Looking for a new and beautiful way to show someone you love them? Tired of sending roses or a box of chocolates? Why not make edible, delicate flowers filled with chocolate that will delight the eye and the taste buds. You'll be earning some major hugs and kisses, that's for sure.
I'll be honest. My husband and I have been married for 20 years now, and we don't celebrate Valentine's Day. No cards, no flowers. Maybe a small box of chocolates for my daughter and I to share but that's it. Oh, believe me the love and caring is still there. He clears the snow off my car, keeps me stocked in funny socks, and shows that I'm special in a thousand different ways each day. It's just that I can't see making him dress up in uncomfortable clothes to take me out to dinner where we'd both think we had to say wondrous and magically romantic things all evening, instead of curling up together with some homemade pizza and a good mystery movie and enjoying it a whole lot more.
Once in awhile though, I want to go all out and make a show-stopping dessert that will knock those colorful socks right off, and this bouquet of chocolate mousse-filled tulle fits the bill.
First of all, how do you even say that word tuile? It's pronounced tweel, rhymes with wheel. Tuile are very thin, vanilla-flavored cookies made from a thin batter, spread onto parchment and baked for just a few minutes. Traditionally they're draped over a round shape, with the resulting cookie resembling an old Mediterranean roofing tile. Think very, very upscale, sweet Pringles.
Tuile are a favorite of pastry chefs, as they can be formed in so many different shapes and can even be spread over stencils to make individual unique cookies. I've seen tuile "coffee cups" filled with mousse and served with a tuile spoon. Tuile cigars are popular, too.
I won't kid you, these are delicate to work with and some breakage will occur, but you'll be very surprised and pleased at how easy it is to work with the batter and how incredible the taste and texture of these wafers is. You could even just bake them flat, no extra shaping, and you'll have fans clamoring for more.
Let's make some Tuile.
Why the double sifting? Two main reasons. You want the flour light and fluffy to incorporate easily, and you want no little lumps and bumps to interfere with the smoothness of the batter.
To the sifted flour, add 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, 4 large egg whites, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Whisk the batter slowly until it's smooth and lump-free. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl a few times. Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 60 minutes, but no longer than 2 hours.
While the batter is resting and hydrating, prepare your tools for shaping. You can use small ovenproof ramekins, the backs of muffin tins, or for taller blooms, I like to use a shot glass. Spritz it well with cooking spray; this will keep your tuile from sticking.
Why one pan and not two? Tuile bake very quickly, and if you're going to shape them, you need to work fast. The second tray of cookies will harden before you can get to them for shaping, so work with just one tray at a time.
Place a 1 1/4" ball of batter on each end of the parchment paper. Leave LOTS of space! Our teaspoon scoop works very well for this.
Use a small offset spatula or even the back of a spoon to spread the batter into a circle about 5" around. The batter should spread very smoothly, and be quite thin. You'll need to test a couple of cookies and adjust the batter with a little milk if it's too thick. This batter was just a wee bit thick.
This batter was just a touch too thin. The area where the words are in the photo is the perfect texture. You can almost see right through the batter, but not quite.
You can see that the moisture caused the parchment to wrinkle. Wrinkles are not a good thing; they'll cause weak spots in your tuile.
Parchment is an excellent tool for this kind of baking, and you'll need several sheets. Once you've baked one or two rounds on a sheet, it will naturally start to wrinkle and you'll need to swap it out for a clean, fresh sheet. Save the used sheets, though; they're fine to use for other baking that doesn't require perfect sheets.
If you have a silicone baking mat, such as our cookie baking mat, those work wonderfully as well.
Bake the tuile for 4 to 5 minutes, or until barely golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and very quickly lift up the first tuile with a thin-edged spatula or knife. Quickly drape it over your shot glass and gently press down. **This will be VERY HOT!!** Move quickly and you should be fine; the tuile cool very fast.
See how these cookies didn't quite drape beautifully and aren't quite see-through? That means the batter is too thick, so adjust with a few drizzles of milk.
Remove the shot glass and let the tuile flower cool completely.
When you have several tuile done, arrange them carefully on a platter so that they support each other like a bouquet of flowers. Try not to hold them by their delicate edges or you'll find the "petals" breaking off.
Fill each tuile with your choice of fillings. Light mousse really pairs well with the flaky cookies. I adore our chocolate mousse mix, but you can use whatever makes you happy.
Top each flower with a fresh raspberry or strawberry, tucking in fresh mint leaves if desired. This assembly step should take place no more than 20 minutes before serving, so that the tuile don't get soggy from the filling.
You can serve individual tuile as well. Our simple pastry cream filling mix is a nice change from chocolate, and would be perfect for summer.
So now that you're a tuile master, you can experiment with different shapes, fillings and toppings. How about a tuile bowl filled with coffee mousse for a pick-me-up? Tuile cigars rolled around the handle of a wooden spoon are delightful dipped in chocolate fondue or homemade ice cream. The possibilities are as boundless as your imagination.
Tuile we meet again, happy baking!
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