Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hazelnut Tuiles

I emerged from my first experience with tuiles with several flat cookies, a burnt finger and a bad temper. Even as I refused to taste the cookies in my disappointment, I knew that there would have to be a retribution soon. About two weeks later, I attempted the recipe from Michel Roux's Finest Desserts again. This time, I didn't change anything in the original recipe --no substitutions, certainly no changes in the measurements. To my relief, my tuiles were very complying this time, seperating from the pan easily and curling readily. I concluded that I must have made measurement errors that first time while trying to halve the recipe.

According to Mr. Roux, these cookies will keep well for a week in an airtight container. Unfortunately, my leftovers had lost their crunch (and curl) by next day although I did keep them in an airtight container. I am not sure if humidity was the culprit here, or something I did/didn't. At any case, I think that these delicious cookies are best served shortly after baked.

  • 4 1/2 tbs egg whites
  • 7 tbs sugar
  • 5 tsp flour
  • 1 1/4 c hazelnut flour
  • 4 tsp hazelnut oil
Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Mix in the sugar with a fork. Then add the flour, hazelnut flour and the hazelnut oil, mixing with the fork as you add new ingredients. Cover and let rest for an hour at room temperature.

Meanwhile you can prepare yourself a template (2 3/4 in diameter) for your cookies. I fashioned mine from a yogurt container cover. Also check your home, and gather all kinds of round gadgets to use as molds. I can tell you from personal experience that you will need more than your rolling pin.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F. Mix the batter briefly with a fork. Position your template on your baking tray. (Michel Roux recommends to bake the tuiles on chilled baking trays, but I did not do so; and the results were still good.) Put a little tuile batter in its hole, and spread it to the sides with a spatula. Carefully lift up the template. Repeat until you fill up the tray.

After you place your tray in the oven, lower the temperature to 400F. Bake for 5 minutes or until very pale golden. Remove the tray; working quickly (and taking care not to burn yourself), lift the tuiles from the tray with a spatula and mold them on a rolling pin or tuile mold. Let cool before you lift them off the molds. Store in an airtight container if not to be served immediately.

With these, you can choose between two textures, depending on the way you are molding them. The side of the cookies touching the cooking tray is smooth, and the other side is nubbly with hazelnuts. You can see both kinds in the bigger picture above.

Tuiles are delicious eaten plain, but they also make nifty holding pieces for all kinds of goodies. To continue with the hazelnut theme, I piped some Nutella in some, and this was an instant favorite with the kids.