Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tuile really is a 4 letter word

Yes, I can count, I know it's 5 letters but if you ever had to make them you'd share my opinion that they are the most annoying little devil cookies whose name makes you want to swear up a storm. For those not in culinary school a Tuile (pronounced tweele) is a very thin, crispy cookie that is used on almost all plated desserts to bring texture and add height, design and interest. You know, that crunchy thing that always sits on top of your facy-schmancy dessert and tastes like an ice cream cone? That's a tuile.

Sometimes it's lacy with nuts, other times it's crepe-thin and crispy but almost always it's bent into an interesting curved shape. To make these treats you need to spread batter neatly and evenly into a template, remove the template (without smearing the batter), bake and within 30 seconds of removing them from the oven place them in their final shape. Roll, wrap, bend, or place on an dowel or rolling pin to create a perfectly fluid and interesting cookie. If you miss that 30 second window they just break. Time consuming, detail oriented, not able to be made in mass production and they burn quicker than anything. See why they are annoying?

During my vacation to Disney I was fortunate to go eat at a variety of great restaurants where I examined, picked apart and ultimately enjoyed a bevy of amazing desserts; and almost all of them had one of these little devil cookies. Crap. I guess I really have to learn to love these little beasts.

This quarter my class is all about creating plated desserts for restaurant presentation so you know I'll be making tuiles till they come out of my culinary you-know-what. But I promise, each and every one will be documented with their own unique name so you too can share the joy of the most evil cookie ever invented.

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