It is on days like these when I’m on my 8th shift of the week, that I start to wonder about my sanity. Why do I do this to myself? Why did I pick this particular line of work, with which to bring home the bacon? Because, you know, haha, with the amount of money I’m earning, the bacon ain’t all that great! Why did I choose to work in a kitchen that feels like a furnace? Why am I working with someone who is obsessed with putting the Arctic Monkeys on repeat? Loudly.
I was thinking all these things as I drifted past the front desk of the restaurant, when the Sommelier called out, “You made a grown woman cry!”.
Hmm? What? (What have I done now?)
“A customer tonight said that the blueberry dish she had was the most amazing dessert she had ever eaten, and that it even brought a tear to her eye.”
Really? I mean, it’s not my dessert. I just work for the Pastry Chef, but to hear a compliment like that, in a place where you don’t often get feedback; it parted the grey cloud in my head like a certain bearded man had, the Red Sea. That, and the “best souffle ever” comment I got from another table that evening, left me practically skipping out the kitchen door when it was time to go home.
Ah yes, that’s why I do it. Maybe I’m not so insane afterall. Maybe all I need is the occasional reminder, that I cook because I love to feed people. Even if it’s for people I don’t know. My family have always been non-touchy-feely people. Most things, we said through food. Through the act of having a meal together. Through cooking a meal or paying for one. Food is one of the most pleasurable necessities in life, and I think we sometimes forget it, when we are worrying about being too fat or not thin enough, or whatever else that screws up rational thought.
So despite the stinking hot weather outside and the lethargy I was feeling, it was with many of the above things in my mind, that I completed January’s Daring Bakers Challenge.
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 opted to try the savoury tuile recipe instead, because it was a recipe by Thomas Keller, that I’ve always wanted to try. Instead of making cornets as stated in the recipe below, I decided to shape them as tacos, and fill them with crab, avocado and a spicy tomato salsa. A lovely light Summer treat. Perfect perhaps, with a tall glass of bubbly. 🙂
Savory tuile/cornet :
(from The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller)
65 grams plain flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (= 2/3 teaspoon table salt)
114 grams unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spatula or spoon, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.
Preheat the oven to 200’C.
Make a 4-inch hollow circular stencil. Place Silpat on the counter. Place the stencil in one corner of the sheet and, holding the stencil flat against the Silpat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of an offset spatula and spread it in an even layer over the stencil. Then run the spatula over the entire stencil to remove any excess batter. After baking the first batch of cornets, you will be able to judge the correct thickness. You may need a little more or less batter to adjust the thickness of the cornets.
There should not be any holes in the batter. Lift the stencil and repeat the process to make as many rounds as you have molds or to fill the Silpat, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between the cornets. Sprinkle each cornet with a pinch of black sesame seeds.
Place the Silpat on a heavy baking sheet and bake for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat. The cornets may have browned in some areas, but they will not be evenly browned at this point.
Open the oven door and place the baking sheet on the door. This will help keep the cornets warm as you roll them and prevent them from becoming too stiff to roll. Flip a cornet over on the sheet pan, sesame seed side down and place 4-1/2 inch cornet mold at the bottom of the round.
Fold the bottom of the cornet and around the mold; it should remain on the sheet pan as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mold and continue to roll the cornets around molds; as you proceed, arrange the rolled cornets, seams side down, on the sheet pan so they lean against each other, to prevent from rolling.
When all the cornets are rolled, return them to the oven shelf, close the door, and bake for an additional 3 to 4 minutes to set the seams and color the cornets a golden brown. If the color is uneven, stand the cornets on end for a minute or so more, until the color is even. Remove the cornets from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so. Gently remove the cornets from the molds and cool for several minutes on paper towels. Remove the Silpat from the baking sheet, wipe the excess butter from it, and allow it to cool down before spreading the next batch. Store the cornets for up to 2 days (for maximum flavor) in an airtight container.