First off, a warning. This is a really long entry.
Now that I’ve warned you, I’d like to add another little blurb. In case you were wondering why my blog seems to only contain Daring Bakers entries the past several months, it’s because I cannot cook or bake on anywhere near even a somewhat daily basis due to my injury. Once I’m all healed up, you’ll be seeing a lot more entries along with the DB and other challenges.
Not quite the Venus de Milo
With that said, I had to skip last month’s Daring Bakers challenge due to the rec kitchen being used for holiday preparations and services, and the many steps in preparing the Buche De Noel. Although I’m quite familiar with the Buche De Noel, and make several of them every Christmas, the layered, frozen version of it would have been extremely difficult to execute in my wheelchair due to the lack of available space. Add to that the crazy amount of equipment my friends and family would have had to lug over – I didn’t want to burden them during the holiday fracas.
To say I was bummed is an understatement. I was dying to take part in it, and found myself mentally concocting flavors and decor, even though I knew it was all for naught. Due to the aforementioned bummer, I went a little crazy with this month’s challenge – Tuile Cookies.
Before I get to this month’s challenge, I’d like to update you all on my medical situation. I’m home now, due to my insurance running out DUE to the whacky opinion of the first orthopedist and the 1 1/2 months I spent at the center trying to rehab a knee that wasn’t surgically repaired. I wanted to leave the center using a cane, with the ability to get up my stairs without %$%#ing railings. Well, you can’t have everything, right?
I have a physical therapist who comes to my home only twice a week, so my progress has definitely slowed down a bit. However, we’re working on tackling the most important stairs for me, the stairs down to the kitchen, along with 90 degree knee bending, which is the worst, most excruciatingly painful part of this.
Back to the stairs to the kitchen, my favorite place in the world. There are only two steps, but they’re big and steep, and, as mentioned above, there’s nothing to hold onto to get up or down them. Even when I do manage to do it with comfort and I guess you could say ease, which still isn’t easy, the ability to cook and bake is null and void . Until I can use both hands to retrieve stuff from the fridge and cupboards and stand for long periods steadily, I’m out of commission en la cucina.
Because of all of the above, for this month’s challenge I gathered a rotating entourage of friends and family to bring the equipment and ingredients to the breakfast nook right above the Mount Everest of kitchen stairs. I sit at a table, internally (and sometimes externally) bitching and moaning because I can’t do this stuff myself. Their duties (heh) also include putting stuff in the oven and taking it out, which posed a slight problem in this month’s tuile challenge since you have such a small window of time to shape them. Because of that, I didn’t do much shaping and stuck to basic squares, triangles, rectangles, circles. I rolled one batch into Pirouette like cookies, so that was a ‘move fast’ feat in itself.
Regardless, I’m so thankful for their time and help, more than words could ever convey. Even the leftovers my parents brought me for lunch yesterday was more than appreciated (throw some scraps to the invalid is a running joke we have going). When it came time to cook the coconut cream and limoncello-lemon curd, I used an electric fondue pot. Surprisingly, it worked well. When you have an injury that prevents you from doing some of the most simple things in life, it’s amazing how resourceful you become.
Everyone was rewarded (well, the absolute least I could do for them at this juncture) with a tuile dessert a week, for three weeks. Although enjoyed, I’m pretty sure they’re sick of them by now.
Finally, onto this month’s Daring Bakers challenge. As usual, I’d like to thank this month’s hosts; Karen aka Baking Soda of Bake My Day! and Zorra aka Kochtopf at 1x umruhren bitte This couldn’t have been a more perfect challenge for me in terms of ease and creativity, due to my current situation.
I decided to go with some sweet tuile batter variations of down home dessert favorites such as lemon meringue pie, coconut-banana cream pie, and some sort of cinnamon cookie along the lines of a snickerdoodle, all with a twist. I used the savory tuile recipe to make one of my ‘famous’ party appetizer recipes The recipe is a version of boursin cheese using mascarpone instead of cream cheese, and served with homemade garlic-chive bread.
This time, I added a relish to it, a tomato – horseradish relish. It’s not only aesthetically beautiful, but it’s a perfect flavor addition to this preparation. But, when this month’s challenge was announced, I thought, ‘Why not some garlic-chive tuiles instead?’ They’re delicate and not as sturdy as the bread (so it’s probably better to spread the cheese on them instead of dipping), but they pair beautifully with the cheese.
First layer of Limoncello Meringue Napoleon, or just serve like this, a pistachio tuile lemon meringue cookie sandwich!
With that said, I did encounter several catastrophes, especially with the Limoncello Meringue Napoleons. A huge tray of gorgeous corkscrew tuiles crashed to the floor and I was only able to salvage a few corkscrew pieces for presentation. With all the running back and forth to the oven to keep them pliable, that was an hour of my friend’s time and my asbestos hands, wasted.
Even worse, the fully assembled napoleons had to sit for an hour due to my forgetting to ask someone to bring me the mint and lemon peel for the final presentation. I didn’t have another someone in the vicinity, so waiting was my only option. This resulted in droopy, weeping meringue filling, which you can plainly see in the finished napoleon photo below. I also broke about a million tuile bowls for the coconut cream bowls. Those became edible ART (see the first photo in this entry).
Here are the Daring Bakers master recipes for sweet and savory tuile batter, followed by my recipes. Please scroll down through all the recipes to view more photos.
Sweet Tuile Recipe
From”The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.
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
1. 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).
2. 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.
3. 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 etc.
Un-glutenize the batter given by substituting the flour for any nut meal or oat flour.
Savory Tuile/Cornet recipe
From Thomas Keller’s 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
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. 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.
2.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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Limoncello Meringue – Pistachio Napoleons
Weepy meringue, tired of sitting!
Limoncello Lemon Curd
- Grated zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 3 to 4 lemons)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 7 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 1/4 cup limoncello liqueur
- 8 large egg whites
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachios (salted or unsalted, your choice)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the Limoncello-Lemon Curd
1.Finely grate the lemon zest. Squeeze enough juice to equal 1/2 cup. Strain juice through a fine, wire-meshed strainer. Set aside.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to come 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. In a heat-resistant bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and slightly thickened. Add the reserved zest and juice and whisk to combine.
3. Set the bowl with the egg mixture over the simmering water and whisk constantly until mixture thickens, 10 to 12 minutes. The mixture will turn a light yellow color and coat the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk the diced butter into the curd, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Stir in the limoncello. Strain the curd through a wire-meshed strainer and place in a clean, non-reactive container. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Chill completely in the fridge.
For the Swiss Meringue
1. Fill a medium saucepan with enough water to come 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. In a heat-resistant bow, lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C).
2. Pour hot whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip with a wire whip until double in volume on MEDIUM-HIGH speed. When the mixer stops, the meringue should not move around in the bowl.
For the Pistachio Sugared Tuile Squares
1. Grind the pistachios with the sugar in a food processor until fine.
2. Using a 2 1/2 to 3-inch square template, spread 18 squares of the above sweet tuile batter recipe on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each square with pistachio sugar and bake as directed.
1. Fill a pastry bag, using any tip you prefer, with the swiss meringue, leaving some extra meringue for the plates and topping. Fill another pastry bag and tip with the limoncello curd. OPTIONALLY, you can spoon the lemon curd onto the tuiles if you’d like.
2. Place a small dollop of the swiss meringue on a plate and top with one pistachio tuile square, sugared side up. Pipe dots (or just spoon some on) of the curd on top of the tuile to cover, then decoratively pipe some meringue over the curd. Using a torch or your oven broiler, brown the meringue (For this preparation, I highly recommend investing in a kitchen or blow torch if you don’t have one. It’s SO much quicker and VERY easy).
3. Top the meringue with a dot of limoncello curd (to hold the second tuile in place) and then the second tuile, sugared side up, and repeat the above on the second tuile. Top with one more tuile square. Pipe the center of the top tuile with a swirl of meringue (brown if desired) and garnish with candied lemon peel, fresh mint and tuile corkscrews (roll thin, piped lines of baked tuiles around a pencil or wooden spoon).
4. Repeat with 5 more plates so you have 6 individual servings. Each napoleon should contain 3 tuile squares.
Camembert – Mascarpone Garlic Cheese Rillettes with Tomato-Horseradish Relish and Garlic-Chive Tuiles
Mascarpone-Camembert Garlic Herb Cheese
- 3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
- 2 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1/3 cup cubed Camembert cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (or more to taste) fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped chives for assembly
- 1 cup diced grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar
- salt aand pepper to taste
For the Cheese;
1. In a food processor, combine the camembert, mascarpone, butter, cheese and garlic. Mix at full speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until uniform. Add the lemon juice, then pulse until combined. Remove the mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped red onion and dill.
2. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl or pack into 4-10 (depending on the size you use. I used eight 3-inch ring molds) individual ring molds and let chill, covered, on a baking sheet until firm. The longer it sits in the fridge before serving, the more flavorful.
For the Tomato-Horseradish Relish;
1. Combine all ingredients and let marinate at room temperature for at least an hour. Store any leftover in an airtight container in the fridge.
For the Garlic-Chive Tuiles
1. Follow the recipe for savory tuiles above, omitting the black sesame seeds. Add 2 cloves finely chopped garlic to the batter. Using about a 2 to 3-inch triangle template, spread about 20-30 triangles onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Top each triangle with chopped, fresh chives. Bake as directed.
1. Garnish bowl of Garlic – Herb Cheese with tomato relish and serve with the garlic-chive tuiles. If using ring molds for individual servings, dip the outside of the mold in hot water and gently pop out each round of cheese. Roll the sides of each mini-cheese round in chopped chives and place onto a serving place. Stick several of the garlic-chive tuiles into each round, around the top, and spoon some tomato-horseradish relish in the middle.
Note – Sometimes I add smoked trout or smoked salmon to the cheese mixture. Just add last and pulse in the food processor.
Coconut Cream Bowls with Bruleed Bananas and Coconut Tuiles
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil*
- fresh or packaged coconut flakes, toasted AND untoasted
- 6 bananas, peeled, split vertically, and cut horizontally into thirds – you should have 24 halves of banana
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- melted chocolate of your choice
F6r the Coconut Cream
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk to a boil. reduce the heat to low and keep on a slow simmer.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and cornstarch until combined. Temper the egg mixture with a little of the hot coconut milk. Pour the milk-egg mixture back intio the saucepan with the rest of the coconut milk and stir, cooking on low heat until it coats the back of a spoon.
3. Remove from heat, then stir in the butter, vanilla extract and coconut oil. Strain through a sieve into another bowl, cover the top of the cream with plastic wrap and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Bruleed Bananas
1. Place the banana halves on a baking sheet and sprinkle each half with about 1 Tablespoon sugar. Either put under the broiler until caramelized or use a kitchen torch on each one. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Set aside to harden and cool until ready to assemble.
For the Tuile Bowls and Coconut Tuiles
1. Using the recipe for sweet tuile batter above, spread six 5 to 6-inch circles on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Also spread 4 or more off kilter triangles (you can use a premade or homemade template for both). Sprinkle the triangles with untoasted coconut flakes. Bake as directed above.
2. Immediately mold the circles around upside down 5-inch bowls. Dip the tops of the bowls in melted chocolate if desired.
1. Fill each tuile bowl with some of the coconut cream. Place 4 bruleed bananas around each bowl, resting each from the center to the edge (you might want to place each tuile bowl in a regular bowl that fits, since the bananas can weigh down the tuile and crack it). Drizzle with some melted chocolate and top with toasted coconut. Place a coconut tuile triangle or two into the coconut cream, in the center of each bowl. Makes six individual servings.
*Coconut oil is available in Asian or specialty markets
Nutella filled Cinnamon Sticks
1. Add two teaspoons of cinnamon to the above sweet tuile batter recipe. Spread about 20 2 by 5-inch rectangles on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra cinnamon or cinnamon sugar. Bake as directed, then while still warm, roll tightly around the handle of a wooden spoon or a pencil.
2. Fill a pastry bag with a small, plain tip with Nutella (homemade or jarred) and pipe gently into each side of the cinnamon stick until full. Makes about 20 sticks.
Well, that’s all folks. Please make sure to visit the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see what luscious creations my fellow Daring Bakers came up with.