The Tuile Good Factor
Todays spiel is about transience and tuile. No, not the ballet dancers ‘tu tu’ tulle, note the impish and careful placement of an ‘i’ which swiftly enables us to move on to an altogether different genre, though how you commit to one or two ‘L’s is a matter for poetic licence and conjecture since both seem acceptable? Some may say what the L” does it matter?
The transience being juncture, season and now fading arbours. It’s the end of the golden season, prodigal riches of harvest, humdrum realities as winter drawers on (read that as you will). I remain a stickler for scuffing through crispy, crunchy leaves for as long as possible sadly not even I could manage that en pointe. Cherio to the sun which has, until very recently, cast its ability to encourage a wrinkle covering freckle hither and thither. Luxurious, elongated chunky woolies, brogue-ish smiles provide an autumnal hug whilst the water lilies now shimmer on a darker water canvas, there’s no swanning around on this lake, Pete. (Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. Swan Lake,1876) Other love triangles are available.
Paragons of diluted freshness, there is a delicacy of skeletal decay and sullen chilly dampness in the air. Fortunately the warmly imagined time of giving is to be look forward to, or dreaded, depending on your particular point of view as our plans for the incessant decorating and gifting become more considered. The New Year becomes my literary hydra-point and new beginnings enjoyed thereafter.
Though fashionistas would lead us elsewhere, here I-C-M’s AW14’s ‘must have’ is biscuit, not camel, nor burnt berry (?).
We focus on the Tuile good factor, the crunch and frippery which adorns, the ‘backing singer’ to our beloved ice creams.
My long used, simple tuile base mix follows. Having fiddled and phaphed with variations over the years, this simple mix uses the ‘wallop it all in’ method which are highly comparable ‘to the bung it all in‘ and ‘lob it all in‘ methods. The quantity can be simply doubled by volume for big bash batches. The mix keeps for a week or two in the fridge, particularly handy if you need to show off yet appear casual and in control? All the serenity of a swan but paddling with manic panic below.
1/2 cup of unsalted butter
1 cup of icing sugar
3 egg whites
a splash of decent vanilla
process, then add 1 scant cup of plain flour and a pinch of fine salt.
Once mixed run your food processor for 30-60 seconds longer than you think, it makes for a very smooth and elastic base batter.
The mixture can then be split into 3-4 dishes if you fancy adding some extra flavours ….. here’s some I prepared earlier:-
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger to one batch with a pinch of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon few drips of orange essence
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa or a tiny amount of coffee essence
- 1/2 teaspoon cocoa 1/2 teaspoon beetroot juice (fresh, raw, grate then squeeze juice through disposable kitchen cloth)
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom or matcha green tea powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of desiccated coconut a spot of vanilla paste
- 1 teaspoon ground almonds with a tiny spot of almond essence
- 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (blitz or grind in a pestle and mortar if you don’t want the texture)
Throughly blend in batches or create your own? Note: I prefer to not add artificial colours in this instance. Store the batter in various flavours / disposable piping bags as you can see.
Pipe random leaf shapes as shown above or cut a stencil from a suitable plastic book cover, plastic lid or what ever you can swipe, swag or may already have to hand, multi-tone leaves, twee veins ( though not varicose please)!
Into a moderate oven for 5-7 minutes on a Silpat sheet, or silicone baking paper, on the bottom or middle shelf will yield tuile, adjust timing to your oven and size of the tuile. A test batch may prove both useful and handy as chefs treats? Work swiftly once removed from the oven, drape them over a rolling-pin, a large spoon or what ever tuile gymnasium contrivance suits your mood. If blessed with an off set spatula now is the time drag it forth from lurking at the back of the drawer, alternatively/also, a couple of table knives will aid and abet. Competent users of chop sticks? – This is your time to tuile twiddle and shine.
Chocolate buttons set in an egg cup, stood briefly in a pan of hot water (on a slither of plastic wrap), then harden in the freezer briefly. Setting the shaped pine-cone-esque shapes. The scoop of simple walnut ice cream is (no cook vanilla) with some ‘roughly chopped nuts’ the scoop merely snipped with the scissors to look a little more organic too.
The tuile will store well in an air tight container, though typically I prefer a tin for the pure schmaltz. Your leafy bix will keep well for a couple of days, therein.
Mix ‘um up, keep ‘um random (apologies if your ocd) this is absolutely not the time for perfection but a modicum of aesthetic mischief.
They can be served from your tin. Alternatively warm in the oven very briefly and then dust with a combination of pumpkin spice sugar shown here to which I added some edible glitter, coz I could.
Oven roasted chestnuts, chocolate pine cones, nutty ice cream, decorous leafy tuile to amuse on a bonny bonfire night or add an artisan twist to your thanks giving celebrations?