January 29, 2009

DB Sweet and Savory Vegan Tuiles

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.

The grand Daring Baker saga continues this month with tuiles. Our hosts were kind enough to give us a choice of making either regular sweet tuiles, nougatine (shaped caramelized sugar with nuts) or savory tuiles. We were told to pick one of the batters, shape the tuiles and pair them with something light. I wanted to do something interesting with the shaping but knew that my son and husband wouldn't be impressed with pretty butterflies or flowers. In a spur of the moment baking session with Alex, my son, I made my first batch of spiders and snake shaped tuiles. I had made the decision to go vegan this month after using eggs in a couple recent DB challenges, so I chose the veganized recipe from Vegan Yum Yum. I loved that it uses my favorite egg replacer, flax seed meal, and that it was so simple. The practice tuiles were delicious and fun to make however I realized that my son would be more interested in something that could hold ice cream than a cookie shaped like a snake.

So I made another batch in the daytime, when I knew I could get a decent photograph. For this batch I made cones and combined them with a mixed berry sorbet. They were a HUGE hit!! With my son's dairy allergies he's never had ice cream in a waffle cone or sugar cone, only the premade Styrofoam-like cake cones. Suddenly a whole new world of ice cream pleasure was open to him. They were sweet and I let them caramelize more than the cookies which paired perfectly with my homemade sorbet, which I keep on the tart side. This success spurred me to make another batch to bring to a "Summer in January" event, along with plum sorbet made with my horded frozen local plums.

I felt that my skills were advancing enough that I had to try my hand at the savory tuiles as well. Our savory tuile recipe comes from The French Laundry Cookbook. I have a copy on my shelf and flip longingly through it's pages thinking, "Today will be the day I attempt this." But I rarely do. Also, I'm a huge fan of non-fiction food books that aren't cookbooks and the descriptions of Phoebe Damrosch in Service Included struggling on her open oven door with these tuile cornets challenged me further. However, I still really wanted to commit to the vegan path this month. So I did the unthinkable and messed with a Thomas Keller recipe. The savory tuiles were as challenging as Phoebe describes and that's with my precaution of cooking only two at a time. However I did get a good half dozen that were suitable for the camera.

To fill the savory cornets I made a refined version of a salad I eat quite often. It's essentially the flavors of an avocado and cucumber maki roll without the rice. I dress diced cucumber with seasoned rice vinegar, mix them with chopped avocado and top it all with sesame seeds and seasoned seaweed. I usually just haphazardly chop everything and throw it in a bowl but for the cornets I carefully diced the cucumber and avocado. For the seaweed I recommend Sea's Gift (photo at the end), which is awesome stuff! I also attempted this soy caviar recipe but as written it uses a huge amount of soy sauce. I couldn't divide it properly and my kitchen scale doesn't read in tenths of a gram. The "caviar" was a bust but I know it's my fault. With the pressure of remaking a Thomas Keller recipe, I felt I had to do something more so I took some precooked rice and deep fried it (a la sizzling rice soup). That made the final toasty addition to my cornet.

I can't thank Lolo of Vegan Yum Yum enough. I love the sweet tuile cones and see myself making them often. Once you get a hang of the timing and gentle touch needed, making them goes fast--though a little burning of your thumb and forefinger is required. While I liked the savory cornets well enough I think the recipe still could use some adjusting. Another filling might work better as well. The avocado was a little too rich combined with the savory tuile, which came out like a very buttery cracker. I do want to conquer that soy caviar too! I just need to get myself a better kitchen scale.

-For the complete, original versions of this month's recipes visit our hosts at: Bake My Day and 1x umrühren bitte.
-For the excellent sweet tuiles please use Vegan Yum Yum's Tuile Recipe
-For a good read try, Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter
-And, as always, please check out the Daring Baker Blogroll

My Basic Method for Sorbet
Makes ~1 quart, which goes fast in my house
1 1/2 pounds of fruit (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, cherries, etc)
1/2 to 1 1/4 cup sugar (every batch is different)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla vodka*, optional (or replace with appropriate liquor of your choice)
tiny pinch of salt
*This adds some flavor but also anti-freeze properties, which help keep the sorbet softer.

-If the fruit is frozen, defrost on the counter. If you are using plums or fresh blueberries I suggest adding the sugar and water and cooking just until the fruit starts to break down. I think you get more flavor this way. This is not necessary for frozen blueberries.
-Process the fruit (along with any juice left from defrosting) with 1/2 cup of sugar, the water, vodka and salt. Process til pureed and taste to see if additional sugar is needed, add if necessary. -Continue processing for a few minutes. Often you can get the fruit to foam, which will make a lighter product in the end. Sometime it won't happen much.
-Strain the puree to remove seeds. If you used cooked fruit then chill the mixture for at least 3 hours.
-Follow your ice cream maker's directions.

Savory Tuile Cornets*
Adapted from the recipe in Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook
*This is not a final recipe but just what I did if you want to experiment with it. I think that a little less of the flax seed meal and water mix might work better. Please let me know if you have any success with it.

8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
1 tablespoon flax seed meal mixed with 1/4 cup water, set aside for at least 5 minutes
~2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

-Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Make paper cones and secure with masking tape. Also make a 4-inch circle stencil with cardboard (like the kind that makes cereal boxes).
-Mix together the flour, sugar and salt.
-Beat the margarine until light and fluffy.
-Add flax seed meal mixture and beat together again until light and fluffy.
-Fold the flour mix into the margarine mixture.
-Place the stencil down onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the inside of the stencil with a little sesame seeds and spread batter on top. I suggest doing two at a time but if you are brave make more. Leave at least 1 inch between each circle.
-Bake 4-6 minutes and then take out and mold on your cone molds. This can be done on the door of the oven to keep the tuiles pliable. Or you can just do a few at a time.
-Place seam side down and bake again for 3-4 additional minutes until golden brown.
-Cool slightly (~30-45 seconds) and remove molds.
-Cool the rest of the way and fill.

My sous chef Alex and our practice tuilesMore practice tuiles
If you are a seaweed lover try this! It's finely shredded, sesame oil coated, sweetened seaweed
and is great on top of rice
or my combination of cucumber and avocado dressed with rice vinegar.