Canneles de Bordeaux (Secret Recipe)


Tonight, I had my first taste of Cannelés de Bordeaux.   I have lived in France for two years, and visited there several times since.  I visited Bordeaux for the 1986 Jumping de Bordeaux with a friend.  But I did not try the cannelés – they did not have the internet back then, or I might have known!

Here is a description and recipe from The Food Network:
These extraordinary little confections are a specialty of Bordeaux, where nuns were said to have created them more than 200 years ago using the flour they salvaged from the holds of sailing ships anchored in the Port de la Lune. I like to call them “portable creme brulee” because they contrast a crunchy caramelized exterior with a moist, custardy center. This recipe is a bit particular. You really need authentic copper cannele molds and you really do need to coat them with beeswax (which you can find at some health-food store and farmer’s markets). The wax makes the unmolding easier, and – most important ? gives the canneles their distinctive, crunchy crust. Make sure you let the batter rest for the full twelve hours. The best way to eat these is with a cup of strong coffee. You can also serve them as a dessert, cut in half and drizzled with caramel sauce.

3 cups milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
7 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pastry flour
1 extra-large egg yolk
2 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 ounces beeswax, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean, and its scrapings. Bring the milk to the scalding point over medium high heat, then remove the pan from the heat and add the 3 tablespoons of butter. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, eggs and rum. Whisk the egg mixture into the sugar and flour mixture, then whisk in the lukewarm milk mixture. Strain into a container; cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

To prepare molds for baking, melt the beeswax in a saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining 3/4 cup butter to the melted wax and stir until the butter is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and, using a narrow pastry brush, carefully coat the inside of 18 (2 by 1-inch) canneles molds. (Dedicate this brush to canneles making because the wax will get into the brush.) If the wax mixture starts to set up or thicken, return it to the heat for a moment until it thins.

Remove the batter from the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before baking it.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the waxed canneles molds on a heavy baking sheet with a rim to prevent any wax and butter that melts from the molds from dripping onto the bottom of your oven and creating a fire hazard. Fill the molds 3/4 full with the batter, whisking the batter frequently and well to ensure that the sugar and flour remain evenly distributed.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the surface of the canneles is dark brown. Remove from the oven, being very careful not to spill any of the hot wax on yourself. (It is wise to keep children and pets out of the kitchen during this part of the process.) Using tongs or an old towel, pick up each mold and tap it upside down to remove the canneles. If it doesn’t come out after a few taps, using a paring knife to loosen it from the sides. And…viola! Serve warm from the oven.

Here are a couple of other recipes:

From Tartelette’s Blog

Chocolate, Ginger, and Cardamom Cannelés

Tutorial with great pictures

Let me add that this is one of those delicacies that challenge far better self-taught cooks than myself. You need to find beeswax, for example, to line the tins.  You also need special copper molds.  I found a couple of sources:

Individual Copper Molds – and Williams-Sonoma – expensive, too expensive.  An alternative is the Nordic Mini Bundt Pan.  They make 12, I think.  I actually got one for Christmas, but traded it in for other stuff.

Silicone Cannele Pans are available from and  No need for beeswax or butter, but less authentic results.  But the advantage is that you get molds for 6 to 8 for a fraction of the cost of the copper molds.


(drum roll, please)

You can just buy them from Trader Joes’!!!!!  Yep – they are selling boxes of 6 frozen Canneles de Bordeaux for under $4.  Beeswax and all!  You just pop them in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds, and voila!  France on your plate.  Now, I thought they could use a bit more rum, but that can be remedied.

I can’t wait to serve them at a dinner party.  Maybe one or two on a plate accompanied by poached pears, vanilla ice cream, and that lovely Pear Cinnamon Caramel Sauce from the King’s Cupboard.  Doesn’t that sound divine?

Oh, I just found packages of two Cherry Clafoutis at Trader Joe’s! (11/15/08).


10 responses »

  1. OMG – where did you get the great big cannele mold? And I love the nun logo. Now, having said that, since I won’t be in Philly for – maybe – ever, I will partake of TJ’s treats. Also, they now have chocolate. Your canneles look lovely!

  2. Trader Joe’s has discontinued their regular canneles. For those of us who aren’t fans of chocolate everything, this is a tragedy.

  3. Good recipe, one of the best ones I’ve seen on the Net for authenticity.

    Only thing is you really don’t need the beeswax – melted butter is just as fine to line the tins and you’ll still get the same crunchy outside.

    Secondly (and more important) is to cure the tins properly so that the mixture doesn’t stick. Once cured you shouldn’t need to clean them between bakings. Only they start to stick again is it time to clean and re-cure them.

  4. – have just got back from Bordeaux and tasted these very delicious canneles – thank you for the recipe. I certainly didn’t realise that beeswax was an ingredient!

    Have you tried the Gateaux Basque? Also delicious – I put the link on my blog.
    kind regards,
    Shirley I.

  5. I’m not sure how secret this recipe is- the one at Martha Stewart appears to be identical down to the warning not to let the beeswax drip and ignite in your oven.

  6. It was kind of a joke – the “secret” was that you could just buy them at Trader Joe’s. Alas, since then, I think they have been discontinued or replaced with chocolate canneles. Disappointing. ;-(

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