The origins of the Canelés go way back in the Bordeaux, France region history. It is said to be coming from the fact that wine makers were using egg whites to clarify their wine and that yolks were left unused. They were then given to nuns who came up with the recipe. When you consider how much wine comes out of the Bordelais every year, this represents a considerable amount of Canelés.
What is usually more surprising is that an essential ingredient to a traditional Canelé is beeswax… beeswax?!?!
Yes you heard right, beeswax is traditionally used in a mixture of butter or oil depending on the recipes to coat the Canelé mold’s inside and “grease” it. It also contributes to the brown caramelized aspect of these delicious pastries and can give them a honey like flavor.
As much as it is not a very appetizing ingredient to look at (I mean, you make candles and beauty products with that stuff), beeswax is considered to be the ingredient that will guarantee authenticity. For having tried to bake with and without beeswax, I will say that there is definitely a difference but both versions are good.
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