Another year has also passed for the Daring Bakers group. And after a month of hectic baking for most of us due to the Christmas holidays, our hosts for this month are certainly being kind (read on and you'll know what I mean). This January's challenge is being hosted by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte. Both ladies are passionate bread bakers, so we were expecting something with yeast. But no, it's something totally unexpected - they have come up with a tuile challenge!
Again this recipe is something new to me and I had to search out the word "tuile" before nodding my head and saying "hmmm, so this is what it looks like". I've probably had it as a garnish to desserts without even thinking much about it. Both Karen and Zorra gave us a lot of leeway with this recipe - we just need to make the tuiles and add an accompaniment to it. It's a way to show each baker's creativity, which is what I like so much about this Group. 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. (If you do a search in google for "tuiles", what will pop up would be a combination of cookie and roof tiles - this is something I recently discovered). For this month's challenge, Karen and Zorra have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.
I decided on a basic tuile recipe and came up with a few variations of it. The first was Lemon Scented Tuiles, the second was Pistachio Vanilla Tuiles and the last one was 5-Spice Sesame Tuiles. To create the different tuile shapes I used a disposable plastic party plate, cut out the centre and drew the shapes directly on it. The tuile batter was then thinly spread over the cut outs, the template lifted and the battered shape will be imprinted onto the silicon paper. For the lemon scented tuiles, I created flame shapes and used the tuiles to decorate the sides of a strawberry mousse cake that I had made. The pistachio vanilla tuiles were shaped like potato chips and were sandwiched with fresh cream and pomegranate. And finally a 5-Spice Sesame Tuiles which were shaped into Chinese soup spoons - these was accompanied with either spicy tuna with capers or a mushroom ragoo.
Basic Tuiles Recipe
Yields about thirty 6 cm circles
65g unsalted softened butter (not melted but soft)
60g sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (or you could use any other flavouring of your choice)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65g sifted all purpose flour
Silicon sheet to line baking trays (if using parchment, lightly grease the paper)
1) Preheat your oven to 180C.
2) Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed), 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 not to overmix the batter. (You can substitute the vanilla sugar with any other flavouring of your choice such as orange zest with s tsp of orange extract, coffee essence or extract, nutmeg, all spice, etc)
3) 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).
4) Line a baking sheet with silicon paper (or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes). In the meantime, using a disposable plastic plate (or any type of plastic that is firm) cut out the bottom and draw your shapes directly onto the plastic. Using a pair of scissors out the shape so that you will have a template.
5) Press the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter thinly covering the cut out shape. Leave some room in between the shapes to ensure for spreading of the batter.
6) Bake the tuiles for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from baking sheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape.