Saturday, February 11, 2012

52 weeks of baking, Week 6: Strawberries, Chocolate Mousse, and Nutella-filled Tuiles

So this week's theme for the baking challenge was 'elegant', and I had to think long and hard for something that might qualify. I'm not a great decorator by any stretch of the idea, I have little artsy talent and NO photography skills, so it took me the full four weeks of advance notice to come up with an idea for this week. BB's been asking for chocolate whipped cream, and KB loves pirouline cookies with hazelnut filling as well as strawberries, so I decided to go for a combination of it all. The results were nowhere near as elegant as I would've liked, but still kinda pretty, and very tasty.

You can't see it, but that tuile is filled with hazlenutty goodness.

Last night, I cut up strawberries and gave them a good coat in sugar, and made some very thin ganache with milk chocolate and a small bit of dark chocolate. This afternoon, BB and I whipped in a little more cream, added some gelatin (though not enough, but she dumped the packet instead of sprinkled, so there were complications), and put the mousse in the fridge until they and my mom could get through the rest of their bake sale cooking. When I finally got a chance, I made up my batter - two batches, actually. The first stick of butter I grabbed from the basement fridge was from my old house and had acquired a bit of fridge funk. It was my first Betty Botter moment, and it made me feel kinda stupid, considering that I'd had that rhyme stuck in my head for a few weeks now.

I used egg molds instead of flatter forms, but wish I had used a plate or cardboard, as these turned out a bit thick.

Once they came out of the oven, I used the handles of wooden spoons to roll them up, and of course burned my fingertips a little. It was a real pain to try and get them to hold a round shape - partially because they were too thick, and partially because they're just a pain to work with. Nonetheless, I did achieve some semi-roundness, and some burnt fingertips.

The picture doesn't really show the heat well. Owie.

Once they'd cooled, I thought I'd fill them with nutella using my berliner tip, normally reserved for doughnuts. Protip: nutella is too thick to use with a berliner tip. I ended up switching to a 230 tip, which is for filling cupcakes and such and which worked much, much better. Still, nutella and piping don't get along well.

The cute jar mocks my attempts to tame it with a berliner tip.

So, all worked out well in the end. I was able to get the nutella in the tuiles, and put it all into the dish with nice layering, etc etc. When you dipped your spoon all the way down to the bottom and got some strawberry with the chocolate, or a bite of strawberry with the nutella tuile, it was awesome. So, even if it wasn't too elegant in its presentation, at least it was elegant in its flavors.

Vanilla Tuile Cookies

  • 1/2 stick softened butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup soft wheat all-purpose flour or cake flour

Cream butter until smooth, add sugar, eggs, and vanilla and mix until well integrated. Add flour and mix until incorporated, then transfer batter into the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. Spread over a thin form onto a silpat mat, and bake at 325 for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of cookies are slightly brown. Quickly roll up or press onto forms and allow to cool. Makes 8 cookies.

Total prep/cook time: 90 minutes, including all the time put into the strawberries, ganache, and tuiles.
Family happiness rating: 8/10

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