Wednesday 24 July 2013

Orange almond tuile (baskets)

One I made earlier

I think that's so fetching, like edible lace. Why would you want to eat lace? No idea. 

I've been experimenting with ways to serve my poached peach with the tuiles. I've balanced the tuile on top but that looked like a bloody baseball hat. I've made C-shapes that the peach anchors at the bottom (no, anchors at the top! Duh) but that was prone to droopage, especially in our new heatwave (30°C). So finally I settle (until I change my mind) on the old basket.

The tuile here is a version of the Escoffier paste tuile - something like a brandy snap. Crispy, buttery, the perfect foil to soft fruit. This is Michel Roux Snr's recipe  one I've used for many years. This are quick and they are easy PROVIDED you have certain bits of kit. Let me spell these out:

1. A good, flat baking tray. One that won't warp. If it does, the tuile mix will tilt and pool and be all obnoxious.

2. Silpat. No matter how good your nonstick, a warm tuile will still stick to it like (insert pithy epithet here)... like sticky stuff to stuff that shouldn't stick, but does.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Mix 125g caster sugar, 40g plain flour, 65g flaked almonds and 50g soft butter with the grated zest of an orange. Add to this 50ml of strained orange juice. Spoon (or pipe) blobs onto the Silpat covered baking trays. Either circles or lengths. Leave lots of room for expansion. Now leave some more. Press down with the back of a fork to ensure an even thickness.

Now... Mr Roux Snr is a very great chef but his printed timing for this recipe is bobbins! He says 4 - 5 minutes. After this long at that temp, you will have pale, insipid tuiles and that won't do. I've found it needs between 8 and 10. They have to be a proper deep golden brown when they come out or they will never crisp when cool. Do one or two single tuiles to see what works in your oven. Stand on oven guard for those last few seconds else a bitter mouth party awaits.

When the tuiles are at the right colour, remove from the oven. Then remove the silpat from the hot baking tray. Then, leave them alone for at least three minutes. If you try and slide a palette knife under them now they will snag and pull into some unsightly sculpture (and still be delicious and very edible, but one for the family maybe and not paying guests). 

They should be this colour. Any lighter and they won't crisp properly.
After the mentioned minutes, test an edge, it should now be firm(ish). Slide the palette knife under and waggle it. The flexible tuile will lift. You can mould it on a rolling pin for that traditional shape or, in this case, over the top of a pudding mould for a basket. You can also twist, tear and stretch them into some abstract obscenity if you so choose. Whatever, they will take some abuse while still warm. It's only when they've cooled that you have to be VERY careful. Remove them from the mould when the shape is set... a matter of minutes. They are very buttery so this isn't usually difficult.

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