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Les Canelés Bordelais

Of all the various and wonderful things that I have experienced while dating a frenchman, I think what we have enjoyed the most together is sharing each other’s cultural foods. Before meeting him, I wasn’t a huge fan of foie gras (sacrilege!), nor was I terribly interested in duck confit or veal kidneys. And I certainly didn’t know what Raclette was! Now, I can certainly vouch for foie gras, duck confit, and raclette (but will happily leave veal kidneys to the monsieur).

But a delicacy that I had never heard of before was a small, caramelized milky cake called a Canelé Bordelais.

A specialty in Bordeaux, this french pastry is notorious for being difficult to master, particularly because of how temperamental it is about oven temperature.  I actually messed up the oven temperature on the first batch so they came out a little drier than I would have liked. But the second batch, after learning my mistake, was much silkier and taller. It was worth the effort though. Oh, if you could just taste the custardy middle, encased by a thick carmelized crust! It is unlike any dessert.

So I knew I wanted an authentic recipe, so I had to go directly to the source: my frenchman’s mother. And I’ve included it here so the rest of the world can cherish these delicacies! I apologize in advance, but the measurements are in metrics. At least you know it is an authentic recipe 🙂

Luckily, there are a few tricks that give you a bit of leverage in mastering these canelés. The most important rule is to ensure you know your oven (and get an over thermometer if you don’t already have one). Oh, and no peeking while they’re cooking! 🙂

 Les Canelés Bordelais de Marylène


– 0.5 L milk
– 50 gr butter, unsalted
– a pinch of salt
– 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
– 1/2 pod of vanilla, seeds scraped and pod discarded
– 100 gr all-purpose flour
– 200 gr confectioners sugar
– your choice of scent (ie. vanilla, almond, rum, orange, lemon, etc). I personally used both vanilla and rum extract and WOW what flavour!


1. Bring your milk, salt, vanilla seeds and butter to a boil in a small pot. Once it has reached boiling, remove immediately from heat and allow it to cool for a couple minutes.
2. In a separate bowl, mix your flour and sugar. Add the eggs and egg yolks and mix well
3. Add your hot milk mixture to the bowl and stir gently until it is well mixed. Allow it to cool for a bit longer and then add the extracts of your chosing (usually 1-2 tsp total).
4. Put your batter in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour, or overnight.
5. When you are ready to cook your canelés, preheat your oven for 450F. Put your silocone canele mold onto a baking sheet (for stability), and fill the molds until they are almost full.
6. Bake at 450F for 30 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 400F for another 30 minutes. You will want them to be very caramelized on the top, so do not worry if they go very brown! You do not want them to burn, however, so keep a careful eye (and create a tin-foil tent over top if they are browning too quickly).

Allow them to cool completely before removing them from the molds. Enjoy while they are fresh from the oven! Store them at room temperature.