Forget the cronut, it's all about the canelé


  It was on the narrow streets surrounding Quartier Saint Pierre in Bordeaux, France that I fell in love. Amidst the myriad of cheeses, silky beef bourguignons and the roast chicken riddled bistros, I found my one true significant culinary other. the canelé (alternate spelling: cannelés)

Made from a crepe like batter infused with vanilla and rum, then poured into copper cylindrical moulds and baked at fisson inducing temperatures, they are crunchy on the outside while custardy, soft and sensual on the inside.

It’s the pastry equivalent of taking you up in a hot air balloon, landing you in a forest full of flowers, and reading to you the funniest and saddest story in a voice as soft as rain. It is without doubt my most favourite, most lusted after confection.

And the best bit, amidst the glitz of macarons and pain au chocolats, is the absence of trimmings. The canelé is simple and earnest and while it might require beeswax, special fluted moulds and at times determination of uber-foodie proportions, I implore you to try them. For the diligent baker, the pay off is spectacular…


The copper moulds are difficult to get your hands on, but there is a silicon version available at specialty baking/kitchen stores that still offers a good result.



Makes 20

You will need to start this recipe one day ahead

500ml milk (full fat please)

2 1/2 tbsp butter, chopped

1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped

100g (3/4 cup) plain (low-protein) flour, sifted

Pinch salt

170g caster sugar

3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (super fresh) lightly whisked

1/3 cup good quality rum



Combine the milk, butter and vanilla in a medium saucepan, and bring to a simmer, add the sugar and stir until dissolved then set aside. Add the rum.

Add the flour and salt to a bowl. Pour over the whisked egg and milk mixture, (remove the vanilla pod if you kept in the milk for flavour) and stir. Let cool to room temperature then add to a pouring jug, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. (Some chefs leave the batter for up to 3 days).

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Butter the canelé moulds if they are made of copper (unnecessary if you're using silicon molds). Remove the batter from the fridge, it will have separated, so stir gently until well blended again. Pour the batter into the moulds until ¾ full. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200° C and bake for another 20 – 40 minutes (40 will result in a very dark brown caramel crust). Turn out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before eating. Best eaten on the day of making.


5 comments so far

  • I OD'd on these over the weekend, all in the name of Bastille day..... any excuse to eat these divine little morsels!!!! Thanks for the recipe will buy some moulds and make my own!!!

    Date and time
    July 17, 2013, 8:41AM
    • We tried these for the first time on the weekend and loved them. Very excited at the thought of making them ourselves thanks to the recipe. Now just to wait until the moulds arrive in the mail.

      Date and time
      July 17, 2013, 3:10PM
      • I just saw these today at the city market and wondered what they were. Then I see this article this afternoon. I'll definately go back next week and try them or make them myself.

        Date and time
        July 17, 2013, 3:52PM
        • Bizarre. Japan had the brainless macaron fad before us.... but before that, they had a brainless canele fad. How odd that we should get the same brainless fads in a different order!!

          Date and time
          July 17, 2013, 4:27PM
          • These were being touted as "the new macarons" about 2 years ago - but the ones I've tried have been boring and bland. Probably why they've been sidelined for Cronuts without a second glance

            Date and time
            July 17, 2013, 10:15PM

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