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A canelé
Alternative names Cannelle
Course breakfast, tea, dessert
Place of origin France
Region or state Bordeaux
Creator Couvent des Annonciades (18th century)
Serving temperature Room temperature
Main ingredients flour, milk, egg yolk, butter, vanilla, rum, cane sugar
Cookbook:Canelé  Canelé
The insides of a canelé

A canelé is a small French pastry with a soft and tender custard center and a dark, thick caramelized crust. It takes the shape of small, striated cylinder approximately five centimeters in height and is a specialty of the Bordeaux region of France. It can often be found in Parisian pâtisseries as well. Made from egg, sugar, milk and flour flavored with rum and vanilla, the custard batter is baked in a fluted mold.


In Limoges, there was a food called canole, a bread made with flour and egg yolks, which may be the same item as that sold in Bordeaux since the 18th century under the name of canaule, also written canaulé or canaulet. Artisans known as canauliers who specialized in baking them registered a Corporation (or guild) with the Parliament of Bordeaux in 1663, which allowed only them to produce several specific foods: Blessed bread, canaules, and Retortillons. Since they were not a part of the Pastry Corporation (Guild), which had a monopoly over baking with milk and sugar or mixtionnée dough, they were prohibited from using those ingredients. The canauliers disputed the Pastry Chefs' privileges and on 3 March 1755 the council of State in Versailles ruled for the canauliers and ended the Pastry Chefs' monopoly. An edict of 1767 limited the number of authorized canaulier shops in a city to eight. It created very strict requirements for joining the profession. Nevertheless, in 1785 there were at least 39 canaulier shops in Bordeaux, at least ten of which were in the district of Saint-Seurin. The French Revolution abolished all the Corporations, but later census rolls continue to show shops of Canauliers and bakers of "blessed bread".

In the first quarter of the 20th century the canelé reappeared, even if it is difficult to date exactly when. An unknown pastry chef re-popularised the antique recipe of canauliers. He added rum and vanilla to his dough. It is likely that its current shape comes from the similarity (in French) of the word wave with the word "cannelure" (fluting, corrugation, striations).

The modern name "canelé" is recent and mysterious. The "Guide Gourmand de la France" (Publisher: Gault and Millau, 1970) does not mention it. Only in 1985 when the Brotherhood of the Canelé of Bordeaux was created was the second "n" of its name removed. The name canelé became a collective brand, registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property of France by the Brotherhood. Ten years after the registration of the brand, there were at least 800 manufacturers in Aquitaine and 600 in the Gironde. In 1992, Gironde alone consumed an estimated 4.5 million canelés.


The canelé is consumed for breakfast, for snacks, and as dessert. Produced in numerous forms and sizes depending on mold size, its consumption varies. It is notably appreciated during tastings of syrupy wines.

Traditionally "canelés" or "cannelés of Bordeaux" are generally sold in bunches of 8 or 16. In Paris, most of the famous shops such as Ladurée and Pierre Hermé still spell it as "cannelé of Bordeaux" with double 'n'. Among French pastry shops, the spelling "cannelé" is still prevalent to this day.

It is better to serve the small canelé with cocktails, and the big version for dessert at the end of a meal. The drink matters little, as the canelé accommodates itself equally well with champagne as with tea, and goes with all types of wine.

The canelé is light and easy to carry or ship, thanks to its solidity. If it collapses during transportation, it deforms a little and a light reshaping makes it revert to its initial shape.


  • whole milk
  • unsalted butter
  • cake flour
  • salt
  • baker's sugar
  • egg yolks
  • dark rum
  • vanilla extract

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