I thought I was going mad when I ordered 6 Canelé molds from Amazon at $26 each. After doing my recent post on how to make Canelés using a silicone mold (‘French Canelés with Blood Orange Cadamon Sauce’), I just had to know if using copper molds was worth the extra investment. Copper molds are traditionally used in making these French Canelés de Bordeaux and some people swear this is the only way you can achieve the delicate fluted lines and crisp exterior of this wonderful pastry.
After placing my order for the copper molds, there was no turning back; money had changed hands, my reputation was on the line. When the molds and bee’s wax arrived from Amazon one week later, my nervous hands unwrapped each mold individually, not knowing what lay ahead.
After plowing through the various steps for baking Canelés in copper molds, I found that more work is required because you need to first coat them in a mixture of melted bee’s wax and butter. This can be a bit messy as the wax can end up stuck to your stovetop and even in your hair (just kidding!).
But, in the end was it worth it? My final conclusion was that the Canelés did not taste any better with the copper molds but the texture was much better. The combination of the bee’s wax and copper mold together produced that wonderful crispy exterior that was superior to the silicone molds. I felt I had almost arrived at the artisan level of the Canelé baker in Bordeaux!
However, if you don’t want to spend the money and the extra effort required for the copper molds, you can produce perfectly acceptable (and delicious) Canelés using the silicone ones.
If you are game (and I hope you are), here are the steps required for baking the Canelés in copper molds:
Step # 1- Seasoning the Molds
Before using your new molds, you need to ‘season’ them: first wash your molds in soapy water and then coat the inside of each one with either Crisco or vegetable oil, bake on a foil-lined tray for 1 hour at 360 F (180 C) with the open end facing up, turn the molds over and bake for another 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and let the molds remain inside the oven for another 15 minutes.
Step # 2 – Prepare the batter for the Canelés – (please refer to my blog ‘French Canelés with Blood Orange Cadamon Sauce’)
Place the batter in the fridge for at least 24 hours to let it rest. This recipe makes about 12 Canelés.
Step # 3 – Coat the inside of each copper mold with bee’s wax and butter mixture
Coating the inside of your molds with bee’s wax and butter will allow your Canelés to form a nice crisp exterior with fluted edges. You can do this step 1 – 2 hours before you plan on baking your Canelés.
Mix together your bee’s wax and butter using a 1:1 ratio. First, melt the wax either in the microwave oven or on the stove top. I melted one stick of wax (30 grams) in the microwave on a 3-minute setting. I then removed the wax and added 30 grams of butter and let it melt in the residual heat of the wax and then poured the mixture into a saucepan. You will periodically need to re-warm the mixture since the wax can very quickly start to solidify.
Now coat the inside of each mold with this mixture – be sure your molds are at room temperature (not cold) or the wax will adhere to your mold too quickly and not coat evenly.
Pour the warmed wax/butter mixture into one mold, filling it to the top, then quickly pour the mixture back into your saucepan. You should now have an even wax coating on the inside of your mold. Now let any excess wax drain from the mold by placing it upside down on a wire rack placed over a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat this procedure with each mold.
Step # 4: Place the molds inside the freezer for 30 minutes to chill them
This will help to produce the contrast between the crisp exterior while keeping the inside of the Canelé soft and spongy.
Pre-heat your oven to 460 F (235 C) along with a foil-lined baking sheet. Before placing the pastries in the oven, I use an oven thermomidor to ensure the temperature has reached the desired level. (Note: if using a fan-forced oven, reduce your oven temperatures accordingly to 440 F (225 C).
Step # 5: Fill the molds with the batter and bake
Remove the molds from the freezer and the batter from the fridge. Stir the batter before filling each mold about 3/4 full. Place the molds on the pre-heated baking sheet and bake at 460 F (235 C) for the first 15 minutes then reduce to 375 F (190 C) for the remaining 45 minutes. The outside of the Canelés should be crisp and brown while the inside is soft and spongy. If the inside of the pastries are still a bit uncooked, then bake for longer.
While the pastries are baking, open the oven door briefly to check on them. If they have puffed up too much and risen over the edge of the copper mold, remove them briefly from the oven to ‘de-puff’ and then place back in oven. If the pastries continue to puff up, you can simply remove them from the oven at the end and slice off the end so that it is flush with the edge of the copper mold.
When the Canelés are cooked, remove from oven; using an oven mit, tip each mold oven and ‘coax’ the pastry out of the mold (I used the end of a spoon to coax mine out – they should come out easily). Let cool on a wire wrack and then serve – they can be stored in the freezer prior to serving for up to one month.
I’d love to hear your comments about this recipe – what sort of experiences you have had with making Canelés and any questions you may have!