Tuile I ever finish baking these damn tuiles? – Pistachio Tuiles- 9 eggs, 2-2/3 cups of sugar, and 4 Tbsp Butter used so far- 172 recipes to go!

March 11, 2010

Martha's Pistachio Tuiles

André's Pistachio Tuiles

After taking a day away from baking and the blog, I returned to Martha’s Cookie book and her third recipe- Pistachio Tuiles.

Before I launch into this one, I should first report how folks responded to the Amaretti Crisps.  I shared some of these small, nutty bits of goodness with friends at work.  For the most part, they seemed to enjoy them. These cookies aren’t very sweet, so those biting into them with expectations of sweetness were ultimately a little disappointed. My friend, Scott, who is a big fan of the almond, thought they were quite delicious. He remarked how almonds, when baked with sugar, take on a different flavor altogether; much like that of amaretto, sans the alcohol. I thought they would be delicious with coffee. I think most things are delicious with coffee. I have coffee issues but I’ll save that for a future rant.

Pistachio Tuiles, a French cookie. All of these cookie names make me chuckle a little. Pistachio Tuile sounds like a lost character from the world of Harry Potter. Good morning, class. I am your new potions master, Professor Pistachio Tuile.

Tuile (Pronounced- Tweel), is the French word for Tile.

Incidentally, I will be re-tuile-ing my bathroom sometime this year.

I love the French language. I am bit of a Francophile. My father is a French-speaker. He grew up in a tiny Cajun Village called Bordelonville, a small hamlet of French-speaking Catholics with a penchant for all things pork. Life-expectancy in this area of Louisiana is not very high for pigs and therefore not very high for Cajuns, either.

What is a Cajun, you may ask. Isn’t it just a marketing buzzword used to sell spicy, fried foods and boxed meals?

Here’s a brief explanation.

In the mid-18th century, the British evicted the French-speaking Acadians from the region of present day Nova Scotia. These Acadians, mostly fur-trappers and fishermen by trade, headed South and traveled the Eastern coast seeking out a place to call home. Many eventually settled in Louisiana which was under the French flag at the time. France ceded to Spain, Spain ceded to France, France sold it to the United States, and the Cajuns said, “To hell with this! I’m going fishing!” and settled in the remote, swampy marshes of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Well if that’s a Cajun, what’s a Creole?

The Creoles, who were the French colonial aristocracy occupying the Vieux Carré (AKA The French Quarter), were quite distraught to suddenly be called American after Napoleon’s little real estate deal. As those of you who have ever met a Parisian know, the French can be quite vocal when they’re not pleased. Alas the Creoles, being separated from their beloved homeland, clung dearly to the things from France they so loved- butter, absinthe, adultery with their servants, and dueling. The Creoles didn’t last very long.  The present-day creoles live mostly in New Orleans and can trace their ancestry back to a great-great grandma or grandpa who happened to be the  embarrassing byproduct of a discrete tete a tete with Monsieur.

That concludes today’s history lesson.

As I mentioned earlier, my father was a French-speaking Cajun. As a child I would hear him on the phone speaking with his brothers and sisters.

To my ears it sounded much like this- Le blah, le blah, le blah… je blah, tu blah, ille Blah, blah, blah….André.

I was always able to pick out my name in the jibberish and it bothered the hell out of me.

Cajun French is not a pretty sounding language. It doesn’t possess the lush and sensual tones you would hear from a proper Frenchman.

Cajun French is clipped, nasal, loud, and consists of French mixed with English, with a Spanish word thrown in every now and then.

Basically the Cajuns have done for the French language what Sylvia Plath did for the gas range, but they’re very good at preparing pork, so I shouldn’t judge.

What does this have to do with Tuiles?  I’m not entirely sure. Oh, yeah- they’re French.

Before I began this recipe, I had a couple of purchases to make. I needed a silicone mat, because there are just some things that parchment paper cannot do, and I needed an off-set spatula to lift these frail, little cookies from the cookie sheet.

The recipe can be whipped up in a flash.

Shell 1/2 cup of unsalted pistachios and grind them in the food processor and add them to three egg whites that have been whipped with 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp of all purpose flour, 1/8 tsp of salt, and 4 Tbsp of cooled, melted butter.  Using a teaspoon, scoop them two inches apart onto the silicone mat and flatten them out. Bake for 9 minutes at 350 degrees. Voila! It’s that simple.

I am beginning to learn that NOTHING IS THAT SIMPLE WITH MARTHA.

If I were a sane, reasonable person, I would have simply let them cool and then lift the crisp cookies effortlessly from the mat, but no, I have chosen to walk the path of Martha. The book says I have to shape these cookies into little taco shells and so, by God, I’m  shaping them into little taco shells!

There’s a trick to shaping these things. There is a two minute window after these cookies come out of the oven in which to shape them.  Try to shape them too soon and they make a gooey mess. Shape them too late and they will crumble. Martha says that window starts 30 seconds after they come out of the oven. Martha must’ve been high when she wrote that. I had to wait at least three minutes before I could successfully lift one off the mat and it not fall apart in a gooey heap. Tuile-shaping is a slow and frustrating process- bake cookies, remove cookies, cool cookies, lift cookies, shape like tacos, Repeat…

What makes this shaping step necessary? Honestly, the only reason I can think of for forming the Tuiles into tacos is so they won’t resemble novelty rubber vomit.

Seriously, if these cookies weren’t shaped like tacos I’d have thought my cats have been leaving little Pistachio Tuiles all over the carpet for years.

Not a very appetizing thought but I really didn’t like having to shape all these damn cookies.

How are they are far as taste?  C’est Magnifique!

They are crispy, buttery, sweet, and slightly salty with a strong pistachio smell and flavor.

I hope you’ve all learned something about Cajuns, Creoles and turning cookies that look like cat barf into French tacos.

Au revoir, mes amis!

2 Responses to “Tuile I ever finish baking these damn tuiles? – Pistachio Tuiles- 9 eggs, 2-2/3 cups of sugar, and 4 Tbsp Butter used so far- 172 recipes to go!”

  1. Carol Says:

    Thanks, Andre, for the very informative history lesson. Hugs…

  2. Susan Says:

    Tried one of these! Delicious! With the first bite you get a blast of sweetness then the subtle flavor of pistachio!! Thank You Andre!

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