Daring Bakers, January: Tuiles
This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Baking Soda 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.
You can find the recipes behind the links I provided above to their Web sites. Me? I liked this month's project--I didn't have as much time as I would've liked to go wildly artistic (I was picturing dragonflies, flowers, dioramas, entire storyboards made out of tuile!!! Although that didn't happen, I was still able to have fun!
We were allowed to bake savory and/or sweet tuiles, and I went for sweet. We were directed to put them on something "light," like mousse, sorbet, or a light soup, in observance of January's "eat light" directive that a lot of people follow as New Year's resolutions. My dessert wasn't all that light--panna cotta topped with apricot mousse: I dubbed it panna apricotta. Basically, I made it because I thought the name up, and it cracked me up whenever I thought about it. Heh!
Most of my tuile batter went into butterflies, but I did make a few apricot shapes. Thought I defeated the purpose of it's big bottom dimple (minds out of gutters, please) by plunging them into the mousse.
I served the first round as dessert for Sunday dinner, adding just a bit of food coloring here and there to have slight variants between the butterflies.
The next day, I was running around, but I took a few moments to play around with the same template and get used to working with the batter.
And I made a few cornets. And perched butterflies on them because I had so many. Butterfly invasion!
Chill your batter! I left mine in for over an hour, and it was a thick paste by the time I took it out. This thickness made spreading it within the template easy. I noticed that the batter would loosen up quickly, however, so I'd store it in the fridge between batches.
For templates, I tried using the plastic lid off a cottage cheese container and the thick paperboard backing off a notepad, which was about twice as thick as the plastic, but still well under 1/16 inch. I first drew the templates on paper, cut them out, then stenciled the shapes onto my template material, and finally, slice them out with an x-acto blade.
The lid was almost too thin, and I had to spread the batter across the shape very carefully so I wouldn't accidentally scrape too much away or have an uneven layer. The thinness led to quick browning. The paperboard was better, but it was after all paper, and was a bit mucky by the end-not deteriorated, really-just . . . moist. It obviously wasn't reusable.
Piping the batter also worked fine, but it worked best with very cold batter, since as it sat out and warmed, its piped shape melted a bit. By the time the tray got into the oven, the shapes that had been piped first mostly all oozed together. In the photo, the butterfly to the right was piped first. Putting the tray in the fridge for a bit before baking helped, but I probably could've left it in there longer.
I kept batches small when I wanted to work with the shapes, making three butterflies at a time, then dropping them into a propped-open manila folder where they could cool, holding their shape. Plus, I was able to vary how much or how little their wings were open.
All in all, it was a fun challenge, and pretty easy to put together! They'll be nice to keep on file for times I need a small touch of elegance. If you want to check out what the rest of my highly talented DB peers are up to, you can track them through the Daring Bakers Blogroll!