Canele recipe

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Canelés, one of our favorite sweets, are soft bites of flan baked in a special mold, yielding a crispy caramelized shell that leaves you wanting another. Furthermore, they look absolutely irresistible. You’ll need to plan ahead, as the batter needs to sit in the refrigerator for a day or two before being baked.

  • Yield: 16 standard-size or 30 small caneles


  • 4 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 vanilla bean pod  seeds scraped
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pommeau or apple brandy
  • 1½ cups cake flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Combine 2 cups of the milk, the butter, the bay leaf, and the vanilla bean seeds in a small saucepan over low heat. Warm until the butter melts, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  2. Combine the egg yolks, sugar, pommeau, and remaining 2 cups milk in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour and salt and stir to combine.
  3. Slowly pour the warm milk and butter mixture into the flour mixture, stirring continuously. Transfer the mixture to a pitcher and refrigerate, covered, for 24 to 48 hours. This step is crucial, as it allows the flour to hydrate.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Chill the canelé molds (see note) in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. If some separation has occurred, gently whisk to combine.
  6. Combine the apples and cinnamon, if using, in a medium bowl and toss together.
  7. Place the chilled molds on a baking sheet and spray or rub them with olive oil. Fill each mold with batter up to about 1∕8 inch from the top. Place a small spoonful of apples on top of the batter in each mold unit (it’s okay if they sink).
  8. Bake for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 11⁄2 hours, or until the canelés are caramelized (deep brown) on the outside. Turn the trays around halfway through the baking time.
  9. Let the canelés cool before releasing them from the molds. They are best eaten the same day, but they freeze well and can be served after being defrosted in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

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