We celebrated the second birthday of our daughter. My husband made a rich chocolate layer cake with chocolate biscuit and chocolate mousse for her. Or maybe rather he wanted to delight himself a bit, as he is crazy about chocolate. His usual breakfast is “pain au chocolat”, eventually fresh baguette with a piece of Cote d’Or milk chocolate.
From that day we had leftover egg whites in our fridge and the decision to make tuiles was spontaneous.
Tuiles are very thin and crispy cookies of curved shape copying roofing tiles. That’s why they are called “tuiles”. They have absolutely crispy texture, like fresh wafers. They are very basic, cheap but delicious cookies, provided that two conditions are met: they have to be crispy and thin.
You can find them in nearly every pastry shop or bakery in Paris and probably in France.
But even though, I did not know tuiles for quite a while after I arrived in France. I simply did not put attention to them as that I am not a great fan of cookies. Maybe a year or two ago my husband showed them to me in a bakery shop located at the corner of rue de Mezières and rue de Rennes in Paris. Their tuiles were not great as opposed to their exquisite “baguette tradition” and excellent “pain brioché” we buy there nearly every day.
There exists different sorts of tuiles, of various flavours, sometimes with the addition of freshly squeezed orange juice, for example, or a touch of Grand Marnier. I also found recipes for salty versions of tuiles with herbs, like rosemary or thyme which I am tempted to try next time.
Tuiles are very easy to prepare. The only problem is to place them, when still hot, on a rolling pin or simply a broom stick (we have not bought a tuiles mold yet), as we did, so they can reach the half-oval shape. I advise to apply melted butter on your baking sheet before baking. Tuiles baked on buttered baking sheet smells incredibly wonderful once removed from the oven.
These cookies are addictive and they disappear immediately in particular when you lay down on your comfortable bed under a warm blanket on a cold evening of March.
The basic tuiles below comes from my husband’s secret notebook. The broom stick which we hung our tuiles on comes from our closet (but we washed it before using it).
Ingredients (makes between 20-25 tuiles)
80 g powdered sugar, sifted
25 g flour, sifted
60 g sliced almonds
2 egg whites
2 egg whites
20 g butter
1 tuiles mold (may be replaced by a broom stick)
Some extra melted butter to apply on the baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a pan, melt butter on a low flame. Put the pan aside.
In a bowl, mix sugar with almonds and flour.
In a bowl, whip the egg whites to a very sift peak.
Gradually fold in the dry mixture to egg whites, slowly.
Then add melted butter.
Your “appareil” is ready.
Prepare the sheet pan: apply a thin layer of melted butter using a brush.
Spread 1½ teaspoon of tuile “appareil” into 6cm circles, about 2 cm apart, on the sheet pan.
Bake at moderate heat, for about 5-7 minutes or until the cookies get brown around the edges. You really have to watch them.
In the meantime, prepare the broom stick – you should hang it between two firm points in your kitchen.
Then prepare yourself for the most difficult action.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven, lift tuiles carefully, one at a time (you will notice that they are still soft) and quickly, using a metal spatula, place immediately in the tuile mold or over a rolling pin or a broom stick to cool down.
Continue with the rest of the “appareil”.
Once they are cooled down, eat reading a good book or place them in an airtight container.
Should you leave them in the open air, they probably will be soft and sticky the next day (because of the humidity in the ambient air) instead of dry and crispy.
Cookies lose their crisp texture over time.That’s why it is best to make them the day they are to be served.