Beautiful is the word that keeps coming back to my mind. Gigantic elephants bathing in a stream, gorgeous and majestic snow-capped high mountains, clear skies and colorfully dressed people move in front of us. We travel through a monastery, cross a crystal-clear lake to get to a remote village where a king, father of seven children, still lives with twelve concubines, we hear a language that sounds foreign to me, and see people with painted faces dance and sing to the sound of an exotic music. The pitch of their voice is so high and clear that it is hard to believe that most of them are men. Their make-up displays real art, almost looking like miniature paintings. Then, we see Indian women lined-up in green lush wet lands catching fish. I wish I were there to embrace it all, hopping from one place to the next quickly. As usual, whenever we watch one of Michael Palin’s documentaries, the end result is the same. I am left dreaming of India and China, and if I close my eyes, I can almost imagine that I am traveling to the Himalayas with him. I wish! But I am only sitting in front of our TV screen, yet fascinated. Maybe it is where the dream starts before it actually takes shape for real, one day. As we finish to watch the last disc of the Himalaya series, I cannot help but feel the need to prepare a little tea ceremony, where there will be hot black tea, and some beautiful light food, nearly too pretty to eat, reminiscent of the spectacular sceneries we have just watched. I think about the tuiles dentelles I have just baked. They seem perfect to savor the moment. And they are.
Tuiles are a classic of French pastry that every French person inclined to baking must have at least once experimented with. If not, eaten for sure. The word tuile means tile, giving the name to the biscuit because of its shape. My grand-mother always had a batch whenever we visited, because unlike me, she never forgot to use up leftovers of egg whites. On their farm, such were things. You never wasted food.
There is a difference, however, between the Classic Tuiles and Tuiles Dentelles.
Unlike the traditional tuiles, Tuiles dentelles do not require egg whites. Instead, fruit juice is used. They cook quickly in a hot oven, and are shaped in a similar way to the traditional tuiles. Because of the use of fruit juice mixed with confectioner’s sugar, as they bake, they describe a pattern similar to lace, hence the name dentelle. Thinner and crispier, they are so light that you can easily forget that you are eating one, moving to the next quickly without realizing it.
Inspired by Gamelle’s original idea, I decided to experiment with different flavors to create a variation on her recipe. I imagined Raspberry-Black Sesame Tuiles Dentelles. I discovered black sesame seeds a few years ago thanks to my friend K. who used to live in Japan and kept praising these delicate seeds. For good reason. They are delicious. Like her, I adopted them and at every opportunity I think of, I try to add them to food preparations. When I thought about Gamelle’s recipe, I immediately imagined the combination of pink and black together, and thought that I would combine raspberry juice and black sesame seeds. The texture of the tuiles was perfect, as crispy as I had hoped, and I was particularly pleased with the touch added by the black sesame seeds. A foreign memorable taste.
So perhaps these pink and black delicacies almost transported us to faraway lands. But next time of course, we have the hope that instead of sitting in our sofa, we will be there for real. I have always dreamed of seeing elephants bathe anyway.
Note: This is one of the few times where giving exact measurement in ounces is difficult because of the little amounts required. A good precise scale is useful when it comes to situations like this. I am giving ounce measurement with grams between parenthesis.
- 3.5 oz (100 g) confectioner’s sugar
- 0.85 oz (24 g) all-purpose flour
- 0.7 oz (20 g) slivered blanched almonds, coarsely chopped
- 0.7 oz (20 g) black sesame seeds
- 1.3 oz (36 g) raspberry juice
- A few drops of lime juice
- 1 oz (30 g) butter worked as a soft cream
- Mix fresh raspberries into a purée and strain them to collect their juice.
- Mix all the ingredients together, following the order in which they are listed. Place the batter in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven at 400 F. Take a baking sheet covered with a Silpat and place small tsp of batter that you space out. Cook for 3 to 4 mns, until the edge of the tuile looks golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 mn or so, until you can remove them from the Silpat. Do this carefully as the tuiles are fragile. Shape them on a rolling pin and let cool before eating. Eat as you please!
Le coin français
- 100 g de sucre glace
- 24 g de farine
- 20 g d’amandes effilées concassées
- 20 g de graines de sésame noir
- 36 g de jus de framboises
- Quelques gouttes de citron vert
- 30 g de beurre pommade
- Mixez une barquette de framboises en purée. Passez-la au chinois pour en recueillir le jus.
- Mélangez tous les ingrédients dans l’ordre dans lequel ils sont indiqués, et mettez la préparation au frigo pendant 1 heure minimum.
- Préchauffez votre four à 200 C. Déposez des petites cuillerées espacées de 6 cm sur une plaque de cuisson recouverte d’un Silpat, puis faites cuire au four pendant 3 à 4 mns, jusqu’à ce que le bord des tuiles soit doré.
- Retirez les tuiles du four et laissez-les un peu refroidir avant de les décoller délicatement avec une spatule. Donnez-leur la forme choisie et laissez-les refroidir. Dégustez sans retenue !