Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tuiles (Thin crisp and tasty)

Last month's Daring Baker's challenge was French Yule Log and it was super-rich (750 ml cream and 500 grams of dark chocolate and 100gms butter) so I was looking forward to something light for January's task. I was overjoyed that the New Year's challenge was tuiles (said 'tweels'), traditionally, tuiles are thin, crisp (almond) cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched form while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named. The Dutch angle: traditionally this batter was used to bake flat round cookies on 31st December, representing the year unfold. On New Years day however, the same batter was used but this day they were presented to well-wishers shaped as cigars and filled with whipped cream, symbolizing the New Year that's about to roll on. And of course the batter is sometimes called tulip-paste....

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 recipes were simple and I think this month's challenge was all about creativity how can you combine a thin, crisp sweet or savoury shape-able wafer with a tasty treat.

I made the stencils from an old plastic ice-cream container (1/2mm thick) and followed the recipes below. I found the recipes were simple and easy to follow, it is important is make the tuiles thin and bake then just till the edges are light brown. Work with only 4 to 6 tuiles at a time and work quickly to form the shape that you desire.

This was a very enjoyable challenge since I learnt so much; the tuile recipes are very versatile suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes. I did all three recipes. It was amazing how thin these tuiles can be baked. Be careful to use the same day they attract water very quickly and become moist and not as nice as a freshly cooked one. The one big tip is not to bake the tuiles for too long just enough that the batter has set  and the edges light brown this makes them really easy to mould to the shape that you need.

Cut-outs were made from an old ice-cream container (about 1/2mm thick) I did the classical tile shape, a fish and a star.

I used a vacuum hose to shape the tuile tile.

And a old aluminium picnic cup to shape the star tuile.

And my hands to shape the fish tuile.

The classical tuile I did with raspberry crème with mango and forest berries. The red stripe is raspberry sugar I made for Xmas.

The star shaped tuile I did with hard boiled eggs with creamy mayonnaise and curry powder.

The fish tuile was done with salmon pate with dill sauce. I used a ½ teaspoon of anchovy oil instead of the vanilla paste. My friends and I liked how it looked like the fish were swimming and circling the pate.

A very savoury tuile - linseed meal and 'baharat' herb mix (oregano, bell pepper, sumac, coriander, cumin, cloves, cardamon, sea salt)

Red berry sugar on the tips of the tuile looks pretty!

Following is a recipe taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.

Sweet Recipe:
Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

Savory tuile/cornet recipe
From Thomas Keller "the French Laundry Cookbook"

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (65 grams/2.1/4 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)**
8 tablespoons (114 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter (it is easier to work on the Silpat before it is put on the sheet pan). Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. After baking the first batch of cornets, you will be able to judge the correct thickness. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.

There should not be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds.

Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.

Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door.*** This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff to roll. Flip a cornet over on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down and place 4-1/2 inch cornet mold at the bottom of the round. If you are right-handed, you will want the pointed end on your left and the open end on your right. The tip of the mold should touch the lower left edge (at about 7 o'clock on a clock face) of the cornet.

Fold the bottom of the cornet and around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the cornets around molds; as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other, to prevent from rolling.

When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven shelf, close the door, and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown. If the color is uneven, stand the cornets on end for a minute or so more, until the color is even. Remove the cornets from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so.
Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Remove the Silpat from the baking sheet, wipe the excess butter from it, and allow it to cool down before spreading the next batch. Store the cornets for up to 2 days (for maximum flavor) in an airtight container.

Non-gluten recipe
From Michel Roux: Finest Desserts

5.1/4 cups / 500 grams sliced almonds
(or 4.1/3 cups/500 grams slivered almonds)
3.1/3 cups / 660 grams sugar
4 tbs / 60 grams butter (optional)
2 tbs oil (vegetable, sunflower, peanut)

Makes 2.3/4 lbs/1.2 kgs! (This is the yield of the recipe given in the book, feel free to downsize!)
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Preheat oven: 180C/350F

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned. Cook the sugar in a heavy based saucepan over low heat, stirring gently and continuously with a spatula, until it melts to a light golden caramel. Add the almonds and stir over low heat for 1 minute, then stir in the butter until completely absorbed. (This is not essential, but will give the nougat an added sheen) Pour the nougatine onto an oiled baking sheet.

Shaping: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable. Work with one piece at a time, of a size appropriate to the shape you want. Roll out each piece on a warm, lightly oiled baking sheet or lightly oiled marbled surface. It is essential to work quickly, since the nougatine rapidly becomes brittle. Heat the nougatine in a microwave oven for a few seconds only to soften it if needed.

Roll the nougatine into the appropriate thickness for your desired shape, but never thicker than 1/8 inch or 3 mm. Quickly cut out your chosen shapes using cookie cutters, or the blade or heel of a chef’s knife. To mold the nougatine, drape it very rapidly over the mold so that it follows the shape and contours. Leave until completely cold before removing from the mold.
Or, cut out and using your fingers or a knife, push into folds or pleats… use as a basket, twirl round a knitting needle..

Nougatine based shapes can be made two or three days in advance, Keep them in a very dry place and do not fill with something like a mousse more than 2 hours prior to serving.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What to do with a can of tuna? Rissoles!

Every now and then you open the pantry door and all you have is a can of tuna and a tin of corn kernels and then you open the refrigerator a few left-overs; what to do for dinner?

Well looking over the left-overs in the frig I spied some cold potatoes, spring onions and also in the pantry was a packet of what was called KARE “Japanese Curry paste” (a combination of shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin, galangai, salt, pepper, vegetable oil).

So I thought – why not tuna rissoles! Simple and nutritious.


1 can (425 gms/15 oz) tuna in brine, drained
1 can (340 gms/13 oz) corn kernels, drained
4 small cold potatoes, cubed
1 packet (35 gms/1.2 oz) KARE “Japanese Curry paste”
2 eggs
¾ cup of packet bread crumbs
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon hot chilli sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
Extra breadcrumbs to cover patties

1.Place all of the ingredients into a large bowl.
2.Use your hands or a strong spoon stir until all the ingredients are combined. (Crush some of the pieces of potatoes so they form a paste which helps to combine the ingredients into patties).
3.Form ½ cup patties.
4.Cover in breadcrumbs.
5.Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 mins.
6.Pan fry for about 3 mins each side.
Makes about 8-9 patties.