Daring Bakers January Challenge

Tuiles with Pink Grapefruit Granita

After (figuratively) tossing our yule logs, the first Challenge for 2009 were light, crispy tuiles.

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.

For the first batch I used the basic recipe, which you can find at our hosts blogs. I just dipped two fingers into the dough and smeared round blotches on the parchment paper. This resulted in tuiles with slightly burned edges. To prevent this I made a stencil from cardboard (about 3 mm thick), into which I spread the dough with a silicone spatula. But the resulting tuiles still had a tendency to brown at the edges.

The tuiles have a rich taste and are chewy, but this is probably due to my thick stencil. The dough went together without a problem (I halved the recipe). The one thing to watch out for is, to have a cool (as in room temperature) work surface. I tried to spread the dough into the stencil which rested on a warm sheet pan. This liquefied the surface of the dough, which didn't stick to the parchment paper any more. Placing the parchment paper directly on my benchtop solved this problem.

The granita had a nice tang to it. I'm glad I discovered the process of granita making, as it doesn't require an ice cream maker. I will definitely come back to this method (and the other recipes in the book) come next summer. The recipe for the granita came from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

Pink Grapefruit Granita

4 cups (1 liter) freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
(from about 4-5 grapefruits)
3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs. (180 g) sugar

In a small, nonreactive saucepan, Warm 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the grapefruit juice with the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Stir the syrup back into the grapefruit juice. Pour into a dish, 8 to 12 inch (20 to 30 cm) across with about 2 quart (2 liter) capacity. (plastic, glass, earthenware, stainless steel; whatever is at hand). Place in freezer. Check after 1 hour, break up the frozen parts around the edges into smaller chunks and rake them toward the center. Repeat every 30 minutes until all the mixture has turned into fine crystals.

Tuilles with Pana Cotta

On the next weekend I dug out some old overhead transparencies to make thinner stencils. This resulted in nice, thin tuiles. :) In addition to the second batch of tuiles I made some Panna Cotta, mainly because I hadn't neither made nor tasted it and because this dessert seems to have a tendency to appear at least once per month in some cooking show. Recipes for Panna Cotta can be found in a lot of cooking books. I ended up using the one given in this book by swedish chef (no, not Swedish Chef; mind your capital letters ;) ) Tina Nordström.

Panna cotta

1 vanilla bean
400g cream
40g sugar
1 1/2 sheets gelatine

Cut open vanilla bean, scrape the pith. In a casserole add cream, sugar and vanilla bean with pith. Let come to a boil. Soak gelatine in water, squeeze out the water and dissolve in the cream. Pour into ramekins. Let cool to room temperature. Place in the fridge to set.

However, the Panna Cotta turned out to be rather firm and heavy, not light and pleasant as it is normally described. Probably there is too much gelatine in the recipe. (as suggested by Alejandra from Always Order Dessert in a recent post) I will need to get back to this recipe for further experimentation.

And this could have been the end of this Challenge, but ....
On friday evening before posting day, I was slouching on my couch watching one of the currently super-abundant cooking shows on German television, called Kocharena. In this show, amateur and professional chefs cook the same dish, which is then rated by a jury. The amateurs know which dishes are coming up and are coached in the weeks before the show, the professional chefs are told the dishes on the spot and will have to wing it. So, when the show progressed to the dessert section, the announced dish was "Mascarpone-Mousse mit Orangenhippe" . I didn't know what "Hippe" actually meant, so I was very surprissed when the pro chef Kolya Kleeberg casually mentioned that "Hippe", in French, would be called .... wait for it... tuile.

A big Thank You to Karen and Zorra for this fun Challenge. You can check out the results of all Daring Bakers at the blog roll.