3. Report Of A Not-So-Secret Canelé Away Team Meeting.

                Madame Souschef and I are in Carmel, CA, and drove up to San Francisco to meet Chowhounds Pilinut and Cynsa for lunch. On meeting them I could not help but think that the term "Hound" was so inappropriate as they are both gracious, charming ladies. I also could not help but think that Cynsa looks so gentle that as punishment for my throwing her off the boat I will probably return in my next life as a bug that will haplessly get squashed under her sandals.

                Pilinut gave me a vanilla bean from Manilla. VERY fragrant. Thank you Captain !

                After a very nice lunch, with great conversation, we reconvened at the Ferry Building, where Boulette's Larder (as featured in the infamous CH video on the Perfect Canelé) is located. Cynsa had called ahead to make sure that we could get some canelés. In addition she brought some from "La Boulangerie". Pilinut brought some from "Patisserie Philippe", as well as some from "Chateau Pilinut", which she baked this morning before our meeting. So we had 4 different versions to sample.

                We cut the canelés into two so that we could see their insides, and did a taste test, and no, it was not blind. This was done right outside Boulette's, and got quite a few smiles from passersby. Here are my notes:

                Pilinut's Canelés: Very nice crunch. Delicious. Custardy. But would not win any prizes for looks. Needs to get a serious tan.

                Boulette's: Lighter than Pilinut's, but not as tasty. Not dark enough. One thing I disliked about it was that the crunch was not of caramel, but of granulated sugar, as if they had coated the molds with sugar. I did not like the gritty texture of sugar between the teeth.

                Patisserie Philippe: Right shade and gloss. Air pocket on top. Very dense, flan-like. Cynsa and Pilinut were disappointed as they had had some great ones from there before. There was some question as to whether they were fresh.

                La Boulangerie: Chewy. Not liked by anyone.

                We came to a consensus as to which was best, and asked a passerby to take the taste test. The one she liked best was the one we all liked the best - Pilinut's. Pilinut was too bashful to concur, but TAKE A BOW PILINUT ! Second was Patisserie Philippe's, and third was Boulette's. Boulette's may have been rated a bit higher were it not for my pointing out the gritty texture.

                Cynsa asked me how mine compared next to what we had. I could not for the like of me draw a comparison.

                I am attaching pictures of all of them, taken prior to being cut. Cynsa has the cut version. Note the white bellybutton on the Boulette ones. I think it's because of the way they wax the molds; the wax builds into a dome on the bottom.

                So there you have it, the unscientific results from a bunch of Chowhounds who do know what they like. Of course it would have been great to also have a Trewq creation.

                It was a real pleasure and great fun to meet Pilinut and Cynsa. Rumour has it that Cynsa will soon be baking canelés.

                As an aside, the Ferry Building is a wonderful foodie place to visit. Sur La Table has the aluminium molds for $8, and there are wonderful shops that sell chocolate and cheese and a whole bunch of other stuff.

                1: Pilinut
                2: Philippe
                3: Boulette
                4: La Boulangerie

                BTW Pilinut and Cynsa brought one of each type for each of us, so I got to take back some leftovers for brekkie tomorrow. Thank you !

                33 Replies
                1. re: souschef

                  One thing I forgot to mention is that Boulette's canelés were smaller than the others. If you look at the video you notice that there is a gap (1/4 inch at least, I estimate) at the top when they go into the oven, and they are at the same level when removed.

                  Sanity check: why/how did I get into this obsessive quest? Makes nosense at all.

                  1. re: souschef

                    It sounds like you guys had a blast. Isn't it funny how we think someone may look like, but when you see them they totally different.
                    Do you think that out of the four canneles, only Pilinut and Philippe are baked in copper molds? The reason why I'm asking is because the shape of the canneles are straight where Philippe flares slightly .

                    1. re: trewq

                      "Isn't it funny how we think someone may look like, but when you see them they totally different."

                      Agreed. I haven't yet decided what you may look like, but I like your quirky sense of humour. BTW Pilinut said yesterday that she thought at the start that I was a woman as it is unusual for a guy to be interested in baking.

                      According to the Boulette video they also use copper molds. They even show a shot of the interior, which looks like a dark, non-stick interior.

                      1. re: souschef

                        "your quirky sense of humour"
                        Who's calling the cannele black? :) I have noticed your spelling of certain words, you use the english spelling vs the american spelling, which makes me think....

                        " it is unusual for a guy to be interested in baking."
                        Not true, a majority of the world greatest bakers are men and Souschef is amongst them.

                        Maybe Boulette just uses the copper mold for show in the video. Silicon would probably be easier to fill and to unmold. And they use sugar to coat the mold you said. I would think the sugar would tend to burn in the copper mold because of the heat retention where as the silicon would not be as hot.

                        1. re: trewq

                          Calling me one of the world's greatest bakers is more than a slight exaggeration.

                          I live in Canada, so use the English spelling of words. Some of your verb conjugation makes me think you are Québecoise.

                          I can't say for sure that Boulette's coats the molds with sugar, but it sure does seem like it.

                          1. re: souschef

                            You know what would be great at this point? A compilation of the best points from each recipe/technique/temp so that those of us who have been reading along without venturing into these heavily charted but seemingly impassable waters might throw caution to the winds and give these a whirl.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              That's a great idea, but if you are raring to go I suggest that you use Trewq's recipe/technique/temp as she has had the most success of us all.

                              1. re: souschef

                                Come on, man, you're an engineer! Spreadsheet! Flow chart! Your fans await.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  "Come on, man, you're an engineer!"

                                  Buttertart, You have a great idea, but we're more like the blind leading the blind.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    An engineer is an applied scientist, whereas canelé making is a black art, and is known only to Black Magic Woman, aka Trewq.

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      Are we showing our age? Black magic women, star trek, get smart.......

                                      I assume you are back across the border. Have you started a new batter yet?
                                      I did weigh the eggs. 5 jumbo yolks equal 100g. I have been tweaking the recipe a little.

                                      1. re: trewq

                                        Okay, I'm an old fart!

                                        I don't make sorties across the border. I'm still in Carmel, so have not yet started a new batch of batter. I have not yet managed to get to the bakery in Monterey; maybe tomorrow. My gold standard so far for taste is Pilinut's.

                                        I hope you are keeping close track of the tweaks.

                                        1. re: souschef

                                          Yes, Sir
                                          Yes I am. And weighing also. I think this is worse then a full time job.

                                          GO!! Pilinut!!!!

                                2. re: buttertart

                                  That sounds like a good idea!

                                  Let's start with the only things of which I am fairly certain:

                                  1. Metal is better than silicone.

                                  2. Lining the molds is a breeze, if you have gloves. Following the most estimable trewq, I use a dedicated pair of cotton work gloves for this. I melt enough beeswax and oil to fill an entire mold and pour and swirl the hot liquid from one warm mold to the next. The leftover oil is poured back into a small jam jar which serves as crucible and storage.

                                  3. It is best to line a very flat baking sheet with foil on which to rest the molds. If you don't mind throwing away the foil after use, you don't have to worry about clogging your drains with congealed white oil.

                                  1. re: pilinut

                                    Okay, here's what I am certain of, in addition to Pilinut's list:

                                    1. The canelés have to be baked at very high heat (450) for the first 15 minutes, then the temperature reduced (375). But Trewq will disagree as she uses a convection oven.

                                    2. The batter has to be strained before being left to rest.

                                    I do realize that buttertart will ask me to compile this all into a spreadsheet, and I will. Separate spreadsheet column for convection oven.

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      " uses a convection oven"
                                      No, just at 400f at regular bake.

                                      1. re: trewq

                                        Thank goodness, I just have a regular one (and no space for a countertop one unless I banish my MW and then what will I do for a timer...).

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          Does that mean you're ready to jump in? :)) I hope so!

                                          "banish my MW and then what will I do for a timer"
                                          Get a new watch? My MW is a little too big for my wrist! ;)

                                          Right now we all use different recipes and different temperatures. So it would be hard to put together a compilation. But it would be a good idea. I think Souschef would be good candidate for this since he has tasted 2 of the 3 cannele baked on this thread and he could do a comparison if he only could remember what his taste like.

                                          1. re: trewq

                                            Sill have to get a popover pan. I doubt my muffin tin would work for this!
                                            (My husband refers to my MW as the world's biggest electronic timer. I do use it but not enough to justify its real estate).

                                            1. re: trewq

                                              Souschef has changed his liquor of choice from the traditional rum to cognac, as I believe he mentioned in an earlier thread. I love good rum, and have used Myer's for the most recent batch, but will be switching back to Pyrat XO, when I use up the Myers. One of these days, I may try cognac, too, but not until my canelé baking problems are more or less resolved.

                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                Cognac!!! Remy Martin?
                                                I was using Bacardi special dark rum but recently switched over to The Kraken Black Spiced Rum. The mr, says it's very smooth. I'm beginning to think I spend too much money on booze for someone who doesn't drink.

                                                1. re: trewq

                                                  "I'm beginning to think I spend too much money on booze for someone who doesn't drink."

                                                  And l'm beginning to think you know a lot about booze for someone who doesn't drink!

                                                  Right now I'm using brandy, not Cognac, the way I am using vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans. Once I get the canelés where I like them, I will switch to the good stuff. Rémy Martin or Courvoisier. It's too expensive to use primo ingredients while experimenting. Ideally I would like to use something even more concentrated as I find that the flavour of the booze just does not come through.

                                              2. re: trewq

                                                Thinking back to our taste test it struck me that "The Perfect Canelé" may not exist. While I do agree that an internal aerated structure seems to be what we are striving for, I did really enjoy the Patisserie Philippe version too, which had a non-aerated flan-like lump at the bottom. I thought the texture was great, but then I DO like flan.

                                                I think that the best we will be able to come up with is a list of ingredients and specific method of preparation that will give us a specific end result.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I agree, the aerated structure and a thin crunchy crust.

                                                  'I DO like flan."
                                                  I love flan.

                                            2. re: trewq

                                              Good. That reduces the number of variables.

                              2. re: souschef

                                Souschef and Mme. souschef honored us by sharing a most enjoyable afternoon with us! We look forward to their return, as well as to having more of the other people on this board over for a Canelé Conclave of sorts.

                                I am truly pleased and flattered that the flavor of my canelé, if not the form (always my waterloo), met with our venerable souschef's approval. I agree that they needed at least another 15 minutes in the oven.

                                I must run for now as dinner awaits. . . excuse me.

                                1. re: pilinut

                                  As for the various canelés, it is likely that mine tasted good in large part because La Boulange and Patisserie Philippe were not at their best yesterday.

                                  I think we were all pretty sure that La Boulange's had lost their crunch because they were at least a day old. I don't think they should be selling old canelés any more than they should be selling stale bread.

                                  Patisserie Philippe's canelés were still warm from the oven when I collected them, unfortunately in a closed box, which probably caused the crust to soften a bit. With its interior less aerated than usual, it was rather disappointing.

                                  The exterior of the much-lauded Boulette would have passed muster with just about anyone, but the oddly crystalline crunch didn't get past the keen senses of our resident Vulcan, souschef!

                                  Looking and tasting all these different canelés side-by-side, I realized that even the pros have their off days: imperfectly formed crowns, variegated caramelization, too-dense interiors. . . They have much the same problems as we do, though maybe not so dramatically. I think we can--and should!--continue our quest, in the knowledge that our own imperfect attempts are not so bad. And honestly, anyone reading this thread can now jump right in and produce really delicious results--I think some of us (myself in particular) have made (and chronicled) nearly every possible mistake already :-)!

                                  1. re: pilinut

                                    "venerable souschef" ? You make me sound old! I guess it's okay so long as no one genuflects when they meet me!

                                    It's time to grab some lunch and then head for Monterey to the canelé bakery and to TJ's to pick up some supplies. I'm cooking dinner this evening - herb and mustard encrusted rack of lamb, followed by chocolate soufflé. All done in an oven that gets way too hot.

                                    1. re: souschef

                                      Did you buy any of their (TJ's) 72% "Pound Plus" chocolate bars (in TJ's here, found above the freezer cases)? It's our house brand. Allegedly unmarked Callebaut. Try to get some before you go back and let us know what you think.

                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        I ended up picking my supplies at Whole Foods. I had picked up Scharffenberger chocolate in SFO. If I get a chance I'll try the TJ's chocolate.

                                    2. re: pilinut

                                      A "Canelé Conclave" ? Steady on, Pilinut. You are Captain, but that is not enough, and you now want to be Pope?

                                      1. re: souschef

                                        Pope!? ME? No way! I think you'd make a way more venerable pope. I make a pretty good heretic--though I'm very catholic in my taste in canelé.

                                        1. re: pilinut

                                          Now you really make me sound like a relic ! I have never before been venerated.

                                          If your tastes in canelés are catholic, I suggest that you avoid the cognac.

                                  2. I just tried the Parker-Lusseau canelé. Nice colour, but with a Boulette bellybutton. I got it at 3pm, so it was sitting around for a while; last one of the day. Still had a bit of crunch, but a bit sugary. Aerated interior, but dense. A bit too chewy and a smidgeon too sweet for my taste. The taste tests make me conclude that the best canelé is the one you bake yourself and devour immediately, somewhat like éclairs, but there is no challenge to making éclairs.

                                    I think that my days of chasing store-bought canelés are over.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: souschef

                                      I've been lurking for a while, and can I just tell you guys that even with school starting and on a teacher's salary, I now have an undeniable urge to buy canele molds and start baking? My husband won't be pleased...

                                      I'll have to throw myself in there one of these days, but since I've never actually had a canele maybe I should start at Boulette in the Ferry Building so I have some point of taste reference (as you guys have taken care of most of the rest points of reference in these encyclopedic threads!).

                                      You guys really are awesome. I am (literally) in awe.

                                      1. re: guster4lovers

                                        Definitely start by buying a canelé, though I would recommend that you also buy one from Patisserie Philippe. I found Philippe's more attractive and enjoyed the darker, almost burnt part.

                                        As for buying molds, you could always start by getting just two.

                                        1. re: guster4lovers

                                          It's understandable about the molds, they are expensive for what they are. I told my husband I'm starting a new hobby and ordered the molds. It's a hobby for two, he eats most of what I don't give away.
                                          It's nice to hear from new people.
                                          Only if you taught french history.........

                                        2. re: souschef

                                          I think I'm going to have to agree with your last statement. I'm not going to go out of my way to buy a canelé unless I'm lucky enough to get close to a fresh batch in Paris or Bordeaux.

                                          So, there, after all the trials, tribulations, and taste tests, I for one can honestly tell the hesitant bakers out there, go for it! You've seen what we've been through--the frustration, the fun, the disappointment and the deliciousness. If you want the really good stuff on this continent, your best odds are to bake some yourself. We'll be here, on the sidelines, baking away and cheering you on!

                                          Guster4lovers, while saving up for the molds and practicing, why not sacrifice an old muffin pan? If you want to go half-way, I think souschef mentioned that Sur la Table at the Ferry Plaza has steel (or aluminum?) molds for around $9 apiece. And you can buy beeswax from some of the honey vendors at the farmers markets in the Bay Area. We look forward to hearing from you and maybe seeing you at the next Canelé Conclave, when I shall put forward souschef's name and see if we can get the beeswax to burn white. . .

                                          1. re: pilinut

                                            Pilinut, you're a riot ! Thanks for the laugh. :))

                                            Those molds are aluminium, and are $8 apiece. The copper ones are $16.20 apiece, from NYC. Definitely jump in with both feet. If you need convincing, bake yourself an éclair and compare it with a store-bought one. The difference is the same as with canelés.

                                        3. After 30 mins at 400F. I know it's not a great shot but the oven was hot and I didn't want to get burned. Cuts and burns makes an ugly hand.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: trewq

                                            Thanks for the picture. I think mine puff up a bit higher after 30 minutes. Yours are straight up whereas mine curve slightly inwards.

                                            Cuts and burns may make an ugly hand, but I didn't want pictures of your hand :)

                                            1. re: souschef

                                              This batch didn't settle back down like they were are suppose to. I think my mold are not fully seasoned. But they did have a crown. I think it takes two or three bakes to get them seasoned right.
                                              Today while I was wiping the molds I noticed I have a favorite mold. Do you have a favorite mold? or is it just me?
                                              How do you eat your canneles? Foot first? crown first? Do you bite the whole thing or do you eat it by layer?

                                              1. re: trewq

                                                LOL! It is just YOU! I don't have a favourite mold. Have you given your favourite mold a name? :)

                                                I bite into a section of crown first, then work my way down to the foot. I the rotate it and start at the crown again.

                                                1. re: souschef

                                                  I knew the answer to that question when I asked it but I was hoping I wasn't alone. And if I said yes to your question would you still talk to me?

                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                    I would still talk to you, but only if you told me the name of your favourite mold.

                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                      ok. I guess I'm better off not telling you then. ;)))

                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                      Ah! Betty! Short for Elizabeth III, the Queen of canelés!

                                              2. re: trewq

                                                Trewq, one thing for you to try is to bake only 6 at a time and see how they turn out. I was told by a pastry chef that you should not try to bake too many at one time as there should be lots of space between them.

                                              3. After hearing from Guster4lovers I began to wonder how many other people out there in the universe have been following our (mis)adventure on the Enterprise through the cannele galaxy.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: trewq

                                                  I suspect that there are at least a few following our efforts, some of whom are too shy to post, and others who think our banter is foolish. There may well be people who are busy baking but are not contributing to this thread.

                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                    Banter? Foolish? There is no bantering here.

                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                      Au contraire, mon amie, we HAVE traded a lot of banter; I'm glad that the mods have been indulgent. I like to have fun, foolish or not.

                                                      It would be interesting, though, if we could get an answer to your original question about how many people are following this thread. I wonder too about those who contributed a post or two and the dropped out.

                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                        Yes, what happened to Cynsa? Hopefully the others will return.

                                                        Anyway back to business. I can't decide whether the insides are suppose to wet or on the drier side but not cake like. Did you happen to take any pictures of the innards of the store bought ones?

                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                          I'm sure Cynsa will be back.

                                                          I think the insides should have an aerated, honeycomb-like structure, and should be damp without being wet. However, there is also a lot to be said for a flan-like interior, which can also be equally nice.

                                                          I wonder if a bunch of super-fresh ones purchased in Bordeaux would all have the same interiors.

                                                          Cynsa has pictures of the insides of the ones we tasted. Hopefully she will post them.

                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                            oops... it's San Francisco Fringe Festival and I'm neglectful as I investigate a spatial anomaly in the holodeck. Here are the Pilinut canelé innards - the very best taste of all.

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              Inside the day-old La Boulange canelé.
                                                              Pix #2 is Boulette's Larder.
                                                              #3 is Patisserie Philippe.

                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                Has anybody here had a meal at the wonderful Canele restaurant in L.A. (Atwater District) ? It's a great place and they give you a home-bake canele as you leave.

                                                  2. Trewq, you can stop feeling lonely. I am back home and ready to start baking canelés again. Pilinut is travelling, but Cynsa is due to start baking on Wednesday.

                                                    I have decided that I will follow your (Boulette's) method of mixing. I just want to confirm that you are using my translation of Paula Wolfert's ingredients (weights instead of handfuls and thimblefuls), except that you are using 100 gm of chicken egg yolks. How much rum do you use ?

                                                    I wonder if Louella found the used molds she was looking for.

                                                    15 Replies
                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                      Welcome Back!!! I hope you had a great trip.
                                                      What is your translation of Paula Wolfert's ingredients? I use 1/4 cup rum.
                                                      This last batch was weird. I used some of the single malt whiskey mixed with rum, about a 1/4 cup total. The whiskey was too strong. I also froze the batter for two days.
                                                      As an experiment I froze half of the mold to see if there would be a difference. There was no noticeable difference between the frozen and room temperature molds.

                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                        Thanks, I did have a great trip. My base was in sleepy, boring Carmel (my wife loves the place), but I had interesting day trips to San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Napa, Big Sur ...

                                                        I was under the impression all this time that you were using my translation of Wolfert's ingredients; I listed them in the first Pilinut thread, but here they are again:

                                                        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

                                                        The permalink is:


                                                        How much egg yolk by weight do you use ?

                                                        You FROZE the batter for two days, or do you just mean that you chilled it for 2 days?

                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                          Your translation looks good. Each jumbo yolk weighs about 20 gm. So for your recipe use 80 gm. I find the taste of the rum gets lost so I add 1/4 cup.
                                                          I use 100 gm. of yolks for 12 canneles.

                                                          "You FROZE the batter for two days, or do you just mean that you chilled it for 2 days?"
                                                          Hmmm. I don't know. Is there a difference? All I know is when I took it out it was solid. ;)

                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                            You got me confused, i.e. I'm wondering why you froze it. I take it you did not freeze it in the molds.

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              I froze the batter because I was going away and I wanted to used the milk up before it spoiled. Also as an experiment. I let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
                                                              I did freeze half of the molds. I did not notice any difference between the frozen molds and the non frozen molds. So I don't know the purpose of freezing the molds after waxing.

                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                        clock is ticking...
                                                        beewax sourcing is delayed until 9/29
                                                        must purchase more eggs
                                                        reread all posts on threads
                                                        deep breaths to prevent hyperventilation

                                                        1. re: Cynsa

                                                          Nothing to worry about, Cynsa! It's just a baked custard. . . And we've made all the mistakes for you already! Have you re-seasoned souschef's gift yet?

                                                          Having returned from a gustatory bacchanal in Vancouver, my thoughts have turned back to canelés. Once they get under your skin, they are hard to get out of your system. I now evaluate my need to refill the fridge by gauging whether I have enough milk and eggs for another batch of canelés. (Yes, I do--and I just might, lest I forget all those hard earned lessons and have to re-read all the posts. . .)

                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                            Welcome back, Mon Capitain.

                                                            I get the impression that Cynsa is raring to go, but cannot because she lacks beeswax. perhaps you can "lend" her some ?

                                                            "A gustatory bacchanal" ? Details, please !!

                                                            Of late I seem to be buying a lot of milk and eggs.

                                                            BTW it did not occur to me to mention this before, but I hope we are all using real (whole) milk, not that fake 1% or 2 % or (heaven forbid) skim milk !

                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                              The repulsive bovine secretion to which you refer never sullies the kitchen of this house, nor of any house my mother or I care to inhabit. (My younger sister, in her not-so-distant foolish youth, attempted to persuade us to imbibe that foul liquid, but such silly heresies have a way of dying out on their own.) In the good old days, there used to be an "Extra-rich" version that found much favor in our house, but the extra-rich cattle seem to have been transported to another galaxy, to the sorry disadvantage of our canelés.

                                                              A report of the gustatory bacchanal will be posted on the Western Canada board, if I find time between baking blueberry muffins, canelés, and enthusiastically sampling the assorted chocolate products I brought back from across the border.

                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                Like you, I don't believe in low-fat anything. My idea of eating healthy is moderation. I gotta try canelés with cream one of these days.

                                                                Looking forward to your Western Canada report, especially if Bernard Callebaut (the chocolatier) is still in business.

                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                  Would be so nice to lay hands on Jersey milk again, our hometown dairy specialized in it. And Jesey cream...oh goodness.

                                                            2. re: Cynsa

                                                              You're going to do fine. Just follow Souschefs recipe above. Can't wait for the results.

                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                Time to mix the batter Cynsa.

                                                                Interesting tidbit - I was recently in a store that sells handmade wooden bowls, and on a note on care of the bowls it was stated that the bowls should be given a once-a-year rubdown with beeswax, and that beeswax is available at hardware stores. There is a store here called Lee Valley Tools (where the use of the microplane grater in cooking originated) that carries a recommended wax from B.C. I plan to check it out.

                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                  Is all beeswax food grade I wonder.

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    From the note I saw I tend to not think so. The stuff I use I got at a farmers' market, and the guy there said it could be used in food.

                                                            3. In The Cake Bible RLB states that it is very difficult to uniformly combine dry ingredients; it was the subject of her thesis. So I was thinking that on my next attempt at canelés, where I will be using the Boulette method, I will combine the flour and sugar (per RLB) in my KA mixer, and then pour in the liquid mixture, still using the mixer (instead of a whisk).

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                does your KA mixer have a whisk attachment instead of the paddle?

                                                                1. re: Cynsa

                                                                  It has both. I made a batch of batter today, and I used the whisk attachment. It worked out well. I did have to strain the batter, but then I always do.

                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                    How much egg did you use?
                                                                    What kind of rum do you use?
                                                                    Does whisking in your KA make it foamy?

                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                      I increased the quantities by 40% so that I could make 12 cakes. That meant 7 egg yolks, which was 126 gm. this time.

                                                                      I used St. Rémy brandy instead of rum. Found I could not taste the rum. I am averse to using expensive ingredients until I find a recipe that works perfectly.

                                                                      I did it on low speed in the KA, so it did not get foamy.

                                                                  2. re: Cynsa

                                                                    Cynsa, this is not essential, but before you start I suggest that you get a tall plastic jug with a pouring spout and a lid, and a conical sieve with a fine mesh. The sieve sits conveniently on the plastic jug, and the pouring spout is handy for filling those tiny molds.

                                                                2. After a 3-week hiatus from making canelés I got back to making them again today, and could not remember the temperature at which I started them in the past. Feeling too lazy to go through upteen posts, I decided to start at 450 degrees and after 15 minutes drop to 375.

                                                                  I waxed the molds after heating each one for about 15 seconds so it was just barely warm, then threw them all into the freezer for maybe 10 minutes.

                                                                  After 15 minutes, when I turned down the temperature, they were all just bubbling gently. At 30 minutes, when I turned the tray, they had souffléed up a bit and had a rounded top. They settled down during the baking, so that they were all level with the top or slightly under. They were in the oven for 2 hours.

                                                                  Three of the canelés popped out easily wheras three had to be coaxed out with a toothpick plunged down the side. Pictures attached. The three that had to be coaxed out are the ones in the back with the crowns that are partially pale. Something to do with the waxing ?

                                                                  Cut open they were very reminiscent of the ones that Pilinut made. They were very custardy and had a great crunch. I was very pleased with this bunch.

                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                    They look great!! My hats off to you.

                                                                    How many times did you turn them?
                                                                    I'm going to bake a batch later, I will try your temperatures.

                                                                    "Something to do with the waxing ?"
                                                                    Do you make fresh wax/oil every time? It could be that it a bit burned on to the inside of the mold. Did you look inside the molds?

                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                      Thanks Trewq.

                                                                      I turned them only once. Considering the variation in temperature in my oven I should maybe have turned them every 30 minutes.

                                                                      I don't make fresh wax every time, but this time it WAS freshly made. I checked the insides of the molds; there was no sign of any unusual burning.

                                                                      This (your) method of mixing turned out really good results, but I was not too crazy about the thick skin on the batter or the sludge on the bottom. I'm looking forward to seeing how the next batch turns out (I mixed a double batch).

                                                                      Do you get your best results with Betty? :)

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        "Do you get your best results with Betty?"
                                                                        I do!!! That's why she my favorite. Also because she's clean inside. Oh, you got me going, now all the other molds are going to be jealous.

                                                                        "not too crazy about the thick skin on the batter or the sludge on the bottom"
                                                                        It's the thick skin ones that can take the heat. ;)

                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                          "It's the thick skin ones that can take the heat. ;)"

                                                                          Yes, but are they the most delicioso ? :)

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            I tried baking using your temperatures. It did not work out for me. The canneles were very wet inside and the sides had very large air pockets. I think they were undercooked if that's possible for something that's baked for 2 hours.
                                                                            Maybe it's our ovens. Going back to the old way. Even Betty was bad. :(

                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                              Too bad it did not work out for you. I find that those temperatures work great for me. I used to use 425 to start, but 450 works even better - no major soufflé or popover at 30 minutes.

                                                                              Bad Betty ! :)

                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                " no major soufflé or popover at 30 minutes."
                                                                                What does that mean? Did they rise? Did they settle back down after 30 mins?

                                                                                1. re: trewq

                                                                                  I found that when I started at 425 they looked like soufflés after 30 minutes - high above the molds and with straight tops. When I started at 450 they were not so high after 30 minutes, and the tops were rounded instead of straight.

                                                                                  The ones started at 450 settled down more than the ones started at 425; at 450 they all settled down below the tops of the molds whereas at 425 they were at the top of or above the molds.

                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                    I think I may try 425 convection on my next batch. Have you tried convection before?

                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                      I am one of the underprivileged few - I do not have a convection oven.

                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                        Do you have an electric or gas oven? Do you use an oven thermometer when you bake?

                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                          Electric. i do use an oven thermometer, which shows that the temperature is correct, but from the results, the temperature varies across the oven; that is why I turn the tray.

                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                      Those look really good, souschef! I'm still trying to figure out why some canelés lift off their crowns, never to return while others seem to either never leave, or to return and to complete their browning. I'm pretty sure it's a question of hot air getting trapped between cake and crown, but what to do about it? I once tried poking a hole into the cakes when they souffléed but results were definitely mixed and I didn't think it was worth trying again.

                                                                      I have a batch of batter in the fridge, and just a glance shows that it does have a thick foamy layer on top and a sludge with the vanilla seeds at the bottom. I used a flat whisk throughout the process to avoid beating in too much air: my first attempt chronicled on this board failed, I thought, because I used a blender and worked in too much air. I could be entirely wrong because my last batch still threatened to popover.

                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                        Pilinut, I am convinced that the key is to start the baking process at a high temperature, so try baking the next batch for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce the temperature to 375.

                                                                        I think that these were my best results so far (excluding the Roux bunch), so I'm going to stick with the Boulette method, but will use a whisk instead of the KA the next time as a couple developed blisters on the bottom during baking (probably as a result of too much air). The blisters popped at the end. It will be interesting to see if any from the second batch also develop blisters.

                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                        And this is for you, souschef...http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7334...
                                                                        Must have a look-see next time in Phila.

                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                          Thanks Buttertart; most interesting. Too bad gaetano disappeared from our thread after his first post. I was comparing the picture of the canelé he made with the one I made; I think the one I made is a bit wetter.

                                                                          BTW re: Le Bec Fin, on a business trip to DC many years ago, I wandered into the large book store in Dupont Circle and spotted a book by Georges Perrier. It looked really interesting, so I bought it. I've made a couple of things from it, and they turned out well.

                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                            We went there for an anniversary dinner 10+ years ago and it was fabulous - I still remember the sole with noodles fish course (the noodles perfectly matched the texture of the sole). Don't remember the desserts as much other than the amazing number of them on the cart.

                                                                      2. Those of you who think I go overboard weighing stuff, check out this thread:


                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                          I was waiting for you to chime in on that, Mr. 27.5 grams...

                                                                        2. Hi everyone,

                                                                          I'm so glad to find a thread on canele. I've tried 1 about a month ago and I'm hooked. Sadly, I can't find any bakery that sells caneles in Singapore. So I'm going to start on my baking quest for caneles. i've read through the 3 caneles threads and I'm at a loss as to which recipe I should try. Hoping I'll get some advice from you all. :)

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: filofari

                                                                            Welcome aboard!!
                                                                            I would recommend using the recipe that Souschef has posted above. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7233...
                                                                            If that link doesn't work the date of the post is sep.20,2010.
                                                                            If you have any other questions please ask.

                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                              great thanks! I hope it would turn out well with silicon molds!

                                                                              1. re: filofari

                                                                                Please keep us posted on how they turn out.

                                                                          2. Here are the results of the second batch I baked from the batter I mixed on Tuesday. There was a little bit of sludge on the bottom, but there was no thick skin on the top. After stirring the mixture thoroughly I noticed on pouring it into the molds that it seemed thinner. This time I made sure that I had a decent wax coating on the molds, then threw them into the freezer for about 5 minutes (the wax heats up the molds a bit).

                                                                            I did the 450/15 minutes, then 375, and turned the baking tray every 30 minutes. After 90 minutes they looked done enough so I took them out of the oven. They slid out of the molds without any prodding. I think that they look great on the picture. The reason there is not a picture of a cut one is because I took them all to Montreal, to my favourite chocolatier/pastry chef, who is from France. I baked them early this morning so they would get to her fresh.

                                                                            The feedback I got first was that I should have baked them a bit less so were more moist. I will try 75 minutes next. She indicated that the reason a couple of them were a bit light on the crowns was uneven heat.

                                                                            When in Montreal I remembered that Trewq prowls around Montreal a lot, so I looked closely at every woman I saw. After a while my wife asked me what I was looking for. When I said I was looking for Trewq, she said, "True who?", to which I responded, "Q". She then said, "Q as in the Star Trek character who was a troublemaker and had a quirky sense of humour?". I told her she was right, except that Trewq is not a troublemaker, but does have a quirky sense of humour. I always thought Trewq needed a more important position than First Officer................

                                                                            32 Replies
                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                              MONTREAL!!!!!!!!! I need to make a visit there soon. ;) I think your wife knows me better then you. Mwwhahahaha (evil laugh). I don't know who I would rather be Q from 007 or this Q from star trek, starchy old man who plays with toys or a troublemaker who has ...........

                                                                              "bit light on the crowns was uneven heat."
                                                                              Do you think heating the tray before baking would help? What kind of tray do you use? Did she tell you how you can tell if they are done?

                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                Given a choice, I think I would classify you as a troublemaker rather than a starchy old man. BTW evil laughs are not allowed till Halloween :)

                                                                                Michel Roux tells you to use a chilled baking tray.

                                                                                I use a half-sheet pan from Williams-Sonoma.

                                                                                She did not tell me how to tell if they are done. I think it's an experience thing. One thing she did say is that to get even heat you need a professional oven or a convection oven.

                                                                                Do you bake yours in the centre of the oven? That's where I position my rack. What exactly happened when you used the 450/375 scheme that I use? I find that at 450 the heat is so high that they just bubble instead of souffléing, then when you drop the heat it is too low for a soufflé.

                                                                                Just as a reference, when I make sweet soufflés I bake them at 425° because I WANT them to soufflé and I like them soft in the centre, whereas when I make a cheese soufflé I bake it at 375° as I want it cooked through, and it does not puff up as much.

                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                  yes, in the center of the oven. Maybe I should lower it a little that way there is more heat on the bottom.
                                                                                  I may try heating the baking pan first then placing the filled molds on it since the baking pan is thick. What do you think?

                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                    Q, I can't speculate as to what would happen if you heated the baking sheet. Your best best is to try it.

                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                      Q!!! Only my closest chowhounds call me Q!!!!!!! ;)
                                                                                      I guess it could also stand for Quebecois.

                                                                                      Thanks for the advice.


                                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                                        Q could stand for a whole continuum of things

                                                                                        Do you still freeze the molds ?

                                                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                                                        I will let you know how it turns out. Maybe.

                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                          Maybe ? Did I offend Madame Q ? :)

                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                            "Did I offend Madame Q "
                                                                                            Nah, I was just playing with you. ;)
                                                                                            And it's Q to you, dear Sir

                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                              I just baked a batch of canneles. I started at 425 convection. Baked for 15 mins then threw in the last four on the hot pan. The hot pan ones did not rise as much as the other and settled back down about the same.
                                                                                              Souschef, I think you're on to something about the high heat. When you heat the milk, do you let it come to a boil?

                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                Per the original Wolfert recipe, I heat the milk to 183 degrees F.

                                                                                                I plan to make more batter today, so will bake some on Thursday.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    I use a Taylor deep fry/candy thermometer.

                                                                                                  2. re: souschef

                                                                                                    "I heat the milk to 183 degrees F."
                                                                                                    But does it come to a boil?
                                                                                                    I think I know why sometimes you get thick skin and sometimes you get thin skin. It's the milk.

                                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                                      It does not come to a boil. You just see bubbles around the rim, and it shudders. IIRC you have to just scald the milk, but even that is open to interpretation. I like the thermometer as it is repeatable.

                                                                                                      I always use the same brand of milk, heated to the same temperature, so how could the milk determine the thin skin or the thick skin?

                                                                                                      I'm going to closely monitor the next two batches of batter for the skin formation. For the first batch I'm going to use the Boulette method, and for the second what I call the pastry cream method.

                                                                                                      BTW I don't think that a mixer should be used to mix the ingredients as only with a mixer did I get blisters on the cakes when baking. For that reason I will not try again the Baillardran method as it causes the egg to cook and clump when it gets into contact with the sugar, and the only way round that is to use a mixer.

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        I've noticed the last time I let the milk boil to 183 it had a thick skin. This time and the other times I just heated it to a simmer I had thin skin. Just makes me wonder.
                                                                                                        You're going to make TWO batches? Whole batches or half batches. You should try the heated pan bake. I think I may go that way.

                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                          The Yorkshire pudding principle! ;-)

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            "The Yorkshire pudding principle!"
                                                                                                            What is that?

                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                              Cooking egg, milk, and flour mixtures in a heated pan to increase lift.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                Oh, Thanks for the explanation. I was talking about heating the tray before placing the filled molds onto it.
                                                                                                                I really glad that you've stayed with us and kept us company along the way but when are you going to start baking with us? I wish you would soon. :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Easily remedied since you are within shouting distance (almost) of J.B. Prince.

                                                                                                                    And yes, thanks for staying with us.

                                                                                                          2. re: trewq

                                                                                                            The skin gets stirred in with no problem, so I'm not sure if it's a concern. I like the repeatability of using a thermometer as I like as few variables as possible.

                                                                                                            When I say two batches I mean two batches of 6 canelés each. I have only 6 molds.

                                                                                                            I don't have the problem of the things not settling down since I went to the higher temperature, so I don't know what the heated pan bake will buy me. I will try it all the same.

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              "so I don't know what the heated pan bake will buy me"
                                                                                                              It can't buy you anything unless you take it to Holt's and give it your credit card. ;)

                                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                Q, you just demonstrated why I say you have a Quirky sense of humour :)

                                                                                                                You shop at Holt Renfrew? I can't afford to buy a pair of SOCKS at that place !

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  When did I say I shopped at Holt Renfrew? Just because you and I can't afford to shop there, doesn't mean you pan can't. ;)

                                                                                    2. re: souschef

                                                                                      My apologies for blowing my own horn on that post, saying that the canelés looked great. Sleep deprivation does strange things to the mind - even the Vulcan mind !

                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                        Why do you want to confuse me. Why are you apologizing? They do look beautiful. Almost as if you used Betty.
                                                                                        Do Vulcans sleep?

                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                          Why am I apologizing? Because it's uncool to blow your own horn !

                                                                                          So when do we get to see pictures of a Betty-made canelé vs another ?

                                                                                          Vulcans do sleep - sometimes.

                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                            In order for me to take a picture of Betty cannele I would have to pay her royalties. She's under contract with some modeling agency.

                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                              So what's the problem, Q ? Money ?

                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                I talked to her. She said NO, she under an exclusive contract, and she won't tell me who with. You raise them and this is how they treat you.

                                                                                    3. Buttertart, I know you have been waiting out the results of all of our experimentation before jumping in to start baking canelés. I think we are at a stage where you can safely jump in, a caveat being that the temperature at which you bake these beasties is oven-dependent. You need to find out what works best with your oven.

                                                                                      I recommend that you use the Wolfert ingredients and use the method shown in the "Perfect Canelé" video, after letting the batter rest 48 hours.

                                                                                      And please do weigh everything :)

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                        I still haven't sprung for the popover pan and don't think a muffin tin would cut it, would it? No baking this weekend, feeling more cook-y for some reason (maybe having spent the past few days reading Malgieri and Lebovitz, baking by proxy...).

                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                          I thought you were planning to buy canelé molds.

                                                                                          1. re: souschef

                                                                                            Planning is one thing, doing another...

                                                                                      2. I baked my most recent batch of canelés yesterday afternoon. Perfection is still a dream, but I am learning, however slowly. The flaw this time is (again) the foot, which gets charred and creates a crater. I'm pretty sure it can be cured by filling the molds a little bit less. The last batch I made--the one souschef and Cynsa got to try--had 5 yolks + 1 white = 150 grams of egg. (They were farmers market eggs, and unusually big.) This batch, I used large supermarket eggs (cage-free, Omega 3 enriched, if that matters) and it took 6 yolks + 1 white = 128 grams. I also increased the flour by around 7-8 grams.

                                                                                        The canelés formed dark bellybuttons, but did not soufflé as much, forming rounded domes. When they sank, after I took the tray our to turn it after 30 minutes, the foot was still clinging to the edge of the mold. I was worried that the cakes would hang and I'd end up with pale crowns. Fortunately, the crowns were reasonably well formed by the time I turned the canelés out after a total cooking time of 1:20 minutes.

                                                                                        The texture and flavor were similar to the last batch, though a little less wet. I am considering dropping the eggwhite (and with it any pretense at this not being a very rich little treat) and using only yolks. I must add, though, that I believe the Fauchon canelé that inspired me so many years ago had egg whites in it--it wasn't as yolk-y as the ones I've been making lately. (But like the noble Vulcan souschef, I love flan--and my flan is pure yolk.)

                                                                                        As an aside, I don't mind having spare eggwhites from other recipes. I've been using them for a wonderful angelfood cake, the recipe of which came from the Baker's Dozen cookbook. It's a great way to enjoy the last of summer's berries, topped with lots of whipped cream. . . I'm surprised souschef hasn't gotten into angelfood. Or maybe he had a surfeit long ago.

                                                                                        28 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: pilinut

                                                                                          "Noble Vulcan"?

                                                                                          Pilinut, they do look good, but too bad about the feet. It will be interesting to see how an all-yolk batter turns out.

                                                                                          I made angelfood cake once, at the request of Madame Souschef. It tasted too much like diet food. Why eat cake that tastes like diet food? I have been dumping the whites; one of these days I'll use them to make tuiles.

                                                                                          Since I did not taste the ones I made yesterday, which I baked for 90 minutes instead of 120, I plan to bake another lot for 90 minutes, and the second batch from the same batter for 75 minutes. After that I will make the batter using what I call the pastry cream technique, and see if the same temperatures work there as well.

                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                            Ooops, my 1 hour 20 minute baking time looks more like 120 minutes, which would be way too much with my oven.

                                                                                            1. re: pilinut

                                                                                              Pilinut, I find it interesting that you have some light ones with dark bellybuttons, dark ones with light bellybuttons, and dark ones with dark bellybuttons. I really like the look of the insides.

                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                Thanks, souschef. I was puzzling over those bellybuttons (on a crown?) myself. My molds usually have a droplet of wax right where the bellybutton would be, which has also led me to wonder about the dark bubble that forms in the middle of the cake's surface as it bakes. If we can assume that a lack of contact with the mold is what causes part of a canelé to stay pale, what are these results telling us? That in the same batch, wax and/or air is preventing the batter from touching the crown at the bellybutton? Does that mean that the wax droplet sometimes doesn't escape, or that hot air has taken its place, preventing the batter from touching the mold? Is this a problem to be solved or a mystery to be enjoyed (to paraphrase an old college poster)? Personally, I'd prefer it solved, so if anyone has any solutions to propose, please let us know!

                                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                  I agree that a bellybutton in the middle of a crown is incongruous, so what do we call it ? A dimple? A pimple? Okay, an indentation in the centre of the crown (a mouthful of words, but accurate).

                                                                                                  I'm convinced that the indentation is pale when there is wax that forms in the mold. The batter presses up on it , and it has nowhere to go. It could be argued of course that it should melt and escape. If you look at the Boulotte ones, they all have a pale indentation.

                                                                                                  I propose the following solution: Make sure that there is wax buildup on the indentation on half the molds (need a brush here), and that there is no wax on the other half.

                                                                                                  Personally I find canelés more attractive when there is no pale indentation in the middle of the crown.

                                                                                                  Do you agree with my assessment Pilinut & Q ?

                                                                                                  Does this constitute some of that stuff that the nuns told you about (can't remember your exact words ?

                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                    If you look at Pilinuts pictures you would notice that the darker button ones have a puddles of wax/oil in them where the lighter ones do not. So i would think they were oiled more and was frying in the molds.

                                                                                                    1. re: trewq

                                                                                                      Good explanation, Q, but then I'm wondering how to explain the light ones.

                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                        How about this. I believe the cakes are formed in the first 30 mins and then it rises therefor you have a dimple and when it settled back down it wasn't able to make contact with the mold so it didn't brown.

                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                          Ingenius explanation. I know for a fact that they are formed within 30 minutes - when I had my mishap where they tipped out after 30 minutes of baking on a rack, they were fully formed, if light in colour.

                                                                                              2. re: pilinut

                                                                                                Second baking from the same batter. I still made the same mistake, though not as badly--slightly overfilled the molds, but not as much. I think I need more than a quarter-inch gap: the last one I filled, which was the least full, did not cause any problems.

                                                                                                This time I baked at 400F for around the same amount of time as when I started at 450F and moved down to 375F--1 hour 15 minutes. I did have a problem with feet again, and I tried to squash down a few when they looked like settling in with the feet hanging just over the edge--the inward indentation/bend on 3 of the canelés show the consequences of my manhandling.

                                                                                                The white bellybuttons on the crown remain a mystery to me, though. I separated the molds with the wax droplet from the ones without, and the white bellybuttons (3 of them) showed up on 1 without the wax droplet and 2 with the wax droplet.

                                                                                                Overall, though, I think I'm getting more comfortable with the quirks of baking these little monsters.

                                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                  On the recipe page from Paula Wolfert she said "When I tell him that my canelés sometimes have pale yellow spots on their tops, he replies, "Oh, sure, I know that problem well. It's due to the puddling of oil in the crevices of the molds. When they come out that way, we say they have 'a white ass'!"
                                                                                                  They also discussed it over at egullet. They said the same thing.

                                                                                                  I like the way your interior looks. soft and custardy. Just think of the feet as an added crunch. :)

                                                                                                  1. re: trewq

                                                                                                    Thanks, trewq! I've been looking at the photos of my canelés, trying to decide between the 450F/375F and the flat 400F, and with this last batch (same batter, 2 bakings) there's not a lot of difference, though the latter seems to be a bit less wet inside.

                                                                                                    And the feet do add crunch--and stay crunchy longer than any other area! If I could keep them from charring, I'd say the were the best part. In this most recent baking, despite the development of feet, the crowns were pretty well formed. Previously, the formation of feet (or maybe just anything over a size 8 ;-)) was a pretty certain indication of pale crowns. Then again, maybe I manhandled them back in at the right time. . .

                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                      Do you think the extra resting period has something to do with the insides? Did that happen last time also? How many days did it rest for?
                                                                                                      What if you put foil over the feet for the last 15 mins.? Then you can have crunch and no charring no matter how large those feet (size 81/2) are.
                                                                                                      By the way you can call me Q just like souschef, he as renamed me! ;)

                                                                                                      1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                        Pilinut, have you tried covering them with foil to prevent the feet from charring ?

                                                                                                      2. re: trewq

                                                                                                        They taste as good as they look, Q. It's too bad you were unable to be in SFO when we met. BTW I hope you HAVE been to SFO - great food city, just like Montreal.

                                                                                                        So it seems that the white spots are because of an insulating layer of white oil, as you previously theorized.

                                                                                                        I was thinking of Pilinut and her mother last night - when I was mixing the batter my wife asked me what I was making. When I told her I got the "AGAIN?" question.

                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          "When I told her I got the "AGAIN?" question."
                                                                                                          I know the feeling except it's a he and not a her. But he gobbles them up just the same.

                                                                                                          I did a very bad thing yesterday. You know what I said we should never do again, well I did it. YES, I SCRUBBED THE MOLDS. Can I see the inside of your molds, please.

                                                                                                          1. re: trewq

                                                                                                            "Can I see the inside of your molds, please."

                                                                                                            You want to see the INSIDES of my molds ? Do we know each other THAT well, Trewq ? HAHAHAHA !

                                                                                                            Here's a picture.

                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                              I did say please :)
                                                                                                              Why are your mold so clean? Mine are brown inside. Thanks to you I have started scrubbing again. The bottoms are the hardest to clean.

                                                                                                              1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                I take no responsibility for your mold hygiene :)

                                                                                                                After each use I take a paper towel and clean the insides as best I can, using the paper towel only. It usually gets rid of some burnt bits. I wonder if it's safe to put them into an oven that is on a self-clean cycle as this would really get them clean.

                                                                                                                Before I set aside my aluminium molds, I scrubbed them clean with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and they came really clean. You may want to try that, and then use the paper towel trick each time.

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  No no no no no, the self-clean cycle would melt the tinning and you'd really have a mess on your hands...

                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                    Whew! Thanks for the firm stop. I'll not do that.

                                                                                                                    With over 200 posts it's time to start a new thread, which I'll do later today.

                                                                                                                    1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                      I just remember written admonitions not to use tinned copper over high heat for fear of this happening. That's why the jam basins are untinned.

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                        Thank goodness you are here. I might have listened to that engineer.
                                                                                                                        Do you have any idea how to clean baked on oil? I was thinking coke. I had to stop scrubbing once I started to see copper coming through.

                                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                          The engineer merely asked a question.

                                                                                                                          You have copper coming through? OMG !! What HAVE you been doing to those poor molds ?

                                                                                                                            1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                              Cleaning them is not bad, but when you clean them down to bare copper it IS bad as you cannot use that mold anymore. Bare copper oxidizes and that is poisonous. I have a copper bowl that I use for whipping egg whites, and clean it before each use with vinegar and salt, but you cannot do that with the canelé molds that are down to bare copper.

                                                                                                                              1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                I know you started a new thread but it makes more sense for me to post this here.
                                                                                                                                I've been reading about tin apparently tin's melting point is 450. SO DO NOT BAKE YOUR CANNELES AT 450!!!

                                                                                                                                1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                                  DARN! You are right. I also did some searching to check if those molds were lined with tin or stainless steel: it IS tin. Fortunately I baked only two batches at 450, and only 15 minutes at that.

                                                                                                                                  This of course takes me back to square 1 as I have to now start baking again at 400. Sigh ! Popover and soufflé time again ! Perhaps I should consider doing what Pilinut considered a while ago - nail the damn things to a board and use them as a decoration !

                                                                                                                                  Surprising thing is that gaetano recommended baking at 475 degrees.

                                                                                                                                  Thank you, Q.

                                                                                                  2. Pilinut & Trewq,

                                                                                                    I am trying to establish the crunchiness of your canelé shells: one hour after baking, when they have cooled to room temperature, can you cut through them with a table knife, or do you need a bread knife? I find that I have to use a bread knife as a table knife just scores the top without cutting it.

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: trewq

                                                                                                        OK, so they are nice and crunchy. I expect that Pilinut's are the same.

                                                                                                        BTW Q, you need an avatar. You are too colourful to not have an avatar :)

                                                                                                      2. re: souschef

                                                                                                        Even when baked to a deep brown, I can cut my canelés with a table knife, though it is faster and easier with a serrated one, which also lessens the risk of cracking the shell in several places.

                                                                                                      3. Pilinut, I vaguely remember you mentioning a rum called "Flor de Caña", when I saw a bottle today in the liquor store. It is 5 years old, made in Nicaragua, and going for $25. Is that what you were talking about, and if so is that a good price?

                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: souschef

                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/414673 on June 28-2007, Veggo says 5-yr old at $21. Sourcing it in 2010 for $25 is a good price.
                                                                                                          I am drinking the Flor de Caña Centenario 12-yr old rum - neat.

                                                                                                          At 7:30 PST my batter for canelés is resting in the refrigerator. I have reread every post, seasoned the molds, and pondered recipes... whether to measure in gms or oz. on my scale... the five egg yolks weigh over the 94 gm mark.... I broke my fat-free milk rule and brought a pint of whole milk into the house. Cake flour, vanilla extract, Myers dark rum and Paul Wolfert's recipe made 32 oz. of a foamy batter in a tall lidded pitcher. Do I bake canelés at 7:30 pm on Thursday? now searching for conical fine-mesh sieve ... my 8" China cap for stock is too large.

                                                                                                          I am drinking the good rum... I'll need it to temper my anxieties. (hopefully it's enough to lift my spirits) Will I stir all that foam into the batter after 48 hours? It smells so delicious, maybe I should just drink the batter and forego baking. egg nog - anyone?

                                                                                                          1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                            Cynsa, it sounds like the molds are seasoned, and you are well-seasoned too - with rum! How much did you put into the batter? Was it "a cup for Cynsa, a teaspoon for the batter. Hic!" ?

                                                                                                            WELCOME TO CANELE BAKING, CYNSA! Glad to have you on board, rowing with all of your might. Now that you are no longer a consultant we will have to find you an appropriate title. I'm sure that our Captain will find you one.

                                                                                                            Hooray! One more baker ! Please post pictures.

                                                                                                            1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                              I am on tenterhooks awaiting my taste of Cynsa's canelé! I have no doubt that her talent, plus her extensive research into our pitfalls, will yield delicious, visually appealing results.

                                                                                                              BTW, no need for a fancy conical mold--an fine mesh strainer will do.

                                                                                                              One more small pointer, be sure that your baking sheet (the one your molds will bake on) does not warp at high temperatures. If the canelé rises at an angle, it will probably not be able to return to its seat properly.

                                                                                                              1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                Pilinut, I'm the one who recommended a conical sieve to Cynsa. I find it much easier working with one as I rest it on the plastic jug and then I have both hands free to work. Also, I dirty as few dishes as possible. It is not essential, of course.

                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                  I've seen the fine conical strainers--the ones that help restaurants achieve those silky smooth purées--and would love to have one, too. But I don't want to give Cynsa any excuses for putting off those long-awaited canelés ;-) , though I agree, much easier to strain before the rest than after.

                                                                                                                  1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                    Agreed. No more excuses for Cynsa. I have you ahev alrady arranged a time when you are to go over and taste them. Keep up the pressure on Cynsa :)

                                                                                                              2. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                Cynsa, i was thinking that with the next batch (there will be one, right ?) you should strain the batter before letting it rest. That way you can pour it straight into the molds from the pitcher (after stirring, of course).

                                                                                                              3. re: souschef

                                                                                                                Actually, the rum I mentioned was Pyrat XO ($21.99 at BevMo). Cynsa is the Flor de Caña aficionado. Right now, I'm using Myer's Dark, but can hardly wait to get back to Pyrat, which to me had so much more depth and aroma. One did not need more than 2-3 tablespoons.

                                                                                                                1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                  Unfortunately Pyrat is not available here (Ontario or Quebec). It's getting to be about time for me to start investigating the good stuff booze-wise.

                                                                                                                  Cynsa, how would you rate Flor de Caña next to Pyrat? perhaps you and Pilinut should get together to do some serious tasting. Please don't drive after.

                                                                                                                  1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                    Rum fest!!! Canelés, babas, drunken fruit. . . the crew will be inebriated. But happy. Next time we do a canelé tasting we should bring along the liquors we use.

                                                                                                                    1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                      Hey, that's a great idea. Wish I were independently wealthy so I could fly to SFO on a whim. But I'm not :(

                                                                                                                      Maybe a tasting in Montreal? Then we'll definitely get Q there.

                                                                                                                      1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                        Did someone say MONTREAL!!!!!! :)))

                                                                                                                        1. re: trewq

                                                                                                                          I would love to visit Montreal! I hear the food is fantastic and the people are really nice. There are probably some great canelés to try in the area, too!

                                                                                                                          1. re: pilinut

                                                                                                                            Pilinut, there are many restaurants in Montreal that are really fantastic, and there are other oustanding venues too, such as the largest outdoor market in North America. There are a few places that make canelés, but I have not tried any of them; I doubt they would beat yours !

                                                                                                                            You really should visit. There are direct (6-hour) flights between SFO and Montreal, so we could well compare fresh-baked Canelés from you and Cynsa with Q's and mine.

                                                                                                                            1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                              me. too. 'When we visit friends in Vermont, I am only 90 minutes from Montreal. My brother says it's easier to fly into Montreal, and rent a car to drive to Richford, Vermont.
                                                                                                                              Note to Self: read about Montreal on the Quebec/Canada Board - the people are really nice.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                I post on that board too, and I think I am really nice as well :)

                                                                                                                                1. re: souschef

                                                                                                                                  aren't you blushing? :^)

                                                                                                                                  I am on my way to the Holodeck and will go to http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7374...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                                                    I'm too tanned for a blush to show :)

                                                                                                                                    Your link led me to "File Not Found". No such number, no such person. Return to Sender, Address Unknown.

                                                                                                                                    Let's move to the new thread.

                                                                                                              4. With over 200 posts it's time to start a new thread, here: