Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I've been vacationing in the same place by the sea in Spain since I was a child. The friends I made there as a teenager keep coming back, and as we have produced on average three children each, the crowd has become too large to convene at each others' houses. So we have picnics in the evening on the beach, which is a lovely new tradition.

This year Isabelle brought miniature cannelés. These delicacies from Bordeaux are crunchy and caramelized on the outside, and tender and custardy on the inside. When I lived in New York I sometimes used to buy one larger one for $2 at Balthazar Bakery in Soho.

About the molds
I happen to have silicone molds for cannelés, which I've never used for their intended purpose. According to some sources, only copper molds can produce the desired result. But at about 11 euros per cup, even I can't justify investing in this kind of gadget. So silicone it is.
(Some bloggers have even successfully produced cannelé-like cakes without the special molds, either silicone or copper.)
And I didn't use any beeswax to butter my molds, which apparently increases the shine and overall attractiveness of the cake. I can't believe it's really necessary.

First results are very encouraging
I'm so glad Isabelle shared this recipe with me. They're very easy to make, if you have the patience to wait 24 hours. And even though the baking time is quite long, I'm sure my cost per cannelé is much less than $2, and the taste and texture are identical if not superior to what I tasted in New York or in Paris bakeries. I haven't had the real thing from Bordeaux but I'm willing to take bets my cannelés can stand the comparison. The one thing I might fiddle with next time is reducing the quantity of butter, as they seem very rich when they're still warm.

(Now I know my brother has a weak spot for cannelés, having once dated a woman from Bordeaux... maybe this post will tempt him to come visit again soon!)

Recipe: Cannelés

Source: my friend Isabelle from the beach...
Quantity: about 12 regular canneles
For 32 (two batches of 16), multiply quantities by 2.5

(Prepare the batter 24 hours before baking the cannelés)

- ½ liter milk
- 50g butter
(I might try with less butter next time)
- 100g flour
- 200g sugar
- 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 1 TB rhum (optional, I didn't use any)
- 1 Tspn vanilla (I used a combination of vanilla extract and powdered vanilla bean, perhaps more than the suggested amount)

1. Boil the milk with the butter. (Some recipes say the milk should then be cool before mixing in with other ingredients. I didn't pay attention to its temperature)
2. Mix the flour and sugar
3. Beat the eggs and yolks and mix with flour-sugar mixture
4. Add the rhum (I didn't), then slowly whisk in the milk + butter mixture. The batter should be like a crèpe batter. If necessary, use a sieve to get rid of any lumps.
5. Add the vanilla.
6. Let the batter rest 24 hours in the fridge
7. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Fill cannelé molds with the batter, leaving almost no space at the top. If the molds are silicone, you probably don't need to butter them first. Definitely do butter them carefully if they are metal molds.
8. Place them in the oven, increase the temperature to 250°C (450°F) and bake for 15 minutes (the oven may get smoky during these first 15 minutes). Then lower the oven temperature to 180°C (355°F) and bake them for one hour if using miniature cannelé molds, 1 hour and 15 minutes for regular sized molds. They should be quite dark on the outside.
9. Unmold as soon as you take them out of the oven (or they will stick to the mold. If they do, pop them back in the oven for a few minutes), and let them cool off completely before serving (I personally don't like them warm at all, they're squishy inside...)

Update June 2008:
These freeze well: to thaw, nuke them in the microwave very briefly (about 20 seconds at fairly high power), and amazingly they come out crunchy. I've only tried this with one at a time though. Also, these make a nice gift package, see here.

* * *

(Coming next, Patrice's fig and goat cheese tart, also sampled at this picnic...)


Raul said...

good to see that you are back!!
and with a nice recipe!!
(the only thing is that special molds
are required... would it work if i use small souffle molds?)


Kai Carver said...

Nooooo!!! I need one NOW!!!

Tanya said...

Yum - these look so good. I may have to start investing in silicone molds. One question - 50g butter doesn't seem like much (only 3-4 TB), particularly since you said you might cut back. I just wanted to check that you typed it right. Can't wait to try them.

Astrid said...

Raul - Hi, thanks for checking in despite my long silence! I've never tried the cannelés in a different kind of mold, I would assume taller narrow molds are better, though you'll find links in my post to two bloggers who made cannelés in very unorthodox molds.

Kai - Sorry to torture you... But it's true I've been thinking of you as I eat these!

Tanya - Hi Tanya, you're right, 50g doesn't seem like that much, and yes, I typed it right. But I seem to recall reading one comment on a recipe that said the orginal Bordeaux recipe requires no butter. I'll have to compare various cannelés recipes to set my mind at ease about that one. Maybe they're just so moist, it's not all butter fat but also moisture. Which is why they don't seem as greasy once they're cold.

linda said...

I'm very curious about their texture...they look delicious! I was expecting cinnamon as an ingredient but that is probably because of my terrible French ;)

Tartelette said...

Glad to have you back! Life is very twilight zone somtimes: I just pulled a pan out of the oven!!I found a set of molds the other day (silicone from Orka) and for $10 I went ahead and made 2 batches...we eat them like carrots...scary!!
Beautiful creation! I ommit the beeswax also, I am not sure I like the idea of messing with it.

Claudia said...

Glad to see you back! Your Cannelés look so delicious, that I think I have to get a new mould ...

Astrid said...

Linda - Your French isn't bad at all, as "cannelle" does indeed mean cinnamon. But "cannelé" means something like fluted, referring to the shape of the mold.

Hélène - Wow, what a coincidence! So now you have the molds, you don't need to make cannelé pretenders any longer?

Claudia - Thanks, yet I'm sorry if I cause you to buy another mold. I think we food bloggers need new molds like we need holes in our heads, but what can you do, you either have the bug or you don't...

Rose said...

- Nice to see you back again Astrid. I've seen cannele before but have never made or tasted them. Yours look perfect.I'm sure your brother will be there before you say cannele.
How is the little one doing? I hope she is being a good girl, taking care of her mama.

Kai Carver said...

Yup. And they are indeed perfect.

-- the brother

Astrid said...

Rose - It's so funny you should say "I'm sure your brother will be there before you say cannele." He did indeed call within 24 or 48 hours, I forget, to announce he was coming to visit the next day (a trip of 700 km or so)! Such is the pull of cannelés...
The little one is treating me very well, she's the easiest baby I've had so far. But it's hard to find time to blog with 3 small kids!

karen said...

HI Astride!

so great to see your beautiful girls, the blogs, and your creative life! Saw your folks at Francine & Léon's last night, your mom gave me the addresses. in french countryside still, traveling, painting, and cooking. much love,Im at


Hi Astride!

I am so happy to find out your blog and I love to see your baby picture. thank you for sharing . Thank you for all your work to make this blog sso helpful. I am living in Texas and I will travel to Paris in February, 2008. Would you please help me where can I buy flour type 55 and 65 in Paris. last time in Paris, I just found type 45 only in Supermarket. Thank you very much and wait for your answer. My email


Hi Astride!

Would you please tell me what kind of flour you are using for this recipe. Alpurpose unblead flour ( in US) or flour type 45 ( in French) . Thank you very much.

Phuong Awbrey

Astrid said...

Phuong Awbrey - You can use all purpose flour for this recipe.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much... I will try with my silicon mold for cheaper price...Thanks again.


Muriel said...

I'm getting some canneles moulds for Xmas so I keep your recipe...