Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tale of Two Tuiles

Tale of Two Tuiles? This is why I didn’t want to become a food blogger. You end up sounding slightly literary, somewhat creative, but mostly just goofy.

This is my account of participating in this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge. First the necessary verbiage to insure that the automatic “blog checker” counts me as having participated:

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of
Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

The hosts also chose a savory tuile recipe, but more on that later. We were also asked to pair the tuiles with something light and fruity.

Tuiles are French cookies shaped like roof tiles. They are baked and then, while still hot, molded on just about anything: rolling pins, wooden spoon handles, small bowls. You use a stencil to spread the batter on the pan. You can make the stencil any shape: circles, stars, flowers, butterflies.....really anything. You will see about a thousand blog entries today that reflect amazing creativity in shaping the tuiles. Me? I went for basic circles. I made my stencil out of a thin, plastic cutting board. I cut six 3” circles with very sharp scissors.

I think the Angelique Schmeink recipe is perfect. I followed the instructions and measurements exactly. The dough was easy to work with, easy to spread thin enough and baked up nicely. The vanilla-flavored tuile is very good all by it self. I paired mine with Morello Cherry Mousse and dark chocolate. I apologize for the yucky nighttime photos.

The savory recipe provided was by Thomas Keller of
The French Laundry fame. His tuile recipe is baked in a cone shape. He calls them cornets. The original recipe from his book and restaurant pairs the cornets with salmon tartare. I haven’t eaten raw fish in many years, but the reverence for everything Thomas Keller in the blogging and restaurant world had me thinking that maybe I should make an exception. It takes four months to get a reservation at The French Laundry, so who am I to question a recipe that has a one to ratio of butter to flour and requires special molds and black sesame seeds?

That one to one ratio of butter and flour is no joke. It’s essentially the same thing as deep-fried, people. When you remove the cornets from the oven for shaping, they are covered in hot bubbling butter. It’s acknowledged all over the web and by Thomas Keller himself that you are supposed to burn your fingers. The blogs of the Keller devotees made it abundantly clear that the cornets cannot really be made without special molds and that improvising had very mixed results. I used small rolling pins to make shapes that I planned to fill with Gorgonzola Mousse and ripe pears.

I’m sorry but I just didn’t get it. The cornets taste savory, as in too salty. They are very crisp but also quite buttery, which means greasy. This recipe was too fussy for me. I didn’t feel they deserved the effort of the mousse. So we ate all the components instead.

Thanks to the wonderful hosts who were very helpful at the Daring Bakers forum this month. The original challenge recipes are
here. I am very happy to have added tuiles to my repertoire.

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