Canelés (Cannelés) de Bordeaux – the recipe, the madness, the method

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Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.” – William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

Yes indeed there is, and it nearly drove me mad on the way to it. If you followed me on Twitter or Facebook, you couldn’t have missed the past few weeks of furious ravings, fleeting triumphs, and befuddled exasperations. Yes, I have been working on the famously fickle canelé (sometimes also spelled cannelés). And not just any canelé, mind you, but the Perfect Canelé. The one that has the perfectly, evenly baked crust the color of mahogany, perfectly, darkly caramelized but without even a hint of burnt. The one that’s crisp and shiny from just the right application of beeswax (yes, that’s what I said), contrasted with the creamy, custardy, sweetly addictive interior. The perfect canelé is what a crème brûlée wants to be when it grows up.

No, I wasn’t inventing a new recipe for it. And I surely didn’t invent the pastry itself. The Bordelais did it ages ago. Though how exactly it came about is still subject to debate. In fact even the name, and how many n’s precisely in the correct spelling is subject to passionate debate. I could recount the whole story, but I know you could google just as well as I do. So why don’t you just go read it yourself over at Wikipedia?

If you’re looking for a canelé recipe, the interweb is littered with them. Blogs have done it. Chow made a video about a search for one. The Chowhounds got a madness-inducing yet oddly mesmerizing thread on it. So did the discussion forum eGullet. Paula Wolfert, who could be called the goddess of the canéles herself, has a SIX-page recipe on it in her fabulous book The Cooking of Southwest France. She also generously published a truncated version of it on her website. My personal God of All Things Pastry Pierre Hermé has no fewer than three recipes published in his various books, including one made of chocolate (in his chocolate book with another one of my favorite authors Dorie Greenspan.) You could even watch a French (French-Canadian?) pastry chef make the canelés on YouTube. Though frankly judging from the results at the end of the video I wouldn’t recommend it.

The problem is, not one, none of it, worked for me reliably and perfectly. Not even when I followed each to the letter. Canelés are famously tricky to make, but it’s not until I tried that I realized how befuddling they truly were. All the recipes are deceptively simple, and not even that different from one another. Basically a sort of custard made of scalded milk, eggs, sugar, flour, and flavored with vanilla and rum, which is then bake in special tin-lined copper molds made specifically for the pastry.

One rather odd recipe, originally attributed to Michel Roux then later to Nick Malgieri, calls for condensed milk and milk powder, which made me suspect that it’d been created during a rather lean time in France, the war perhaps? Living now in time of abundance, I prefer fresh and less processed ingredients. I gave it a try anyway, just for the sake of research. It turns out pretty canelés, though strangely cakey rather than properly custardy. I also didn’t particularly like the flavor, so that was the end of that. Now I need to figure out what to do with all this non-fat milk powder I have left over!

The problem I had with the rest of the recipes was not so much the flavor. How could you go wrong with milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and especially the rum? But it’s in the consistency of the baking. I had the darnest time trying to produce the “perfect” canelés every time. The problems are also not recipe specific. I’ve had the same “soufflé” problem, for example, on pretty much all the recipes I tried – that’s when the batter expands too much during baking that it rises up and out of the molds, only to collapse into a royal mess the oven.

So I began to focus more on the method rather than the recipe. I tried changing the eggs to equal amount in yolks only, but found the results too eggy to my taste. Belinda, the pastry chef at Manresa cautioned me not to whisk the batter, despite what most recipes said. That made a huge difference, I now stir, and very gently. By accident I also discovered that even the age of the eggs made a difference. In the end, I settled on a slight adaptation of the ingredient proportions in one of Pierre Hermé’s published recipe, but tweaked the process rather heavily, borrowing from Paula Wolfert’s sage advice and also from that maddening Chowhound thread.

Perhaps the toughest part to work on was the heat. I found that baking at a very long period at a very high temperature produced canelés that were so burnt the crust was practically carbonized. Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with different variables, producing canelés in all shades of a rainbow, making so many befuddling mistakes it drove me to the brink of insanity. But I stuck with it. Whether it was stubbornness or madness, I stuck with it. And you know what, I got it. Finally. Allow me a minute to bask in my own personal glory. C’est moi qui l’ai fait!

I’m going to try and explain my method to you the best I could. And let me warn you I’ll be wordy. This is going to be my Pad Thai for Beginners tutorial all over again. And just like the Pad Thai recipe, I hope that this canelé recipe will prove to be useful to just as many of you.

So, are you ready to give it a try? I hope I haven’t scared you off from making canelés all together. Really, please don’t. As you could see success is entirely possible! Just do it!

Let’s begin with a few important things you need to keep in mind in your quest for the perfect canalé.

1. The molds – from copper to silicone

One of the characteristics of the perfect canelé is the stark contrast between the crisp, caramelized, evenly dark crust and the custardy interior. The best way to achieve this is with tin-lined copper molds that are made specifically for canelés. There is no two way about it, if what you’re after is the perfect canalé, the copper mold is the way to go.

Unfortunately, saying the copper molds are not cheap would be an understatement. In Europe they are about £10 each. In the US, Amazon sells them at about $20. Whether they’re worth it is entirely up to you. But if you’re going to invest in copper molds, the one I recommend is made by Matfer Bourgeat, a French company – hey it’s a French pastry! Also matter here is the size, I go for the original, about a little over 2 inch in diameter on top, and 2 inch height. I find that this particular size is the best for crisp crust:custardy crumb contrast. Please remember that the copper molds will need to be cured before the first use. (See below for more info on the cure and care of copper molds.)

What about some alternatives if you’re not ready to sell your first born for the copper molds? I have seen people bake canelé in a ring mold or even mini muffin molds. They’re probably fine, but I would miss the fluted shape of the proper canelé. I think the best alternative is the silicone canelé molds. Yes, there I said it: silicone molds are indeed fine. You will not get the perfect canelé you’re after, but if you do it properly, you can come pretty damned close to it. During my canelé madness I tested a couple of different silicone mold brands and came up with one I like and the method that gives the best, most consistent results. This is an interesting enough process to warrant a post on its own.

2. The beeswax

I was lenient with you about the molds. Though I much prefer copper, I find silicone perfectly acceptable. But you know what? I’m not budging on the beeswax. You need it. If you want to make proper canelés, with or without copper molds, you’ll need beeswax. It’s what gives the canelés their special mahogany shine and crispness. It also adds a special flavor – more than one friends I’ve shared my canelés with asked if they’re made with honey. So, to me it’s absolutely important that you use it. Without it, you could be baking something entirely delicious, but it sure ain’t canelé.

Beeswax are not that hard to find really. Next time you go to a farmers market, ask the honey seller there. Even if she doesn’t have it on display I bet she has some she could sell you. If you don’t have easy access to a farmers market this winter, call up a local honey producer in your area. Or you could always order it online. One of my local producers Marshall Farms up in Napa sells their beeswax online. In the New York metro area, Andrew’s Local Honey sells food-grade beeswax at a number of farmers market. (Unfortunately he doesn’t ship. If you East Coasters have a good source that ships, I’ll be happy to list them here, just leave the info in the comment section. Thanks.) Also, Tremblay Apiaries, who sell at the Union Square Green Market on Fridays and Saturdays, and also offer it online.

I use a 1:1 ratio of beeswax to butter to coat my copper (and even silicone) molds. Some recipes will have you use a neutral oil like Canola or even clarified butter. I use butter anywhere I could get away with, so I prefer butter here. I find that if you’re making just enough beewax/butter coating for your batch of canelés, there’s no need to bother clarifying the butter first. If you’re going to make a large quantity of the coating to keep for future batches as well, then perhaps clarifying the butter first to get rid of the butter solids will make your coating last longer.

Another important thing is the thickness -or the thinness rather- of the coating on the mold. Don’t be all like, yo I got me some beeswax so I’m gonna use it! You want to be very judicious with it, you don’t want a canelé with a coating of beeswax so thick it sticks to the roof of your mouth. Yes that happens. No it’s not fun.

The best way to achieve the optimal coating on the copper molds is to warm the molds a little first. Hot beeswax+butter mixture seize up quickly on a cold mold, creating a coating that’s far too thick. So, warm the molds first. Then, rather than brushing the wax on, a process I found gave thick, uneven coating, I pour in the hot wax mixture, then pour it out and invert the mold over a wire rack set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment to drip off the excess. This is so you could reclaim the precious beeswax to use again.

3. Air is your enemy

If you’re making a soufflé, air would be your friend. For canelés however, you really need to be careful not to incorporate too much air in the batter. In the beginning I didn’t think it would be a problem, there’s so much liquid (milk) in the batter I didn’t think I could work that much air into it. But now I know better. I process the entire batter by incorporate as little air as possible. That means stir and never whisk, and do it as gently as possible.

4. The temperature problem

If there’s such a thing as the god of temperature, you should make a tribute to her/him right now. There isn’t one? Ok, how about Hestia, the goddess of the hearth?

Temperature is such a key thing with canelés, to get the proper dark mahogany crust, you’ll need to hit it first with super high heat. I do it at 450F (230C), then I lower the heat (to 375F or 190C) to gently finish the cooking, keeping the interior moist and custardy while producing the characteristic canelé crust.

You also need to pay attention to the temperature of the molds and the batter. Following Paula’s advice, I keep mine cold, cold, cold. After giving them the wax coating I put the molds in the freezer to chill out for a while. When it’s time to fill them, I pull out my cold batter, fill, then bake immediately in the super hot oven.

And herein lies a problem. Twelve frozen copper canelé molds filled with cold batter totally kill my wimpy oven. Every. Damned. Time. I checked the temperature in the oven and it dropped drastically after the molds went in. And my wimpy home oven took its sweet time cycling the heat back up. This contributed to the soufflé problem too, as the batter expands too much when the heat is not high enough, then either collapses down around the molds making a grand mess, or collapses back into the mold itself, resulting in squat, or shall we say height-challenged, canelés. Imperfect air circulation also means that you’ll have to bake the canelés longer to get the dark crust, resulting in the interior that’s a bit too cakey and not custardy enough in my opinion.

To fix this problem, I preheat my oven at 475F, then when the frozen molds go in I reduce the heat down to 450F. Then after 15 minutes I lower it again to 375F, and continue to bake until finished. This is still not perfect, I just don’t think my oven has good enough air circulation to consistently produce perfect 12-canelé batch, so now I’m only doing 6 at a time. If your oven is better than mine, then please feel free to do the big 12 batch, but if you run into the same problems I do, then try a smaller batch. That works better and more consistently for me.

5. The resting period

Every recipe asks you to rest your batter. Some says overnight, some says a few hours. From my experience, I get the most consistent results when my batter has rested at least 36 hours, and the best results when the batter has rested a full 48-hour period. Yes, as in TWO DAYS. Let me just tell you that I have all the patience of a Central Park squirrel on Four Loco, so when I tell you you need 48 hours, people, you need 48 hours, ok?

Ok, now you’re ready for the recipe. Have fun!

Canelés de Bordeaux

The ingredients are adapted from Pierre Hermé’s recipe from Patisserie of Pierre Hermé

  • 500g | 2 cups | 50cl whole milk
  • 50g | 3.5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 vanilla bean or 3-4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100g | 3/4 cup +1 tablespoon AP (Plain) flour
  • 250g | 2 cups (unsifted) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (use a little less if table salt)
  • 2 large eggs (Use the freshest eggs you could find, they make a difference.)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup rum

This amount makes about 20 canneles.

Make the batter – 2 days before you plan to bake the canelés.

Place the milk, butter, and vanilla bean (that you cut in half and scrape the seeds into the pot) over medium heat and bring to a boil. If you want to be precise it should be 183F. Remove from heat and let cool down while you get to the other ingredients. (If you’re using vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean, just add the extract with the rum later.)

Measure and then sift together the flour, powder sugar and salt.

Stir the eggs and yolks together with a fork, don’t beat. I find it easier to pass the eggs+yolks through a strainer right into the dry ingredients. That way I don’t have to beat much air into the eggs at all. If you think this is crazy you can just pour the slightly beaten eggs into it and be done.

When the milk/butter/vanilla mixture is just a bit warm but not so hot – 120F or so, or cool enough to stick your finger in it and keep it there a few seconds without burning yourself – remove the vanilla bean halves. Don’t throw them away though, instead put them in another bowl of about the same size. Pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl containing the dry ingredients, and gently stir together until well-blended. You’ll see plenty of lumps in the batter, but that’s fine for now.

Strain the lumpy batter (over a fine-mesh strainer) into the bowl you put the vanilla bean in earlier, pressing the lumps through until you get a totally lump-free batter. Add the rum and stir until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (no need to press the plastic right over the surface of the batter) and place in the fridge to rest for 48 hours. If you can remember it, stir it once after 24 hours and put it back in the fridge to continue to rest.

Coat the molds – 1 to 2 hr before you plan to bake
  • 40g | 1.5oz  beeswax, cut into small chunks (using a hot knife will make your life easier)
  • 40g | 1.5oz | 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks

Turn the oven on and set it to 475F (250C). Place the canelé  molds on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, the place the baking sheet in the oven.

Meanwhile, melt the beeswax in a very small pot over very low heat. Do this slowly and don’t let it burn. If you’re worried about the heat on your stovetop you could also do this on a bain marie. When the beeswax is fully melted, remove the pan from heat and add the butter chunks. The residual heat from melting the beeswax should be enough to melt the butter. If not just pass the pan quickly over the heat again. Shake the pan or stir to blend the wax and butter until homogenous.

By the time your beeswax/butter mixture is ready the molds should be warm enough. Remove the baking sheet with the (now warm) molds from the oven. Take another baking sheet, this time line it with a piece of parchment paper and place a wire rack on top of it. Find a sturdy pair of kitchen tongs and keep it at a ready.

To coat the first mold, pick it up with a pair of tongs and place on the wire rack, pour the hot beeswax/butter mixture into it. Then pour beeswax/butter mixture back into the pan, shaking to remove the excess, and place the mold upside-down over the wire rack to drip of the excess. Then start the same process again with the next mold, then the next, until you’re done coating all your molds. Remember you could reclaim the excess beeswax/butter mixture from the parchment lined baking sheet if you’re running low on the wax mixture. Just scoop it back into the pot and pass it over the heat again quickly until it’s melted.

This is a bit of a delicate balance so you might have to do it a few times to get it right. The mold has to be just warm enough to let the wax coat without lathering it on thick. If the mold is too warm, the wax won’t stick. In this case, let it cool a bit and pour the hot wax mixture in again. If the mold is too cold, the wax will coat too thick. You’ll just have to put the mold back in the oven to melt the thick coating of the wax and then recoat it properly with a new layer of wax. While your’e doing this if the beeswax/butter mixture get too cold it will solidify, so just pass the pot back over the heat until it’s melted again. Easy enough, yes?

This whole thing sounds a little complicated, but it isn’t. It’s just a delicate balance you’ll quickly learn. Just make sure your wax coating looks like the correct one in the picture, and you’re good! I find a good pair of kitchen tongs does the job very well, but you could also use a pair of heat-proof gloves instead if you find the tongs a little too unwieldy. Just make sure you don’t try it with your bare hands.

When you’re done coating all the molds, put them in the freezer and let rest at least 1 hour before you bake.

Also, remove the resting batter from the fridge, the batter will have settled and separated a bit. Give it a gentle but thorough stir until the batter is again homogenous. Make sure you scoop all the way down to the bottom to get the batter that’s settled down there to reincorporate with the rest. Cover the bowl and put it back in the fridge.

Line another baking sheet, this time with aluminum foil, place it on the middle rack in the oven to preheat.

If you have any beeswax/butter mixture left, remelt it and pour it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any bits. You can keep it to add to your next round of canelé-making fun.

Bake the canelés – 1.5 to 5 hours before you plan to serve

Make sure the oven has been preheated at least 30 minutes to get to the right temperature.

Take the batter out of the fridge, and give it a stir once again, very gently but thoroughly. I find it easier to ladle some of the batter into a Pyrex liquid measuring cup and then use that to pour the batter into each mold. So that’s what I recommend. Refill the Pyrex cup as needed.

Remove the molds from the freezer, fill each one (all 12 if you think your oven can handle it, or just 6 at a time if your oven is as wimpy as mine) up to about 1cm or 1/2 inch to the top.

Remove the (now hot) baking sheet lined with aluminum foil that has been pre-heated in the oven and place it on the counter or the unlit stovetop. Arrange the molds at about equal intervals over it  - directly over the sheet and not on a wire rack. Place the baking sheet back on the middle rack in the oven. Immediately turn the heat down to 450F.

Set your timer to 15 minutes. About half way through the 15-minute period, turn the baking sheet once to ensure even baking.

At the end of the 15-minute period, turn the heat down to 375F (190C), set the timer to 45 minutes and turn the baking sheet again once. Every 15 minutes or so, open the oven door to turn the baking sheet once.

The canelé batter will rise up over the molds, but only slightly. If you see the massive poufs like the picture above under the heading “Air is your enemy”, you’re hosed. So, keep an eye on your canelés as they are baking, especially around the first 10-20 minutes. If you see that they’re puffing up way too much and about to get out of control, don’t despair, take the whole baking sheet out of the oven and put it outside for a few minutes, the poufs should calm down and settle back into the molds. You could very gently squeeze each one with a pair of tongs to help it along. When the batter settles back into the molds, put them back in the oven to continue baking. (Make sure you pause the timer when the molds are outside the oven and restart it when you put it back so you could keep track of the actual baking time.)

Your canelés should be done after baking at 375F for 45 minutes – give or take a few. If you’re unsure, just check it. About the 40-minute mark is usually good. Remove one mold and tap it upside-down to let out the canelé. If the crust is the desired color then you should be good. Give it a gentle squeeze too, the canelé should give a little, you should be able to feel that the inside is wobbly and custardy. Cut or break one in half to check the inside just to be sure. Whatever you do, don’t bake until it’s totally harden even when still hot, that’s would be far too much and you’ll get over-cooked canelés in the end. Not good.

I must say something here about the color of the crust. Yes, it is desirable to have a shiny, dark mahogany crust, but it should not be burnt. What you want is a perfectly caramelized rather than carbonized crust. Get it? For some reason there seems to be a general belief (especially here in the US) that the crust of the perfect canelés should be very, very dark, even burnt or bitter. That’s all well and good if that’s your thing. But it’s not my thing. I find the taste of carbon rather unpalatable. So, if I were you I would err on the side of slightly lighter exterior in favor of a custardy, perfectly wobbly interior and not a hint of carbon in the flavor.

I should also tell you, despite your best efforts, you will occasionally get the fault known – rather poetically – as the “white ass”. That’s when you have a pale spot or two, generally around the top (or the bottom when the mold is right-side up) of the canelés. This is nothing to commit seppuku over. It’ll happen. It’ll be fine. Just eat the evidence and don’t let anyone see.

So, now, when all your canelés bake up just as perfectly as you want them, remove the baking sheet from the oven. With a pair of tongs or a glove, pick up a mold, turn it upside-down and tap it gently, your canelé should fall right out. Let them cool down a bit over a wire rack before you chomp into them or you’ll be sorry. The canelés are at their perfectest perfect within a few hours after they’re out of the oven. They’re still good long after that, but the crust will soften and so they won’t be at their best any longer than that.

There you have it. The method that gives me the best and most consistently perfect canelés. I’m pretty sure I told you everything in the clearest possible way, but feel free to leave a comment here if you have any question. And yes, I promise you I’ll post the how-to post for the silicone molds tomorrow!

*How to cure and care for copper cannelé molds

Paula Wolfert has a great advice on how to cure copper molds before you use them for the first time. Go read it and follow her instructions. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Most recipes will tell you never to wash the molds between use. I don’t wash mine either, but I hate the sticky films that develop after a few uses, so I’ve taken to rubbing the molds with a warm, wet cloth to gently scrub out the stuck-on bits and excess wax. Then I thoroughly dry the molds before I put them away between use. This way my molds are not sticky and gross, and frankly I’ve not had any problem with the molds sticking during baking despite the contact with the wet towel.

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  • http://www.samanthatackeff.com Sam

    Huzzah! Well done!

  • Anonymous

    Very well done! I predict this post will become *the* bible for canele’s. I love that you provided plenty of links and specific recommendations. A lot of people beat around the bush because they are afraid of making a stern recommendation. I’d rather be ushered in a certain direction.

    I know this will be considered heresy but the frozen caneles from Trader Joe’s are quite delicious!

  • Jinhua

    I’ve got two copper molds, beeswax and a DeBuyer mold. I am ready to go. Thank you for this excellent tutorial. I look forward to several weekends of trial and error. My new counter top convection oven will be perfect for this.

  • Sophistimom

    Wow. So much effort, but they look so good. Thank you for breaking it down for us.

  • Barbara | VinoLuciStyle

    Oh my…something more complicated than and equally sensitive as macarons? I think I’ll enjoy your’s from afar as I’m not likely to pop that much money per mold. But loved your process, imperfections and all along the way!

  • Jen H

    These look amazing! I need to get me some molds and some beeswax and have a go. Thanks!

  • christine

    wow, amazing! I will go on happily buying my canneles, but this was a wonderful read.

  • Lippy

    I’m so glad you did this so I don’t have to (as much as I love this little pastry!)

  • Belinda @zomppa

    These are so adorable and gorgeous!! I love it…I’d love to have some for dessert tonight.

  • Maria

    I LOVE these things and did my own quest about a year ago. I passed on the special tins ( I used popover tins) and I must admit omitted the beeswax and felt that the results were fairly acceptable without the bother or expense of going the whole hog. It was great to read about your quest and I think I am going to go for it and try to make them properly. One suggestion: Try putting a wooden spoon in the door of your oven. Apparently this acts as some type of mechanism that turns a non-convection oven into a convection one (since air circulation seemed to be an issue in your post.)

  • Valerie

    Thank you for posting the recipe with such detailed instructions and explanations! I wish each recipe in my cookbooks is like yours, despite the fact that each cookbook will be as thick as a dictionary… I have one question about the recipe. You posted “100g | 2 cups | 50cl whole milk” as the amount of milk needed. And I would think that 2 cups / 50 cl is much more than 100g. Do we need 100g of milk or 2 cups of milk?

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thanks Valerie. and thanks for pointing out the typo too. I fixed it!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Someone on that Chowhound thread I linked to also used popover pans. You’re not that person are you? I’d love the see a picture of your popover canelés, do you have a link?

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Not tonight, you have to wait 48 hours, remember? ;-)

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thank you, but please, don’t let me deter you from trying. You’re a wonderful cook, you can do it!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Try it with the silicone molds. They turn out delicious canelés too.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Awesome! I look forward to seeing the results. I’m sure you’ll get it on the first try!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    That is too sweet of you. Thanks!

    I’ve heard about the Trader Joe’s canelés. I think I might just need to give them a try.

  • Rachel at Tasty Thailand

    Not a fan of these (although yours look nice!). Too fiddly to make, for me, and the taste really wasn’t anything spectacular, not with so many other lovely things to choose to make. Love your pictures though :)

  • http://devousamoi-dominique.blogspot.com/ Dominique (De vous à moi…)

    I love cannelés: I allways buy some when I’m in Bordeaux, especially Baillardran’s. I have the copper molds, but not the secret of the beeswax! Thank you Pim, it was a nightmare to clean the molds after baking! Thank you for all the tips. I made a post about cannelés on my blog two years ago, but I baked them with silicone mold… I’ll try your version!
    http://devousamoi-dominique.blogspot.com/2009/04/canneles-de-bordeaux.html

  • http://twitter.com/My_Delicious Just My Delicious

    I`ve never eaten this but looks so delicious!

  • gummi baby

    I have a newfound respect for this sweet treat, who knew what it took to make the perfect canele? And I don’t even eat eggs! : D P.S. I love the shot of the egg making a yin yang with the flour!

  • Alex

    great piece. you may want to put your batter in a large container wrapped in plastic wrap and run it in a chamber vacuum machine to expedite the hydration of the flour and trim your wait time to 15-20 minutes. sure you need a chamber vacuum machine, but everyone has one now, don’t they?

  • HillaryDavisFoodBlog

    I followed your journey on Facebook and now am so enjoying reading this post. It was thorough and brilliant and I’m going to print it out and keep it so that I can make them when my molds arrive! Thank you Pim!!!!!

  • http://simmerdownfood.com noëlle {simmer down!}

    This goes to show that I have a much more savory than sweet palate, but when you wondered what to do with all the leftover milk powder, the first thing I thought of was sausages! (Granted, you’d have to make a LOT of sausage to use it all…)

    Never had cannelés when I lived in France, what a shame.

  • http://marcsala.blogspot.com/ Marc

    Very interesting. I don’t have much interest in baking these but love to read about the process of recipe refinement.

    To get a bigger blast of heat at the beginning of baking, have you thought of preheating a baking stone on an adjacent shelf and then removing it when you turn down the temperature? That stone will store heat during the preheat and be a source of heat for the newly introduced canneles. Then, by (carefully) removing the stones, you’ll reduce the heat provided to the canneles during the rest of the baking period.

  • http://www.namthip.com Thip

    Well done, Pim!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MarketDayCanele Gaetano X

    Your canele look nice bud. But I’m wondering why you consider yourself an authority?

    We bake thousands of canele a week and practice does make perfect. It all seems so time consuming and complex but once you get the knack it’s a very simple and speedy operation.

    You are mistaken regarding the necessity of copper molds to make a “perfect canele” . I wonder how you made this pronouncement after making a few dozen canele in a non-professional oven? Also as far as resting batter, canele differ only slightly when rested from at least 12 hours to as much as 4 days. I say this because we generally make 5 or 6 batches of 4 gallons each and they get various resting periods. The results are in general superb and indistinguishable.

    Also your air is the enemy theory is misplaced. The problem with over puffy or toppling over canele is air but it’s not air from mixing it’s air as a result of the batter heating rapidly. The problem, in my view, is from too cool an oven and an oven that does not hold temp very well.

    http://phillymarketcafe.blogspot.com/2011/01/canele-tomorrow.html

  • http://twitter.com/MarketDayCanele Gaetano X

    Just one other point:

    “Hot beeswax+butter mixture seize up quickly on a cold mold, creating a coating that’s far too thick. So, warm the molds first.” NO

    The beeswax and butter mixture does not require any real exactitude. The mixture should be hot but no hotter than a medium bain marie. It is not critical that the mixture be precisely deployed into the mold. When the mold heats up with the batter inside it is not absorbed into the batter but rather it turns into a film glazing the inside of the mold. Brushing the very warm mixture into the mold with a silicone pastry brush is an excellent technique. Warming the molds…..no that is unnecessary.

  • Heather

    No offense intended, Gaetano, but I would much rather eat Pim’s canelés than yours, based on your photo. I don’t think I’d consider you an authority either.

  • http://twitter.com/MarketDayCanele Gaetano X

    Heather I apologize if I hurt anyone’s feelings. While it is sweet of you to defend your friend it is asinine for you to tell us who’s canele you prefer w/o ever tasting one.

    How does one become an “authority”….. I’m not sure about that but i’m pretty sure no one in the United states bakes and sells more canele than me.

    http://phillymarketcafe.blogspot.com/2010/01/canele-de-bordeaux.html

  • Caneleshater

    Hi Gaetano,

    That picture there…is it from batch one, day one when you started practicing? Because I think in the bakeries I’ve seen, the browning is uniform, not at the top and bottom like yours. I mean, I appreciate you’re trying to help and all, but Pim did say she had a temp problem with her oven…and she kinda addresses how she overcame that to make evenly browned canelés… Not trying to pick on you because I don’t even like canelés to begin with, but you can’t knock hers when we don’t have an image of yours that is commensurate with your seeming expertise!

  • OakCook

    So we must assume that the underbaked and the burned, all in one batch, come with years of expertise!

  • http://twitter.com/MarketDayCanele Gaetano X

    Guys,

    A great use of blogs and the internet in general is to share info and and learn. I’m stating that her techniques and her theory are wrong on a few points. This is not my opinion. It’s a fact.

    Whether canele look evenly browned is not of the utmost importance. Before you go off on me do a little research. Check Clothilde at Chocolate and Zucchini or FX cuisine. Take a look at Baillardran or la-toque-cuivree. You are clearly out of your depth and seem to be speaking from bitter beach.

    My motivation for posting was to point out a few errors. I admit it does get my goat when someone makes a few experiments and then produces a (misinformed) online tutorial on the subject.

    All your blabber defending the poster is as idiotic as your phony moniker. She is just learning and you guys are speaking out of school.

  • Heather

    I actually don’t know Pim personally, I just read her blog. I don’t think its asinine to say I would choose to eat her pastry and not yours, based on its appearance. Appearance is important in pastry, and can correlate with taste!

    Congratulations on selling lots of canelés. If I decide to make them, I’ll be looking to Pim for help.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    All due respect and all that, but frankly if I wanted my canelés to look like yours I would follow your method.

    As with other posts in my blog, all I’m doing is documenting my process and my method. I never claim to have the only valid recipe in the world. I’m just saying this is the recipe and method and work best and most consistently for me. I’m documenting it here for my own future use and for my readers.

  • HV

    Such attitude! Really unnecessary.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Too much wax on the molds leave to thick a film of wax on the crust. That’s when you get that thin film that sticks to the top of your mouth. That might be your thing, but it sure isn’t mine.

    The best coating method I found from my experiments is documented in the post. I’m sure there are other ways to do it, but again this is the one that works best for me.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    So far you’re the only one calling others names and being offensive. I don’t mind a cordial discussion, but yours don’t quite qualify.

    A great use of blogs and the internet in general is to share information, yes. It’s also great that people can read what we write and post and then judge for themselves. I’ll let my readers read what I offer here and what you offer on your blog and let them make the judgement.

    I never claim, by the way, that this is the ONLY way to make canelés. If yours work for you, fine, this is the process that works for me, so I wrote it up. On my blog.

    By the way, you might want to learn how to spell Clotilde’s name properly. This is not my opinion, it’s a fact.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thanks. Now you must teach me to make proper macarons!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Hmm…that sounds interesting Marc. Unfortunately I don’t have a baking stone… :-(

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    LOL.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Yay! And please come back to post a link so we can see yours!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Ha, that sounds like what you would recommend, yes? Got a chamber vacuum machine to spare? I’ll come pick it up when you guys thaw out in Spring.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Yours don’t look bad at all. Try with the beeswax, I’m sure you’ll love it.

  • http://twitter.com/MarketDayCanele Gaetano X

    Yikes !!!

    You’re canele are likely as salty and bitter as your reaction. Speaking of salt I think you meant to say unsalted butter in your recipe.

  • http://griyamobilkita.blogspot.com sewa mobil

    Very nice, thanks for the information.

  • http://twitter.com/BaconSatan Bacon Satan

    Is it time for Michael Symon from the Food Netowrk’s “Food Fueds” show to step in and decide whose Canelé reign supreme?

  • http://grongar.wordpress.com Rebecca

    Thanks for the great post and drool-worthy pictures! I’m looking forward to making a fresh batch of canelés this weekend to test out your recipe and techniques. I’m particularly interested in seeing the difference with using butter (vs. the white oil mixture I’ve used from Paula Wolfert’s recipe).

    My obsession with canelés started a couple years ago. If you’re interested, you can read my posts about discovering, and then learning to make them, here:

    http://grongar.wordpress.com/2008/06/27/the-real-deal/
    http://grongar.wordpress.com/2008/07/09/in-the-final-analysis/

  • Manthri Srinath

    Gaetano, I understand that you’ve got strong opinions on this subject, but it’s a bit over the top to come on to someone else’s food blog and rant about the opinions of the blogger, uninvited. As a guest, it seems like you’d be a bit more circumspect. I’d be sympathetic if she was knocking your canelé, but she’s not. She’s just sharing her experience.

    By the way, I had some of her canelé, and they were fantastic. I know nothing about making them, but I am a minor expert on eating them, having done so with some regularity for the past 30 years, for what that’s worth.

    On the subject of knocking your canelé, I’ve got to say that, judging from your photograph, they look unruly and undisciplined. If they were a platoon of Marines, they’d likely be court-martialled, taken out back and shot at dawn.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    I love it! I love the part when you said you did a little dance. I think I did a tiny one too. It’s fun wasn’t it? Cracking the canelé code?

    Have you posted the recipe you used on your blog? I’d love to see how yours work.

    cheers, and thanks for leaving the links so I could check them out!
    Pim

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Ha ha bring it on brother.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Why thank you Manthri for being so chivalrous! I see more canelés coming your way. (Not that I paid him to say this or anything, guys, ok?)

    On the other hand you’re feeding the troll though. I did too, but I’m not going to anymore.

  • Caneleshater

    Gaetano

    I happen to hate Caneles. It’s not a phony moniker. At any rate, as home baker (note HOME BAKER), I do understand a wee bit about what the aesthetics of a finished product say about what went into making it. For example, the -extra- comment you went to the effort to make about the beeswax. If that’s what contributes to the browning, then yes, it is clear from your explanation that to you it doesn’t matter how you put it in there and in fact you do not exercise caution when doing so, because your caneles are browned at the bottom and the top. Pim says for HER she likes the evenly browned crust, and therefore she has devised a system that will enable her to achieve that effect. Why you feel compelled to criticize that, I’m not sure– Your system produces unevenly browned caneles, and you say that’s ok. Her system produces evenly browned caneles, and that’s what she’s after.

    As for the rest, I’m sure you were just trying to be helpful, and none of us know you, so we have interpreted your words with our own filter. So no need to get all bunged up and and bent out of shape when people get a bit turned off. I’m sure you could have said the same content, like “Thank you for sharing your trials Pim! I make 1000 caneles a day, and here are a few steps I have learned that I also wanted to share here on the thread” Instead of making it antagonistic.

    JUST A THOUGHT

  • http://limecake.net LimeCake

    These are so incredibly beautiful, but not something I’d ever think to make on my own. Such pretty little moulds too. You’re very brave to ‘tackle’ these!

  • Riya

    Thanks for posting. I have been waiting for ages to read more posts of yours. This post is a little different though (I mean – it, somehow, reminds me of Jeffrey Steingarten.)

    I really enjoy reading it (very educational & informative) and I always love your unique & charming style of writing.

  • Malik
  • Darlene

    Thank you soooo much for including a how-to on the silicone molds. I was almost going to give up on them and get copper molds! Will be making your batter recipe tonight.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    And please do come back to let us know how it turns out for you? Bonne chance and bon appetit!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thank you. How sweet of you!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Well, I could focus my “disorder” on something like this or I could be outside counting cracks on the sidewalk. Ha.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Well, I could focus my “disorder” on something like this or I could be outside counting cracks on the sidewalk. Ha.

  • Maureen

    The timing of this entry is perfect as I was about to give my silicone molds away. Thank you so much for your hard work and wonderful explanations. It is worth trying again. I love caneles.

    If you don’t have a stone for your oven, head for Home Depot and buy a couple of large red clay floor tiles. That is what I have done. It is considerably cheaper and works as well. Mine stay in the oven permanently as it keeps the heat in my old oven at a more even temperature.

    Good job. Loved the post.

  • Bijoumarte

    who cares, shes sharing her experience and her technique…her recipe …..even if shes just learning. I think maybe you need to do some volunteer work
    you wont need to and you wont have time to go around crossing t’s and dotting i’s
    *aids orphans in africa, maybe gap adventure volunteer work check it out youll be doing yourself a favour and the people around you

  • http://www.chocolatecentral.com Chocolatecentral

    Boo hoo, I didn’t try these when I was in Bordeaux. I was too busy trying fabulous wine at the chateau and winery I was staying at. These actually remind me of good old fashioned American popovers like my mother used to make. Your miniature ones are so cute.

  • Hawkeyehamburger

    As a professional pastry chef, I’m thrilled with how detailed and well written your recipe is!!!! I’ve never baked canele’s being an “American” PC, but if I do your recipe will be the first one I try. I can’t convey in words just how well done this work is, I hope everyone else realizes this.

    I can’t wait to see how you top this!

  • http://grongar.wordpress.com Rebecca

    Cracking the canelé code. Well put!

    I used the Paula Wolfert recipe that you referred to in your post. I’ve been very happy with my results using it, but I’m going to test your recipe and techniques out next, just to see what differences there are. -R

  • LemonCurd

    Just a random note, but my apartment oven can’t hold heat worth a darn, so I have learned to leave a pizza stone on the lowest rack when I bake and it keeps the temperature up…though it does take longer to pre-heat. Doing that might help you home oven keep the temperature even with 12 cold molds.

  • CandyDishes

    nom nom nom. try some of the recipes on anunrefinedgentleman.blogspot.com to compliment this delicious dish!

  • Stay-At-Home-Chef

    Love the level of detail in your post. Beautifully written and very informative. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Well you’ll just have to fly back to Bordeaux and try these then (and some more fabulous wines of course.) You know, somebody on the Chowhound thread I linked to also made it in popover molds, and also someone here in this comment thread. I think you’ve got something there.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thank you, and so glad it’s timely for you. Try these and come back to show us how they turn out!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thank you.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Thank you.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    A few people mentioned the baking stone thing and now I’m thinking about getting one. Thanks for the tip.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    A few people mentioned the baking stone thing and now I’m thinking about getting one. Thanks for the tip.

  • http://cursuri-followme.ro Cursuri Engleza

    I love how your caneles look. They are awesome. And I love the tips you gave about making them. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

  • Araya

    Khun Pim,

    Your site is hard to read ka, the brown background make it all blurry for my aging eyes!

    raya

  • Chris

    Very nicely done Pim. Great research and beautifully presented. I was in Paris last Fall and every time I visit I try to find the copper molds at a relatively affordable price ’cause you just can’t buy 6! I keep seeing them in those cute gift boxes that shout tourist but there has to be a wholesale place where they can be tracked down through a pastry chef connection…..(Mr. Lebovitz must know…)

    I remember the epic eGullet thread on this subject a few years ago and have never gotten around to making them so I think I’ll give the silicone molds a try as I’d like to make them in quantity.

    By the way CandyDishes- shame on you for spamming someone else’s blog!

  • Sophigirl

    Thanks so much for all the fabulous details! This is, indeed, your Pad Thai equivalent of a recipe. And I can’t thank you enough for including a link to that post, as well.

  • http://www.decarshop.com Equipoise

    Oh, wow. I love you being so detailed about stuff. Thanks for a great recipe.

  • http://www.swiftsendremovalists.com.au Removalists in Sydney

    i love to eat cake.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Mora and Dehillerin are both places that pastry chefs shop, and they’re not all that much cheaper than at regular shops, unfortunately.

    If you think your oven can handle more than 6 at a time, then I’d go for it. But instead of getting a 12-canelé molds, I’d get 2 sets of 6, that way you could space the two sets apart a bit in the oven to create better air circulation.

    Do come back to tell us how yours go, please!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Will try to fix the font issue ka.

  • http://2medicure2010.blogspot.com/ Alex Warren

    Wow wow this post made me hungry thanks for the stuff i like Canelés de Bordeaux i will ask my wife to try it once at home.

  • http://twitter.com/gertero German

    That look delicious!! When I finish my carrot cookies I know what is next
    http://kitchenvoyage.blogspot.com/

  • Stephanie

    Wowza! That is a lot of work for what I thought was a basic little dessert. I will never even consider buying the molds, the beeswax and going through all the trouble to make these, but I will certainly apprectate the work that has gone into them the next time I taste one. I live in Paris and there is a Canelés bakery store around the corner from me (they make only canelés and they are perfect :) A box of canelés has become my standard gift to bring to a dinner party.

  • Araya

    Thank you ka, I really like your site. Bought Reisenthel bag per your recommendation and love it!

  • http://www.isinorthamerica.com Deena

    Wow that is a tough one… you just made me nervous on my new baking schedule. In a very simple mistake everything will mess the output and it is such a pain to see such outcome. But as they say practice makes perfect but or course you have to prepare your budget.

  • Strandedstarfish

    Gil is a strange guy. He likes to comment on EVERYONE’s canele posts and usually slams anyone who thinks that they may have some good advice to share with their readers – right or wrong. The funny thing is, he’s only been making canele for a couple of years (less professionally) and he got his start just like everyone else – through trial and error. I also find it interesting that he loves to criticize everyone else but has never done an instructional post of his own. And judging by some of the canele photos on his blog, there’s a good reason for that. I live in Philly and must admit that I have never tasted his canele but with that attitude, who would want to?

  • Christopher Hinn
  • Jetset

    “Don’t be all like, ‘yo I got me some beeswax so I’m gonna use it!’ You want to be very judicious with it,”
    Pim, this line may be the best line I have ever read in a cooking blog. Love your wit, humor, photography, and culinary skills. Nice work on the Canales. They have never turned out well for me. May be inspired enough to give this a try. When do we do Madeleines?

  • http://www.slovakcooking.com lubos

    The aerospace engineer in my approves of your experiment :)

  • Anonymous

    This is amazingly cute and yummy!! Thanks for sharing the recipe :) I bought the copper molds through myBantu.com I will make these tomorrow! Thank ya!!!!!

  • Darlene

    Canele success! I got 80% success, the highest ever in Canele land. I have the mini deBuyer molds, so I had to adjust the baking times. Your tip of taking the whole thing out of the oven to prevent over puffing is absolute genius! I have another batch of batter resting in the fridge.
    p.s. Your pie dough is amazing as well. I hucked my tried and true recipe for the past 15 years for your technique. Simply amazing and easy!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    This is awesome! I’m so happy it works out great for you. Next time 100% success!

    P.S. Thanks for the comment about the pie dough too.

  • http://www.restaurants800.com jason

    Wow. I absolutely adore them. Thanks for sharing! I can’t make them

  • http://www.cardamomeetcompagnie.com Anindita

    I just ate a savoury version this past weekend made with gruyere and chorizo. They were moist and utterly moreish, my friend has promised me the recipe…am still waiting!

  • Thanh

    What an excellent post. As delicious as they are, I think they sound way too hard for me to attempt. I just wish they sold them here in Melbourne, Australia instead of having to fly to Paris to eat them. I must convince someone else to try and make these and give me some.

  • http://www.clubwinedirect.com.au/ Club Wine Direct wine online

    this looks very yummy, I am really interested in making them. This is a very nice information. I am really gonna give it a try sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

  • Magnoliasy

    Ammmmmmmmmmmazzzzzing.

  • Fut
  • http://foodandscent.com/ Eugene

    Absolutely delicious! They remind me of a similar Chinese confectionery but I bet these taste heaps better. Love the sheen on the caramelised skin.

  • http://degustationvoyage.blogspot.com/ Keen@TheGourmetTraveller

    That’s a monster most…it looks really complicated but absolutely delicious…

  • http://degustationvoyage.blogspot.com/ Keen@TheGourmetTraveller

    That looks so delicious, definitely brings back memories of France….The crispy outside…It was interesting to see bee wax being used to coat the baking containers….A seriously monster post :)

  • http://verdantpointeastwoodresidences.weebly.com/ Edward

    As always another amazing post.. looks delicious indeed..

  • http://lostpastremembered.blogspot.com/ Deana@lostpastremembered

    I have never tackled canelés for all the reasons you mention so perfectly… you have really taken all the guesswork and terror out of making them… now I wish I had gotten those canelé molds that were onsale after Christmas!

  • http://www.taastrup-smoerrebroed.dk/platter.html frokostplatter

    Theese french cakes are so nice

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  • http://www.culinarythymes.com alyce

    Wow. You aare quite thorough. These look fan-tabulous.

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie@Cozydelicious

    When I was studying in Toulouse, I pretty much lived on canneles. But having to buy molds has prevented me from making them at home. I might just have to head to the kitchen store, though, because these look great!

  • Agathe

    This is so fun i’m french and from Bordeaux ! I’m not home right now but your article makes me feel the taste and the smell of a cannelé :) i can’t wait to buy some or ask my mom to cook some for me.
    Anyway it is really well explained and it brings me back a lot of nice souvenirs ^^

  • http://www.cheapdanny.com/ Simpleflair

    OMG…they look too gorgeous to eat!

  • DancingFoodie

    I just had my first canelé from Alon’s in Atlanta and it was magically delicious. I don’t know how close they actually got to perfection since I don’t have anything to compare it to yet, but it had all the important check points: crisp caramelized crust and a custardy center :) I’m gonna give it an 8/10

  • Jens

    I used a gastroflex mold to make caneles with excellent results.

  • Anonymous

    Wow. What a fantastic resource! I’ve been obsessed with the idea of baking my own canelés ever since I tasted one for the first time a few weeks ago, so I was thrilled to see such a comprehensive, detailed guide when I stumbled across your site today. Instant bookmark!

  • http://123smoerrebroed.wordpress.com/ Guest23

    I love Caneles, and the caramel taste they get

  • http://www.bxl.ro Petreceri burlaci

    Hmmm i think these will be very godd for Easter. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe with us. I will follow it next weekend.

  • http://www.foodoco.com Justin

    Thank you for passing on the great tip about air being the enemy. It solved my problem when I was developing my mascarpone ras malai recipe (http://www.foodoco.com/2011/04/mascarpone-ras-malai-with-dulce-de.html). Now I have to find time to try out your canele recipe. They look great! Cheers from England – Justin@foodoco!

  • http://elvinandcynthia.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/more-matrimony/ More matrimony! « C & E in DC

    [...] one of my back in the Bay Area treats!  I didn’t know that they were so complicated to make, or that they involved beeswax! yum [...]

  • Emileepaige

    I’m so excited to make these! Thanks for posting.

  • http://www.wasabimon.com/archive/baillardran-cannele-recipe-canele-de-bordeaux/ Baillardran Cannelé Recipe (Canelé de Bordeaux)

    [...] get the perfect canelé, you need to use a combination of butter and beeswax to grease the molds, regardless of what type of mold you use. This recipe doesn’t call for beeswax, so again, [...]

  • James Connolly

    If you live in SF, I am SHOCKED that you fail to mention Pascal Rigo’s Canele’s, which are the BEST! He made them for Martha, who was non-plussed by them. The recipe is in his American Boulangerie cookbook. It’s all about technique. Pascal refers to them as “portable custard”.

  • meg

     Ah, French pastry. They sure do know how to coax a lot of something out of next to nothing. If it weren’t so delicious it wouldn’t be worth the trouble, but here I am contemplating buying cannele molds and adding it to my list of must-bake sweets.

  • Sue

    Where do you get beeswax?

  • Iliana

    Wow!! those are extremely perfect!!
    I´ll try to make some and get good results (:
    Thanks for the help,  absolutely love this blog… Congratulations!!

    A mexican teen cook (:

  • http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2009-06-24-telebrands-inventors_N.htm Telebrands

    Thanks for this post on canelé.  They do seem to be a bit “tricky” to make.  Thanks for the tips and suggestions.

  • http://www.v-gourmet.com M. @ V. Gourmet

    wow. 

    …wow.

  • Tamsen

    Pim, once I’ve perfected your macaron, I’ll try these as Canelés are next on my list :)

    As a beekeeper myself, I offer a word of caution regarding beeswax.  Please be careful to ask what the beekeeper uses in their hives.  A lot of beekeepers add various pesticides to their hives to control mites, and antibiotics to control other diseases.  They remove the honey from their hives before they do this (and replace it afterwards).  Needless to say – these chemicals are absorbed into the wax, and it isn’t nice to eat that stuff.

    So, just ask the beekeeper at your farmers market what they put in their hives, if they say anything other than “thymol” (and even that isn’t too great) I’d not eat it myself (it’ll just contain neonicotinoids and antibiotics – yuck).

  • Beth

    Thank you, thank you!  I did invest in some French copper molds last summer, and have YET to use them, scared off by all that can apparently go wrong with this fabulous pastry.  I think I’m ready to take the plunge now. :)   Thinking about your comments regarding dropping temperature, oven air-flow and slow recovery time…I have a Wolf (electric) oven w/ optional convection.  What would you suggest re: temperature adjustments and/or turning on the convection fans?

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    If you have convection you should turn it on, and lower the temperature by 25 degree. Also check one canele about 10 mins before finishing just to see if it’s ready since baking time might be less than in the normal oven as well.

  • http://en.julskitchen.com/dessert/caneles-de-bordeaux My Canelés de Bordeaux and my Carnival fancy dresses | Juls' Kitchen

    [...] Zenzero and Sigrid from Il cavoletto di Bruxelles. I baked these delicious canelés, then I read Chez Pim‘s unmissable compendium, something you definitely have to read if you want to bake canelés, [...]

  • KarenW

    Woo hoo! My first batch of perfect cannelés just came out of…a toaster oven no less!!! Yes, a Cuisinart toaster oven with convection on. And I used aluminum molds found at Sur la Table too. I had to “season” the molds twice, but I used butter instead of oil. Other than that followed all your fantastic tips, merci beaucoup!

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  • Lauren Hirsch

    Ok, I’ve got my batter resting, and my new molds are washed and seasoned and ready to go.  Two questions: first, I could not pull the trigger on copper molds quite yet, so these are alumninum; would you vary anything with these molds?  Second, I have a gigantic double wall oven that does a terrific job of even temperature, and this can be done with or without convection.  So I won’t have trouble with temperature dropping.  But now I’m afraid that I’m going to overbake them!  So my second question is, what would you do, if you had a very big oven capable of even and set temperatures?  I have 48 hours to contemplate my plan of action here!  :)

  • Lauren Hirsch

    Well, I see below you already addressed the oven temp settings for convection.  I will do that!

  • Suzie Owsley

    Loved the article and photos of the caneles!  Any recommendations for someone who would like to make these…but does not have access to copper caneles molds?  Are there any inexpensive alternatives??  Many Thanks, Suzie Owsley   
    suziecooks@yahoo@yahoo:disqus 
    8/27/11

  • http://www.perur.co.il/?p=12 Tammy_ron

    Wow, the post is just great. Iv’e been to Paris a few weeks ago, and had caneles and wanted to bake them at home ever since. now im totally going to :)

    Cheers, 

    Tammy

  • http://www.threecleversisters.com Sara

    I have made canneles once, all of once, and this is just the kick I need to try it again.  It’s not because I didn’t love them.  This detail is fantastic.

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  • Mike

    Hey everyone. Interesting idea for a blog. I have been checking out a lot of blogs and forums recently. Some are really informative some are entertaining and some are a real crack up. I’ve got to admit it, good job on this blog, I’ll be sure to look in again real soon.  arginine

  • http://atransformativetouch.com Tucson Massage Therapy

    These look incredible! I’ve never heard of them until now, but they look like they are worth all the special preparation.

  • Kariza

    Hi Thanh,  You can get them in Geelong!  At the James St Bakery, a delightful little cafe in…James St (!) Geelong.  They are just wonderful.  They are about $3 each, well worth it for the mouth watering sensation. I discovered their canele a few months ago and have been trying to find out about them since.  This website is the best I have found.  All I need to do now is find where to buy the moulds, and beeswax so that I can try to make them myself. Until then I’ll keep buying them.   Kariza.  PS I’ve just found James Street Bakery on Facebook.

  • http://pratofundo.com Vitor Hugo

    I’m trying this recipe! Now, the batter is nicely resting in the fridge, tomorrow will be the big day.

    I hope everything be ok! :)

  • Thijs Turel

    Thank you very much from Amsterdam!

  • Lisac_

    Just made them yesterday. Mine turned out very crusty on the outside and moist with the custardy center even with using the nonstick black metal molds (almost equally as good as the copper molds). My friends and family inhaled the doz in <5 min. My only complaint about making caneleé is that it's way too difficult to cut small chunks of beeswax each time. Do you have any good tricks besides using a hot knife? Thank you!

  • chan poom

    It very excite when I have seen your pic. I will try to do .

  • http://www.savorique.com/ Savorique

    I stumbled upon your very comprehensive post as I decided to search “abroad” for recipe “arbitration” after being somewhat and unexpectedly unimpressed by the recipes shared by my French fellows. Further I could not believe that the Lenotre recipe included corn flower (it makes a thicker custard center).
    I did get the best/perfect result thanks to your input. So bravo! BUT…
    It seems that our whole milk and butter here in France have more fat content. I make this assumption because I got a horrible layer of impossible-to-dissolve lumps on the surface of the batter after a 24h and then 48h rest in the fridge (yet it was very smooth as I mixed it and put it in the fridge), which I did not get with our “semi-whole” milk (is this what you guys call half and half?). One French fellow does use whole milk (1/2 L) but only half (25 g) of your butter proportion (implying less butter is needed since it’s higher in fat). Our (yellow) butter is very different from the white, sterilized bar thing commonly used in North America.
    The canele in the photo was made with semi-whole milk https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-xhucngpltFc/TsgbqRj0o1I/AAAAAAAABHs/MvCt81XOpRw/s800/P1050698.JPG
    Thank you so much for your awesome post, cheers.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    You’re welcome. As for the beeswax, I agree it could be a pain. Perhaps you could try melting them and then measure into muffin cups? That way you get the perfect amount of beeswax each time and you just have to go through the hassle only once.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    You’re welcome. Your canele looks gorgeous! 

    I use European butter to bake myself, when I don’t use my own homemade butter made from raw milk from our shared cows, that is. So I’m not sure the butterfat content is the problem. I sometimes have chunks of butter on the surface that wouldn’t dissolve too, I usually just try to mix them as much as possible and just bake them with the butter bits. That always turned out ok for me.

    Your canele turned out gorgeous anyway, so I wouldn’t change what you do. Bravo!

  • ciniminis

    Hello Pim – A BIG THANK YOU for your detailed post!  I have batter resting in the fridge and hardly have the patience to wait, but I will follow your advice.  One thing I don’t quite get though – what is the purpose of heating the milk/butter/vanilla to 183 degrees F?  Other than melting the butter (which doesn’t need a very high temp and could be done separately), it’s added to the other ingredients after cooling down some, so it’s not cooking the eggs either.  I wonder what difference it would make if the milk was not heated up…  Have you tried?  Maybe I would test that at some point – just didn’t want to ruin my first-ever batch!

    Also curious about what difference the 2-day rested batter makes vs. 1-day or unrested.  Looks like you have already tried – can you shed more light on this point too?

  • Emmyehansen

    I was so excited to tackle the canele recipe after reading your post! Only thing, I bought the mini 20 de buyer silicone molds. Will I need to adjust the recipe and temperatures due to the smaller molds? The batter is in the fridge – but will I need to go out to buy the larger 6 piece molds?
    Thanks’

  • Dhandmm

    Help!  Made my first attempt at caneles, using silcon mold, they look beautful, a little underdone in center by nice brown crunchy exterior.  Problem, they are not edible as good taste but they leave mouth coated with wax.  What did I do wrong???  Help!

  • Abey

    Thank you for this amazing load of spot-on information! I just finished making a beautiful batch of Caneles thanks to you! One thing I didn’t think about is the mess – jeeze that wax is annoying to get out of your pot etc –  worth it though.. I’m looking forward to making more. There’s just something amazing about Caneles! http://t.co/QMfSIsQQ

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    They look great! Brava!

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    You coated the mold too thick with the beeswax. Next time, just brush very lightly with the wax/butter mixture. Then make sure you turn them over and let the extra drip off a bit more.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    The smaller ones should be fine. It won’t be the same balance of crunch and custard on the outside/inside, but I’ve seen others do it and they turn out fine. Yes, you do need to cut down on the baking time. Just start checking at 10 minutes or so and go from there. That’s what I’d do.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    I find that 48 hours is the best resting period. 24 hrs rest sometimes get me the popover effect. So I now always rest at least 48 hours.

  • MW

    I was just gifted a few copper canele molds (!) and seasoned them as per Paula Wolfert’s instructions. They came out of the oven looking rather more silvery than they went in, however, and I’m trying not to panic — is this normal? Pretty sure they were the Matfer Bourgeat brand you recommend.

  • Melissa H.

    Pim – What an amazing job you have done perfecting this recipe!! I stumbled across it today and had to read the entire thing! I can’t wait to try it out.

    One question – you mention briefly that it even matters how old the eggs are.

    With a recipe this delicate I want to get it as close to your perfect caneles as possible. 

    What have you found regarding the age of the eggs?

  • Muriel E.

    Thank you for this cleverly written recipe/blog.  I have found my “hot plate” works nicely to keep warm things warm while working them.  Also, I wonder if the bees wax couldn’t be broken with a chisel and hammer after scoring…

  • E Morris

    Wow!! Those do look beautiful. Well done for achieving your goal. What am I saying? Bravissima!! (How does one indicate a standing ovation in a comment?)

  • Egonblue

    Great info. Thanks for sharing so much good detail.
    Ive been experimenting myself with the copper and silicone. But today I found tin cannele molds – i.e., just like the copper ones, but only the tin lining without the copper exterior. They were US$8 each at Sur La Table so i figured I would try a half dozen to go with my half dozen copper molds that cost 3 times as much.
    So, any chance youve tried out the tin molds? Im guessing theyll act more like copper than silicone, but if youve done the experimenting already, i figured id spare myself the trouble.
    Thanks.

  • http://mersiebeaucoup.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/you-caneles-de-bordeaux/ (You Can)elés de Bordeaux « MersieBeaucoup

    [...] the molds, but it won’t be too thick. (This portion of the recipe instructions adapted from Chez Pim – an excellent article on Canelé trials and [...]

  • Abbyjoost

    Hey Pim…so funny, I was looking for a picture of a caneles to show a friend what a wonderful little life changing treat they are and what pops up? Your blog. I keep remembering the time that we had these at Doree’s house. Greetings from Amsterdam! 
    Abby

  • Dreesend

    I thought I followed to the letter except I tried the aluminum mold from Sur La Table. $8 a piece. I got some crystalizing in my batter when it was in the frig so I ran it through the fine sieve after a day. Think I lost a bit of butter doing that, that had separated out in the frig also. I mixed the batter gently when specified, but ended up with each of my 12 caneles looking and acting a bit differently. Some puffed in the middle a bit, some were flat and ended up eggy. None released from the mold. About 3 of them looked and tasted good with the right texture. My wax and molds may have been a bit hot when pouring so the layer may have been too thin. I am all for a challenge, but after spending $150 on molds and ingredients, I may try the silicone mold, and if that doesn’t work, c’est la vie!

  • Samattes

    Has anyone tried this in a convection oven?
    If so, how would you adapt the temps?

  • Samattes

    Has anyone tried this in a convection oven?
    If so, how would you adapt the temps?

  • knoh

    A thousand “thank yous” for posting this canele how-to. After rediscovering them at Boulud Epicerie in Manhattan, my boyfriend and I were on a mission to find our favorites in Los Angeles where we live. After considerable disappointment, he bought a set of molds for me and presented them with a link to this post. My first batch resulted in lots of hard to clean splotches of beeswax in the kitchen but also in something resembling canele–still some work to do before they are perfect, but we did enjoy the first batch with our favorite Semillon (who can resist a dessert that pairs so perfectly with wine?). Your instruction was a godsend and canele-making has become a new hobby of sorts.

  • knoh
  • Laurent-Canele Maniac

    It is normal for the molds to change color as you use them. Bakeries in Bordeaux are using their molds for many years. They get in the oven every day and end black. My molds are getting there… So do not panic this is normal.

  • Laurent-Canele Maniac

    It is normal for the molds to change color as you use them. Bakeries in Bordeaux are using their molds for many years. They get in the oven every day and end black. My molds are getting there… So do not panic this is normal.

  • LC

    Out of curiosity, did you find any good caneles in LA?

  • Nigiri Zushi

    Hi Pim,
    Made the batter last night and I must tell you it looks a bit runny to me, at least its runnier than a pancake batter. is this right? although I checked this morning the batter is getting just a slight thicker but still not as thick as pancake batter.
    Cheers

  • kaa123
  • Disqus

    Isn’t 3-4 teaspoons of vanilla a lot more flavor than one bean? Do you mean 3/4?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IRLCDZZGVZZULBBAU4J7XGVH5I Robert

    Keep it up with the aluminum molds from Sur La Table.  Without any visible change in them at all, and after some were washed with soap and some not, mine started releasing just fine after about 4 uses.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IRLCDZZGVZZULBBAU4J7XGVH5I Robert

    My secrets:

    1) Keep doing it.  Moulds will stop sticking around your fifth batch.2) Buy lots of moulds.  They’re expensive, but it’s never worth learning a new pastry if you don’t make enough for 2 or 3 meals, or 5 or 6 people.  Double batches, minimum 24 canelés.  If you spend $200 on moulds, you have no excuse but to keep making them.3) Be careful with ingredient amounts, but don’t sweat the other stuff.  I don’t filter the batter, sometimes I barely let the batter cool before baking, sometimes I don’t wax and butter and just spray with Pam.4) Get beeswax at your local crafts store. They sell it for candle making.  Use a cheap paint brush to wax the molds.5) Be casual about the mixing.  I just swirl the hot milk into the other ingredients until the mix isn’t super lumpy, then swirl to un-settle the mix before pouring into the molds. Be prepared for the batter to be very runny: it’s not dough, it’s batter, much runnier than most American pancake batters.6) Make sure your oven really is hot.
    7) Keep making them.  Around round 5 they’ll start being perfect.  Make a new batch every day, just letting the batter get cold, before baking.  Once they start coming out perfectly, then start messing with waiting a few days, or changing recipes.

    Your friends and family will thank you for your perseverance.

  • Littlelovebird

    You can try the ones at Bottega Louie downtown. They’re pretty good :)

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  • JrGRITS

    You may already know…but here’s what I read from an clipping from Nov 1999 Bon Appetit magazine: Place raw eggs (in their shell) in a bowl of water. Generally, fresh eggs will lie on the bottom of the bowl. Eggs that tilt so that the large end is up are older, and eggs that float are rotten. Good luck!

  • claire

    It might be beginners luck, but my first and second attempts resulted in absolutely perfect cannelés. I followed all your tips (put sylicone mold in freezer before pouring batter; set temperature higher before starting to bake etc) and the result is wonderful. so THANK YOU.
    The one thing that I wasn’t expecting is that after resting in the fridge for 24-36 hours, the batter sort of separates, getting thicker at the top and more liquid at the bottom, so I have to give it a good stir before pouring. Is that normal?

  • punit unisense

    Hey Robert, thanks for sharing your secret!
    now i will try your secret..
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  • Z Emut

    Yet another example to illustrate your strive for perfection in baking is always uncompromised!  Great post and definitely good tips to follow! 

  • js

    I am trying to make my first caneles and stumbled across your amazing blog. One question….what’s the baking time like if I was using a smaller canele mould?
    Txs.

  • jesterhoax

    This article has been really insightful. I started making ‘or at least, starting to learn the mystery of cannele’ about 4 months ago, and I feel like I’m just really beginning. Lately I’ve noticed some puffing up and I was whisking the hell out of them before moulding them. I started doing this because once I didn’t stir at all, and thats bad in another way. This has been a really great article for me to read. I can’t wait to change stuff up based on your feedback.

  • Amara

    On the link about seasoning the pans it mentions instructions for convection. Haven’t tried it though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stardust4300 Bea Long

    This recipe is so different from mine. I cannot imagine. Mine has only the very basic ingredients and it works every time. I bake them at 425 for 1 hour and voila, perfection. I have pics and the recipe if you would like. I do use the copper molds. Have a great day. I just made these today!!

    Bea

  • Veronica

    Pim, I found your recipe by chance and I can’t thank you enough for your detail and precision! I have made these three times now and each time has been better than the last! I don’t tend to use blogs for recipes, but you did a wonderful job!

    Thanks!

  • DrDimented

    Would be appreciated

  • Anna Banana

    Okay I know this was like from 2 years ago, but I’m still curious: It says in the baking section, that once you put the batter in, you pull out the baking sheet, and place them evenly on the sheet, and NOT the wire rack, but the picture shows it on the wire rack. Do we put it on the wire rack or not? I think I’m a little too excited to start making this recipe.

  • susan

    Thank you for the detailed guide. I tried this last year, using other rough translated info, ended up with great results ( in my horrible oven, no less!), but a bit too much beeswax in the mouth. Time to try again. All I ask for Christmas from my 4 children: one 2″ copper-tin mold each. In 4 yrs I should have quite a nice set! Susan

  • BDM

    Hi Pim! Thanks so much for this wonderful post! I love Canele’s and this is by far the best formula I’ve tried! Just wanted to mention that Paula Wolfert’s recipe is not in her Cooking of Southwest France but in The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen… I found out the hard way but I’m loving the book for it’s many other gems. Thanks for being so amazing Pim!!

  • houston judy

    I’ve done Paula Wolfert’s way and love Jacque Pepin but will now try this. thank you

  • Grumeau

    Great post, the pictures are awesome ! I also tend to prefer smaller cannelés, I find them more crusty…

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  • food recipes

    Hi Pim, This is very nice post with well explanation and recipe of Cannelés.Specially the pictures.Thanks

  • Lana

    Hi, I was wondering what beeswax you use? I saw amazon sells beeswax but I am not sure I should use that one since its for candle making. Thank you in advance for your help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chefjanet Janet Monroe

    Pim,

    this is AWESOME! I must admit I am a pastry chef but have never made these. When I found your website I was very excited… I made another recipe a few days ago but it was very thin when I made them yesterday in the copper molds I was dissapointed. So I used your recipe. I made the batter yesterday let it rest 24 hours and today made them again and OMG AWESOME!!!! Tomorrow I will do again when the batter is 36 hours old and again when it is 48 hours old.

    I am also going to try with my silcone molds, but feel the copper will prevail

    if anyone is interested I tried all of my wholesale resources and yes the price per mold was quite high , but went online to ebay and a man in france sells these all the time, he wanted $99 for a set of 6 I offered him $75 for them and he sold them to me. Just a thought.
    Will let you know how the flavor devlopes over the next 2 days

    Oh and I did do these with my deck oven at work so making adjustments on temp

  • http://www.facebook.com/chefjanet Janet Monroe

    Ops sorry forgot one thing, I mixed these VERY slowly with a spatula and it looked great when I finished but after 24 hrs it was very lumpy???

  • Lana

    What is the advantage of using powdered sugar.

  • z

    HEllo?

  • Chloe

    Try the caneles at Bouchon bakery in Beverly Hills!! They are AMAZING and you can eat in the courtyard next to the bakery… It would be such a peaceful day :)

  • Mac Volk

    Aluminum Cannele mold would get the same perfect cannele as using copper one ? if i follow the same baking preparation and recipe ..

  • Mac Volk

    Aluminum Cannele mold would get the same perfect cannele as using copper one ? if i follow the same baking preparation and recipe ..

  • PELL KESSDEN

    To prevent your oven temperature fluctuations and to also make great pizza, you might try putting in the ever loved architectural feature of MASS. This time in the form of unglazed quarry tiles that hold the heat in from a long preheat and can then release heat before and in unison with your oven when bringing the temp back up. You may try putting foil down and cooking right on the tiles. They will not be susceptible to fast temp fluctuations.
    The last recipe shown in this great Mike Colameco’s Real Food Youtube video is Caneles.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqkzINqwdao
    Pell Kessden pellkessden@gmail.com

  • Stefanie

    The instructions here are wonderful! Thanks so much for your article. I did end up using Wolfert’s recipe, however, and am wondering if over-mixed batter would cause the canele to rise up out of the molds and therefore lose their distinct shape? It doesn’t seem that they’re just puffing up, but that there’s a gap of air in the mold, in the bottom, pushing them out. I am using copper, and not too much wax, by the way.

  • seattle baker

    This recipe has been working great for me in aluminum molds–the longer the batter chills the better.–THANK YOU PIM!
    I did want to point out that the recipe makes 12 canelés, not 20 as stated in the recipe.

  • Yette

    Hi! I’m excited to try these…Love your detailed explanations but don’t see the detail added for the silicone molds which I have purchased. How did you coat these with beeswax and how do you warm them etc. Would love any added detail here please.

  • Estelle TBT

    Hi Yette, I used to make cannelés for my family (I’m French!) and I use silicone molds too. The tip is: you put a little bit of butter the first time into your molds and after that you don’t have to coat them anymore!
    Hope it helps!

  • http://www.jlm-diffusion.com

    Hello,
    Awesome recipe! I’m french and i am married with a baker chef. I ve shown this recipe to my wife and she told me is a good one, but you have to modified the article because the proportions are not right for 20 cannelés.
    Thanks for sharing
    jlm-diffusion

  • Cyril

    You are using the wrong type of r(h)um for the recipe. French recipes always call for rhum agricole from Martinique which less sweet and more complex than rum from Barbados (or Jamaica).

  • Anthony

    Have you tried putting a bunch of ceramic bricks in your oven to store more heat? This may assist with doing more canneles at once. I do this for my sourdough.

  • Serviced Apartments Lady

    I’ve never seen anything that looks like this before, they look delicious though, and a brilliant explanation as to how you made them!

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  • Bernie Wong

    I’ve made these in silicone molds several times now with great success thanks to your recipe & tips, today, my copper molds arrived, can’t wait to try them!

  • Jbear789

    Paul Wolfert’s recipe uses unsalted butter – should it be unsalted or regular butter?

  • Madmattz

    Always unsalted for baking

  • Sofie Zambas

    How do you coat the silicon molds when they are all attached to one? Seems easier to do the method above if you have individual molds? Would like to know what works best for the beeswax coating.

  • Tasty Footprints

    Unsalted is regular from a baking stand point. You can always add salt. You can’t ever remove it.

  • Cy Carlberg

    I talked to the folks at the restaurant “Canele” in Atwater Viilage.
    They pass out (small) canelas as you’re leaving after dinner. They use
    silicone, and they told me that they brush the molds with melted butter,
    and then freeze them (as Pim suggests). Trying it next week – I’ll
    re-post.

  • Adam

    I just received 12 gorgeous 2-inch (large) copper/tin canelé molds delivered to me in Seattle direct from an awesome baking supplier in Bordeaux,
    France (home of the canelé), for $11.50 each, including all taxes and shipping, delivered in 8 days! This is less than half of the best price I sourced after scouring the USA (which was $24.00 each for 6, incl. shipping from JB Prince).

    The website is in French. If you visit the site using Google Chrome, the browser translates to English for you. It’s a great website, about as
    easy as ordering from Amazon.

    The vendor provided great customer service to me in English by email, plus package tracking in English all along the way.

    I’ve tried the silicone molds. Tastes nice, but If you want the authentic,
    evenly-caramelized, crunchy exterior, copper is the only way to go.

    Details:

    1. The name of the vendor in France is Labo & Gato. They sell
    pro-grade supplies and equipment, in the heart of canelé country.
    2. Here’s the L&G web page to order 12 molds: http://www.laboetgato.fr/produit-lot-12-moules-a-caneles-55-cuivre-etame-3267.html
    3. If you need the website translated into English, use the Google Chrome web browser.
    4. The page I’ve provided is for ordering the large (2-inch) molds (55
    millimeters = 5.5 centimeters). But there are two smaller sizes
    available on their website, too.
    5. Place your order as usual, pay with your regular old credit card.
    Your country is “Etats-Unis” (USA). By default your order will be shown
    in Euros. As I remember there was also an option to show it in
    dollars. 1 dollar = about 0.8 Euros. The cost for the 12 molds will be
    about 86 Euros = $108 Dollars.
    6. The next day, you’ll get an email from them (Customer Service) asking
    you to click a link to buy “3 units of shipping” (“livraison”) for
    another 24 Euros = $19 Dollars. If you do not do this, they will refund
    your money and cancel your order.
    7. You can reply to the Customer Service emails in English, they will then reply to you in perfect English.
    8. You will get a link to the French postal service website to track your
    shipment in English. Mine took 8 days from the time I ordered, until
    my mailman delivered the package to me in Seattle.

    The same website also sells a grease called “Slider” (gotta love the
    French), “the ideal lubrication agent in the manufacture of canelés.”
    If anyone tries it, I’m interested to hear the results.

    That’s it! I’m thrilled to have saved over $100 on this. Photos below, including the receipt that was in the box.
    http://imgur.com/UqMgZ7k
    http://imgur.com/9ER4gqT
    http://imgur.com/exeVheR