Canelés are French pastries made from eggs, milk, flour, butter, and sugar, and flavored with rum and vanilla. They have a soft, eggy, custardy center with a dark, thick, caramelized crust. Canelés originated in Bourdeax, France, and are traditionally made in copper molds brushed with a combination of melted butter and beeswax.
There’s a baker at the [Rittenhouse Square] farmers’ market in Philly who sells canalés. Every weekend, I walk by and admire them, but one day I decided to buy some (not sure what took me so long?). From that day forward, I couldn’t stop thinking about canelés. Crunchy and caramelized on the exterior with that quintessential custardy interior. What’s not to like?
And whenever I taste something that I enjoy, am always intrigued to make it myself. I’m curious like that. However, because I didn’t have the proper French copper molds, I’ve yet to make them. At $25 per mold (x 12 = $300), I decided that maybe I didn’t need canelés in my life quite so urgently. And that was that.
Well, that is, until one early morning when I was surfing the web and stumbled upon this youtube video. Instead of copper molds, the canelés were made in an ordinary muffin tin. Thanks John [from Food Wishes] for the inspiration.
The canelés baked in the muffin tin took on a dark, crispy exterior and custardy interior. But unlike a traditional canelé, they were more flat than tall and without those classic fluted edges. Not perfect by any means, but still tasty. I can live with that, even if they would not pass muster with French technique.
The key to achieving that nice dark exterior is brushing the molds with melted butter and beeswax. Yep, beeswax. It just so happens that the stand next to the aforementioned baker at the farmers’ market is owned and operated by a French gentleman (often accompanied by Zelda, a very friendly German Wirehaired Pointer), who sells honey and other bee-related products, including, you guessed it, beeswax.
The muffin tin option may be my gateway to future canelé endeavors. Silicone canelé molds are also an option. Although, I still have my eye on those copper molds, maybe just a few to start.
The only “downfall” is that canelés stay crispy for only about a day, so be sure to eat them quickly or, better yet, share them. It’s always nice to share.
Inspired by John at Food Wishes
makes 12 Canelé ‘Muffins’
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/8 teaspoon of fine salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsalted butter
For greasing the muffin pan:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pure food grade beeswax
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Combine the sugar, flour, egg yolks, rum, salt, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. With a rubber spatula, mix and press until it forms a paste and all the flour is incorporated.
Heat the milk and butter to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add half of the milk to the egg-flour mixture, whisking until combined. Add the remaining milk and whisk until combined (the batter will be very thin and liquidy).
Melt the butter and beeswax in a small skillet. With a pastry brush, generously brush the inside of each muffin cup with the beeswax-butter mixture. Ladle the batter into each cup, filling almost to the top.
Bake at 450F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375F and continue to bake until well-browned, about 50 additional minutes. Let rest 5 minutes and then use a small offset spatula to remove the canelés from the muffin tin. Enjoy!