Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge: The Tuiles Go Round and Round

January’s challenge finds the Daring Bakers hoping to be forgiven for the sins of our holiday indulgences.

Tuiles, this month’s recipe, are more about technique than calories.

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at this cookie: so French, so chic.

Traditionally, Tuiles are a thin, crisp almond cookie 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.

But as often happens with a traditional cookie -- other cultures have their way with it and make it their own -- fortune cookie anyone?

Our hosts this month are Dutch so they have put their own spin on this month’s challenge. The Dutch angle: traditionally this batter was used to bake flat round cookies on 31st December, representing the year unfolded. 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 unfold.

The web site PastrySample has more information as well as a few recipes for Tuiles.

Our hosts allowed us our choice of sweet or savory batters and gave us the freedom to mold the cookies into the shape of our choice.

The other part of the challenge was to pair our Tuiles with something equally as light such as a sorbet or a mousse.

I chose the sweet batter over the savory and got to work. The batter we used was certainly not a traditional French Tuile batter – no almonds.

I searched my local culinary stores for Tuile stencils but no luck. I bought a dragonfly cookie cutter at Sur La Table and made my own.

I initially tried to pipe a pattern on my cookies but the effect was more demon dragonfly than cute dragonfly.

Instead, I tinted the batter a light blue and hoped the effect would be chic and not ick.

I guess I must have calloused bakers fingers because it was no trouble to quickly scoop the cookie off the hot cookie sheet and shape the wings into graceful flight.

I paired my little dragonflies with a tart Valencia orange sorbet. The effect was a vibrant splash on this chilly January day.

I wouldn’t have thought of shaping the cookie into anything other than the traditional curved shape so I’m grateful to our hosts for this idea.

It was a quick and easy challenge and it made me want to attempt other recipes and shapes for Tuile cookies. In fact, I’m thinking a nice chocolate mousee with a few flying hearts might be just the perfect ending for that cupid inspired date coming up in February.

But, then again, I never underestimate the Daring Bakers – next month’s challenge is coming up soon and I have a feeling our hosts just might try to help cupid.

And now the fine print:

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.