This post should be about tuiles.
The Daring Bakers challenge this month was to make tuiles: impossibly light, thin cookies that are traditionally shaped like the roof tiles that give them their name. We had our choice of making traditional sweet tuiles, nougatine tuiles, chocolate tuiles, or savory tuiles. Yes, indeed, there are many different types of tuiles, and given that they were the subject of the challenge, a whole post should be devoted to them.
However, what I really want to talk about are spooms.
“Spooms?” you say. “Do you mean “spoons”? Have you developed a hybrid speech-spelling impediment? Do your typing fingers suddenly lisp?”
No, no, doubt not, friends! Spoom I said, and spoom I mean! Are you unfamiliar with the glorious culinary marvel that is a spoom? Don’t worry–I was once like you are now. Sad, alone, utterly without the love of a spoom in my life. The condition is not permanent!
I discovered spooms when reading Sherry Yard’s book Desserts by the Yard. Her recipe for Strawberry Spooms caught my eye, because the name was so unusual. (When you search the internet for it, even the mighty Google thinks you want spoons instead.) I didn’t know what a spoom was, but I knew I had to have one immediately. It didn’t hurt that Strawberry Spoom is Sidney Poitier’s favorite dessert, a fact I learned because Miss Yard is a notorious name-dropper, which would be annoying if her recipes were not so awesome.
But! I still haven’t told you what spooms are! A spoom is, quite simply, a sorbet lightened with meringue. For this recipe I made a homemade strawberry sorbet, flavored with a little orange zest, but I’m sure it could work with any homemade or store-bought sorbet. The addition of the meringue gives the spoom a light, frothy, ethereal texture. Almost the moment you put it into your mouth it is gone, leaving the intense fruity flavor of the sorbet with none of the cold, icy heaviness.
I made this recipe having only a vague idea of what I would get, so it was a happy accident when I discovered that a spoom is the perfect accompaniment to tuiles, because it is so light–it doesn’t overwhelm the delicate cookies, and in turn, the cookies give a great crunch to the super-silky dessert.
I know many of you aren’t blessed with the winter sunshine LA seems to perpetually enjoy (or in my case, “enjoy”: please send rain stat!) but believe me when I say, this is a desssert worth waiting for. Bookmark it, and bust it out at the first barbeque of the season. It’s simple, it’s fast, it’s not much to look at but the beauty is in the simplicity and purity of the ingredients.
And the tuiles? Fine. Cute. Tasty. A great spoom repository. That’s all I got on tuiles. Recipe under the cut!
[Obligatory boilerplate:]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.
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch
65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet
Oven: 180C / 350F
Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as a circle or butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations.
Bake tuiles in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again.
If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, or cones.
from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard
1 quart sorbet, softened (I recommend a fruity flavor)
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat them on medium speed until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, and increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high. Once your egg whites start to turn opaque, begin adding the sugar slowly, a spoonful at a time. Continue to beat until they form stiff, shiny peaks, 4-5 minutes.
Place the soft sorbet into a large bowl. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the sorbet, mashing it a bit if necessary. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and fold just until they are all incorporated. Serve immediately, or return the sorbet to the freezer, but serve within two hours so the spoom will still be light and foamy.