The legend of Bordeaux’s Canelés
The origins are lost in the mists of time but legend has it that canelés were created in the convent of the Sisters of the Annunciation, in Bordeaux. The nuns made them for paupers with wheat retrieved on the quay sides – which had fallen from boat holds or from punctured sacks – and with leftover egg yolks from the wineries of Quai des Chartrons (egg whites were used as finings for wine).
As Bordeaux was one of the major trading ports, the nuns added rum and vanilla from tropical islands to their recipe.
Following the convent’s closure and the French Revolution, the recipe slowly fell out of use until the 1980s, when it was revised and revamped by a handful of professionals. The famous pastry returned to the stage in pastry shops and in the hearts of the Bordeaux population.
Today, it is one of the culinary symbols of the City of Bordeaux. And, it even has its own canelé fraternity.
The word was originally spelt “cannelé” but officially became “canelé” in 1985 when the fraternity deleted the second “n” so as to assert its identity. This is why it is commonly found nowadays spelt both ways!
The Bordeaux canelé recipe
Preparation: 20 minutes + 12 to 24 h left aside
Cooking: 30 minutes
Equipment: preferably copper canelé moulds, otherwise silicone moulds
Ingredients (for 12 canelés):
½ l milk
1 vanilla pod
250 g sugar
125 g flour
6 egg yolks
50 g melted butter (including 5 g to butter the moulds)
5 cl rum
The day before:
Heat the milk with the vanilla.
Mix the sugar with the egg yolks then add the flour.
Pour the hot milk over the preparation, then add the melted butter. Stir vigorously to make sure there are no lumps.
Flavour with rum.
Leave to sit for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge prior to cooking.
Butter the canelé moulds then fill them ¾ full with the mixture and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 180°C in a preheated oven.
Leave to cool before removing from the moulds.
Canelés can be eaten at any time of the day and are especially delicious with a cup of tea or coffee, at the end of a meal.