DB#27 or a French thing called Tuile!

chocolate tuiles

Trapped by a thing called... tuile! It's funny how you see meaning in stuff that obviously has none. I've been craving for French food and dreaming of Parisian places for a few weeks now, so when I read the Daring Bakers challenge for January, it put a smile on my face. Tuiles! Buttery almond crisp cookies that melt in your mouth and make the perfect edible containers for ice cream, mousse ou whipped cream. Or savoury cornets with seeds and creamy fillings. Or chocolate.

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.

I've meant to give it a try at all the recipes, specially the savoury one that looked really great to me, but life got in the way. This has been a crazy month with the usual fuss an end of a term always brings. I blame it on my bad schedule - just didn't manage to make the ice cream I have planned and the cute little flowers to serve it. I hope I can still complete the project some day... So no free day for baking, and shaping my tuiles. I was reading through the recipes, thinking if one of them could fit in one of my breaks when I stopped... 15 minutes recipe for chocolate tuiles? Read no more!

chocolate tuiles

Chocolate Tuiles
Adapted from Michel Roux’s Finest Desserts

Makes 30

9 oz/250 grams best-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I like lindt)
2/3 cup/75 gr slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

Temper the chocolate, and stir in the toasted almonds. Place the template on a sheet of rodoïde (or use a clean sheet of sturdy plastic such as a folder) and fill with about 1 tbs of the mixture. Repeat the process a little distance away from the first one. As soon as you have 5 tuiles fit, slide them onto a mold or rolling pin (side of a glass) to curve. Let cool completely, lift tuiles off the plastic only after the chocolate has set and just before serving, so that they keep their shine.

My thoughts on the challenge:
- The recipe says 15 minutes but it takes a bit longer. I've halved the recipe, and it worked just fine.
- Bittersweet chocolate worked alright with toasted almonds but I'm guessing other possibilities will work fine as well, like milk chocolate and hazelnuts.
- Tempering chocolate is a tricky thing for me. David Lebovitz's post on the subject is pretty useful.
- I didn't use a template, simply made round shaped ones with the back of the spoon.
- We had our tuiles with coffee and a dollop of mascarpone... Oh heaven!


2 in 1

Sugar-grilled Date Mango with Maple Ricotta

A girl gotta do what a girl gotta do.
At the moment, this girl has to deal with (way too) many papers and exams growing on my desk. Sometimes you just have to keep going, and think that better days will come, eventually. I'm a bit tired but I don't have time to think about it. The only thing that makes me move forward is that by the end of next week I'll be through, and packing my bag... But that's another story. ;)

It's 2 recipes in 1 post today! Because Hay Hay it's Donna Hay had a couple of brilliant winners in its last edition, we're having a couple of themes for this one: Sugar-grilled Fruit, hosted by Tartasacher from Mil Postres, and Chicken Satay Skewers, hosted by Meeta from What's for Lunch, Honey?. I've used Donna's recipe for sugar-grilled fruit (provided by our hostess) with little twists to make a round of waffles.

Sugar-grilled Date Mango with Maple Ricotta

Sugar-grilled Date Mango with Maple Ricotta and Vanilla Waffles

Serves 4

2 ripe but firm medium mangoes, cut into slices
8 dates, stoned and chopped
1/3 cup (60g) brown sugar

Maple Ricotta

1/2 cup (125ml) ricotta
1/4 cup (60ml) single cream (or whole milk)
1½ Tbps maple syrup
1-2 Tbsp maple flakes (optional), to sprinkle

Press the cut sides of the sliced fruit into the brown sugar. Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cook the mangoes a few pieces at a time for one minute each side or until golden. Wipe pan clean and continue with remaining mango slices. Add chopped dates, and cook for another minute. To make the maple ricotta, place cheese, cream, and maple syrup into a bowl and mix to combine.

Vanilla Waffles
Adapted from Jacqueline Malouf's Breakfasts, p. 48.

Serves 4

2 large free-range eggs, separated
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1/4 cup (60 grs) butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tbsp (180 grs) all-purpose flour
pinch fine sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Whisk egg yolks with milk, butter and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together. Combine liquid and dry mixtures, until the batter is thick and smooth. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold into the batter.

Preheat a waffle maker. Place some of the batter in the waffle maker, and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions. Remove the cooked waffle. Cover with a tea cloth to keep waffles warm while you prepare the rest.

To serve, pile the fruits onto the waffles, and top with the maple ricotta. Scrap any caramel left in the pan. Sprinkle with maple flakes to serve.

Mushroom Turkey Satay

Turkey Mushroom Satay Skewers
Lightly adapted from Kate Belcher's recipe.

Serves 4

Satay Sauce

200g peanuts
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 can (200ml) coconut milk

Put the peanuts, sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, and coconut milk in a food processor. Process, until combined (add a dash of cold water if too thick). Season with black pepper. I’ve served it with skewered turkey breast strips, and mushroom skewers.

Turkey Skewers

Soak 8 wooden skewers in hot water. Mix in turkey strips (about 2-3 strips per skewer) with ½ the sauce in a bowl and set aside to marinate for 10 minutes. Preheat the grill. Line a baking tray with foil. Lay the finished skewers on the tray. Grill for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through (turn halfway).

Mushroom Skewers

Place mushrooms onto soaked (and drained) skewers - I've made 4. Sprinkle with sea salt, and grill together with the turkey skewers, until golden.

Serve turkey and mushroom skewers with the remaining satay sauce and lime wedges.


Back to kitchen...

Sweet Corn Crab Chowder

Or sort of. With the end of this term, exams and papers seem to grow up on my desk faster than I can get hold of them. Plus, Mr. Winter seems to have decided to spend some time in Portugal, making me look like an onion with (at least) 3 layers of clothing, and to move a lot slower because I'm always cold. It also leaves me craving for weird things like bread pudding with custard or champ... And hot chocolate. No, not exactly all the 3 together at the same time! It's that time of the year when my days are just too short for everything that calls for attention: work, family, friends, food, and traveling (will tell you more about it later). I've cooked some soup, baked bread, and made the occasional cake. Nothing new, or brilliant - except perhaps for an almond apple tart that flew too fast to be photographed, meaning I'll have to bake one again soon.

But today what I really wanted was to blog about this chowder that I made a few weeks ago.

Sweet Corn Crab Chowder

Sweet Corn Crab Chowder
Lightly adapted from Delicious, August 2008.

Serves 4

1-2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 leek, washed and finely chopped
1 cup diced bacon
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 Tbsp plain flour
150 ml dry white wine
200ml single cream
200ml milk
200ml fish or vegetable stock
200g white crab meat
400g can sweetcorn, drained
Fresh flatleaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
lemon quarters, to serve

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the chopped onion, celery, leek, and bacon and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the potatoes and toss with the vegetables.

Stir in the flour, and cook for a minute. Pour over the wine, milk, cream, and top up with the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Mix in the sweetcorn kernels, and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir the crab meat into the soup, and remove from the heat.

Garnish with parsley and serve immediately, with crusty bread. Squeeze the lemon quarter over the soup just before eating.


Queen Time!


And there it is: a brand new year. A time full of open possibilities where every wish can be made or renewed. Happy 2009 everyone!

Traditions are what we make of them. As a child, I don't remember a Christmas, New Year Eve or a Dia de Reis (Three Kings day, also known as The Epiphany) without Bolo-Rei, and like many children I didn't quite enjoy it, mainly because of all that candied fruits. It takes a bit of an adult taste to fully enjoy the richness of the cake. But even grown ups can be picky with candied fig and pumpkin, so many bakeries started a fancy cake made only with whole nuts and no candied fruits AT ALL. It's even richer, more expensive, and prettier than our traditional Bolo-Rei. Today, I offer you a different version from last year's King Cake (Bolo-Rei), a version made only with nuts: whole almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. It's called Queen Cake!


Queen Cake (Bolo-Raínha)
Lightly adapted from Eric Treuille e Ursula Ferrigno, Bread

2 small or 1 large cake

100 grs walnuts
50 grs whole almonds
50 grs whole hazelnuts
600 grs (4 cups) all-purpose flour
125 ml (about 1/2 cup) whole milk
2 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
165 grs (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
100 grs butter (3/4 cup), softened
3 large eggs

24 walnut halves
bunch of almonds or/and hazelnuts
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
milk to glaze
icing sugar for decoration

Dissolve the yeast in 125ml of tepid milk and leave for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour with salt - make a well in center of flour and pour in dissolved yeast. Gently fold some of surrounding flour into pool of yeast to form a soft paste in center of well. Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar with vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition. Incorporate butter mixture into flour mixture and continue bringing in sides to form a soft dough. Knead the dough well, it should be smooth and elastic. Add nuts and knead to distribute evenly. Smother the dough in a little flour and cover with a clean cloth. Place bowl in a warm draft free area, and let rise until doubled in size, for about 1 hour.

Once dough has doubled, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. If you're making 2 small cakes (like me), divide into 2 equal parts. Using your fingers, open a hole in the centre of each ball. (You can insert a floured glass to prevent sticking - that will keep the hole open) Cover with a towel, let rise again for another hour, until doubled in size. (Remove the glass, if using one) Glaze the dough with milk and arrange the nuts on top of the ring (push nuts a bit, so they won't fall as the dough rises whilst baking). Bake at 180ºC for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

Place water and sugar in a small saucepan, mix over stove until incorporated and a bit liquid, so it is easy to brush on finished cakes. After removing the cake from the oven, gently brush top and sides with this mixture. Sprinkle with (lots of) icing sugar.

Here it is my cake to celebrate Three Kings Day! Check all traditions like Galette des rois, Roscón de Reyes, Bolo Rei, King Cake, Dreikönigskuchen at Zorra's website.

King Cake 2009