Daring Bakers' Challenge: Tuiles

Ahhh. A new year, a new challenge. This time around, we're talking the whisper thin lightness of tuiles. French for "tile," tuiles are traditionally thin, crisp cookies with a gently curved shape resembling that of, you guessed it (Didn't you?), a roofing tile.

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. These lovely ladies were also kind enough to allow for a savory option with a recipe from Thomas Keller. And me being me, I resolved to go with a savory tuile, and beat my own drum while I was at it.

Years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for panelle, aka fabulously amazing chickpea fritter-like things. While very popular as Sicilian street fare, these were, for me, a new found food so delicious, I wondered what took me so long to find them. Then tuiles came to be the challenge du mois (of the month, people). The light bulb over my head burst and I decided on chickpea flour, the primary ingredient in panelle. And while I was unsure it would work, I couldn't stop myself from this possible brush with disaster.

So, imagine that (and my surprise). An actual experiment that did not go horribly South! Never mind that I yielded less than half of what I should have - I ate the "bad" ones (oops, that's broken, oops that's broken). Simple to make, delicious to eat, and so thin and light, you can hardly tell you're eating buttered chickpea flour. Now that's amazing.

Thank you Daring Bakers for another fabulous discovery in the world of baking! If you'd like to see the recipes, head on over to Bake My Day and take a look! If you'd like to know what I did, keep reading...

Savory Chickpea Tuiles
inspired by The French Laundry Cookbook

65 g/2.25 oz chickpea flour
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold

Preheat the oven to 400°

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. Beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients with a whisk until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter 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.

Make 3, 2-inch hollow circular stencils spaced ½ inch apart (I used a thin plastic organizing folder). Place a Silpat (or similar) on a cool baking sheet. (If your baking sheet has raised edges, leave the Silpat on your counter and move it to the baking sheet just before baking.) Have a rounded surface such as a large-handled whisk or rolling pin clean and standing by.

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. Run the spatula across the surface of the stencil to remove any excess batter. Be sure not to leave any voids in the batter.

Lift the stencil and repeat the process, filling the Silpat while leaving about ½ inch in between the rounds.

Bake for approximately 3-4 minutes (watch the first couple of batches carefully to get the timing right), or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. There should be very light browning.

Remove the pan from the oven and, using a thin knife, transfer the tuiles to rest on the rounded surface. As the tuiles cool, they will lose their ability to bend, so work quickly.

Wipe the Silpat clean and allow it and the pan to cool before continuing with the next batch. Cooled tuiles may be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Promises, Promises

I feel like we've been here before. I went away. Disappeared. No note, no phone call, nada. Then, I come back, tossing apologies, promises for a new, different, more attentive person, and hoping that you'll stick around to see it.

Now, I won't blame you if you decide that it's just time for us to say goodbye, because, really, that would be, well, let's just say I'd understand. And I'm not going to say "But this time..." because I can't promise there won't be a next time.

But this time, I see so much in our future together. In fact, I even have some things to tell you about that I just couldn't seem to get to at the time. I've been stuck, you see, and not the kind of stuck that happens when you throw yourself against a velcro wall while wearing a velcro suit, but...come to think of it, that might be fun, in the beginning, anyway. And who could argue with that?

"Where have you been?!"
"Stuck on a velcro wall."

So, please. Do as you will, and I'll do as I do, and maybe we'll meet again, somewhere in the middle.