The French Canele | Recipe

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A reliable Canele recipe is a staple of every French pastry kitchen – but you can make these delicious treats at home.

Canelés are the classic custardy treat and traditional recipe from France (aren’t all good sweet treats from France?). Having spotted them during one of my regular recipe trawls on google, I did a little research and discovered that they’re a hotly debated topic in recipe world. What kind of batter, how long do you rest them for, what do you use to grease the tin?

Crispy & light French Caneles Recipe

I did my research, and decided to go for as classic a canele recipe as I could, which meant finding beeswax, which may have taken a while to find. I got over that issue by chatting to a beekeeper at a local craft fair, but you can also order some online too. One problem I did not anticipate, however, was a serious lack of Rum in my house. This is where the “sort of…” comes into the title of this recipe.

While I did not have any rum, I did (like every good and honest Irish person does) have a lovely bottle of whiskey. I’ll leave it up to you to guess what happened next.

All I’ll say is, they tasted very delicious. But of course, use Rum if you’re a traditionalist.

Other traditionalists will recommend copper moulds, which is fine if you have the money to spend. However, as a working musician, I’m looking out for the thrifty amongst us. I picked up a basic non-stick Canelé tin for around €22, which worked very nicely and saved a very big chunk on buying the individual copper moulds (which will set you back around €20 per mould). Silicone is an even cheaper option, but the results people get from using silicone seem to vary, and it never achieves the same shiny, crispy skin that’s so typical of a great canele recipe. For a cheap, reliable option, your basic tin will do the finest.

The perfect French Canele Recipe

If you research your Canele recipe, you’ll see reference to ‘white oil’ come up again and again. This is where your beeswax comes in. White Oil is made from a mixture of Beeswax and Fat. I use a mixture of beeswax, butter and vegetable oil, but lots of recipes call for a 50:50 beeswax & oil mixtures. If you can find beeswax, I recommend using it, but if you’re finding it impossible to source, greasing your tin with butter or baking spray will work as an alternative (though you may get less of that typical shiny, crispy skin on each Canele).

The other matter to address is resting the batter. My own research resulted in some widely varied opinions, from ‘a few hours in the fridge’ to ‘atleast 72 hours resting’. For me, 24 hours was definitely the sweet spot. I baked a 24 hour and a 48 hour batch, with the 24 hour batch being wildly superior. To be sure, both batches came from the same batter, so there was no variation there. 

The 24 hour recipe batch was shiny and crispy on the outside, and soft and custardy on the inside – perfection. The 48 hour batch, however, rose too much in the oven, leaving them oddly shaped, and weren’t quite as crispy on the outside. So for me, 24 hours is the sweet spot. Experiment with your Canele recipe and see what works best for you!

Canelés de Bordeaux
Yields 16
Crispy outside, custard inside - the perfect French sweet treat!
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Prep Time
24 hr 30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
25 hr
Prep Time
24 hr 30 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
25 hr
For the Batter
  1. 500mls whole milk
  2. 1 vanilla bean
  3. 2 whole eggs
  4. 2 egg yolks
  5. 130g plain flour
  6. 220g light brown sugar
  7. 25g butter, melted
  8. 3 tbsp rum (or whiskey...)
For the While Oil
  1. 1 oz. (28g) of beeswax
  2. 1 oz. (28g) of butter
  3. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the Batter
  1. In a measuring jug, whisk together the flour and sugar.
  2. Add the eggs and egg yolks and mix until you have a very thick batter.
  3. In a saucepan, heat your milk until just below boiling.
  4. Split the vanilla bean and add it to the milk, along with the butter.
  5. Let the vanilla infuse in the hot milk for 5 minutes. Then, remove the bean and scrape out the caviar, adding the caviar back to the milk.
  6. Whisk in the vanilla caviar.
  7. Allow the milk to cool very slightly before adding the batter into the milk, bit by bit, whisking continuously until you have a loose batter. It should somewhat resemble pancake batter.
  8. Let the batter cool before stirring through your rum or whiskey.
  9. Cover the batter with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to rest for 24 hours before baking.
For the White Oil
  1. Add all your ingredients to a saucepan over a low/medium heat.
  2. Heat until all the ingredients are melted.
  3. Stir to combine, and pour the mixture into a container or ramekin.
  4. Allow the white oil to cool and harden before use.
To Bake the Canelés
  1. About 2 hours before baking, grease your tin. To do this, I used my fingers to liberally run the indentations of my baking tin with the white oil. This is easiest when the white oil is at room temp, or softened slightly in the microwave. You don't want big lumps of white oil in there, but you do want to grease it well!
  2. Pop the baking tin in the freezer until it's time to bake (atleast an hour or two).
  3. Preheat your oven to 225C/440F.
  4. Remove the baking tin from the oven. Give your batter a little stir and pour some into each indentation of the baking tin, filling each one up 3/4 full.
  5. Pop the Canelés in the oven.
  6. Bake the Canelés at 220C for 10 minutes, before turning the oven down to 200C/390F.
  7. Bake the Canelés for another 20 minutes or so, until they are very dark golden.
  8. Once baked, remove the Canelés from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool a little more. If your Canelés are sticking a little bit to the tin, use a toothpick to loosen them (and grease the tin a bit more next time!).
  9. Preferably, eat while still warm from the oven - Yum!
  1. Some recipes I noticed call for a baking time of 2 hours. I tried this, and it absolutely cremated my poor Canelés, so the baking times stated here are the ones that worked best for me.
  2. Also, don't try to grease the tin after it's been frozen. It's very important to grease it before freezing.
Sauce Pots
  1. Caleb
    April 16, 2020

    Hi, Alice! I’m about to attempt this tricky pastry, but like you I don’t have any rum. And I don’t want to buy a whole bottle for three Tablespoons. But also like you, I’ve got some whiskey. How did these turn out? Did the whiskey overpower the taste of the other ingredients? If you were me would you spring for the rum or stick with whiskey? Thanks for your help.

    • Alice | Sauce Pots
      April 16, 2020

      Hi Caleb!

      To be honest, the whiskey didn’t affect the recipe at all for me, the taste was very mild. I used an Irish whiskey Jameson, so I can only speak for this kind, but you should be fine with whatever you use.

      They’re a really lovely bake so please do let me know how you get on!

      Alice x