Tuile  is a very light and crispy cookie originally a French dish. They are made from dough or cheese and resemble the tiles which were placed on the roofs of French homes. Tuiles can be both sweet as well as savory in taste. The sweet ones are used mainly for garnishing the desserts like the panna cotta. They also frequently serve as cups or containers for ice creams and sorbets and are eaten along with the main dessert item.

Since the French country homes were almost always curved or sloping, the tuile is prepared on a sloping surface ordinarily. Getting the desired shape of a tuile is considered to be most important; hence it is occasionally made on the surface of a rolling pin or a wine bottle. Molds for making tuiles are also available in France. The most important part during the preparation of a tuile is shaping them which needs to be done while the tuiles are still hot. Trying to force the cool tuile into shape usually results in cracks and breakage.  The tuile can also be kept flat after baking.

Traditional tuile recipes include flour and white sugar primarily while a few may also insist upon using almonds. The modern day tuile also makes use of other types of nuts and orange flavorings as a variation. Vanilla extracts are often used in tuile recipes too. The tuile is a part of those small and fancy confections known collectively as the petit fours.


Origin Of Tuile Recipes

There is not too much information about the origin of the tuile except that it came from France. The roof tiles of Provence are similar in shape to the tuiles and give an indication of the original tuile recipes having come from the area.  Wafers or crackers similar to the tuile are also baked in Spain and Italy but they are known as tejas and tegolinos respectively in those regions instead of the tuile.

Various culinary experts attribute the origin of the tuile recipes to the seventeenth century as the use of crystallized sugar begun during that period.


Ingredients And Popular Tuile Recipes

A basic tuile does not require fancy ingredients and the ordinary flour along with eggs, sugar and butter is enough to create the batter. Some people, however, prefer flavoring their tuiles with lemon or orange zests, a variety of nuts and sesame seeds. The tuile is almost always thin and resembles the solid roof tiles when cooled. Some tuiles also have a latticed appearance.

Baking a tuile from scratch is not difficult although it requires a lot of patience. The first step that almost all tuile recipes recommend is to whisk the eggs whites carefully until they become stiff. Beating in the powdered sugar comes next and needs to be done carefully in order to make the tuiles perfect. A measure of unsalted butter and flour is then folded in slowly into the mixture until the right batter for the tuile is formed. The batter is then required to be placed into a parchment lined cookie baking tray and baked until it turns golden in color. The shaping is all important too and requires to be done while it is still hot with the aid of a mold or on a curved surface.


Serving Tuiles

A tuile can be served in a number of ways. The most popular methods of serving them are:-

• By itself as petit fours also known as mignardise  especially when  baked in fancy shapes.
• As small cups for holding light fillings.
• As edible containers for ice creams, mousse and sorbets.


Variations Of Tuile Recipes

There is practically no limit to variations of this tasty, thin cookie. It is the imagination that matters with most people preferring:-

• Walnuts or peanuts crushed into the batter or citrus flavoring within it.
• Chocolate added to the butter before baking or a liberal coating of chocolate on the baked tuile.
• Added to a platter of Fresh Fruits.
• Cut into fancy shapes and served with ice creams.
• Used as cups for holding tarts.
• A savory form baked with Parmesan cheese.


Health Facts of Tuile

The Tuile in its traditional form is not very healthy as it makes use of the powdered white sugar which is quite high on calories. It can act as an energy giver though although eating too many of them is not recommended by health experts. Variations of the French cookie that are filled with fresh fruit or made with coconut are much healthier. Using brown sugar or a sugar substitute can also help to cut down the calories.
Parmesan cheese can be replaced with low fat cheese too in case of savory cookies.


Tuile: Trivia

  • O' Maol Tuile, a surname of Anglo-Irish origin is said to denote the followers of St. Tuile.