Sunday, February 01, 2009

(Belated) January Daring Bakers' Challenge: Tuiles

How I long for summer.

Given the decedence of last month's yule log challenge, how fitting that the Daring Bakers kicked off the new year with something light. For January, Karen a.k.a. Baking Soda at Bake My Day! and Zorra a.k.a. Kochtopf at 1x umrühren bitte challenged us, the daring bakers of the internets, to create tuiles, a thin, crisp cookie that is molded into various traditional shapes while still warm. They may be rolled into cylandars and filled with whipped cream, shaped into cones for ice cream, made into fluted baskets -- you name it. This particular recipe comes from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink. Vegan and Chocolate Tuiles can be found in Finest Desserts by Michel Roux.

For me, the best part about this challenge was that it gave me an excuse to try out of one of my favorite Christmas presents, David Leibovitz's The Perfect Scoop. In honor of Rafael Nadal's ass-stomping performance at the Aussie Open, I decided to go with the Spanish treat Leche Merengada: a frozen meringue with a hint of lemon and cinnamon. (Sidenote: If some tool shed tries to tell you that  an ice cream maker is not an essential tool for a baker, run. Run far and run fast, because that person is trying to suck your life force.)

Jesus, Rafa, can't you wait a half hour? 

I was too lazy to try to make stencils for my tuiles, so at first I tried piping some free-form circles and butterflies. Except after a few minutes in the oven, my butterflies started to look like ladybugs. Actually, that one in the lower right-hand corner kind of looks like a butt. You can understand why I didn't try any more butterflies.

Maybe if I shaped them with a rolling pin? 
Trust me, they don't look any more like butterflies right-side up.

Now they looked like Pringles, which was a slight improvement, but not exactly what I was going for. On to the cigars.

Just a cigar.

Muuuuuch better. The easiest way I found to shape the cookies was to pick them up with a spatula directly from the oven and drape them over the round handle of a wooden spoon. Then, using a kitchen towel to protect your fingers, gently mold the cookie around the handle (or dowel, or whatever) and hold it there until it firms up, about 45 seconds.

The end result: crispy, buttery, delicious. A perfect accompaniment to the delicate flavor of the Leche Merengada. This paring could only possibly be improved by the addition of a little espresso poured over the top. Maybe not for Rafa, though. He's hyper enough.