Here’s the thing about giving a real pro a challenge. When you toss it to the right gal, she’ll take you up on it and even surpass your expectations.
I was wracking this little ol’ brain o’ mine trying to come up with some more edible wonders related to these Autumn holidays. I asked Melissa if she could drum up an idea for something scroll shaped to eat on Simchat Torah.
Scroll shaped treats? No problem!
Simchat Torah literally translates to “happiness of the Torah” and along with Purim, it’s the most joyful of all Jewish holidays. Simchat Torah begins at sundown on Oct. 8 and ends in the evening of Oct. 9 this year. The festivities mark the end of the annual cycle of reading the Torah. On Simchat Torah, the last section of Deuteronomy and the first section of Genesis are read in succession after a festive parade of dancing and singing with the Torah scrolls.
Melissa surprised me with these elegant and festive “Torah tuiles”. Paper thin and curved like the tuiles (tiles) on the rooftops of country homes in Provence, these buttery treats may be used as a dessert garnish or as edible cups for sorbet or ice cream.
If you take the challenge to make these, Melissa guides you through rolling these over chopsticks or pencils. Next time you are in France, pick up your tuile molds while there.
So, why the dog?
Melissa’s sweet pup, Roxy, often keeps me company as I shoot Melissa’s irresistible creations. I’ve grown to love her and she knows it. When I arrived at Melissa’s for the “Torah tuile” shoot, Roxy relaxed her whole golden body right on my feet as soon as I arrived.
We were happy to see each other.
See the sly look in her eyes?
She waited patiently for me to revel in these divine creations, chat with Melissa, shoot the pics and depart on my sugar high. Melissa said that the minute we both turned our backs, Roxy jumped up onto the counter and devoured the entire plate of golden tuiles in one lip-smacking swoop.
Give these Torah shaped tuile a try. I doubt that you’ll be able to resist them, either.
Recipe: Melissa Roberts
At first, forming these cookies definitely takes a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it (along with heatproof “teflon” fingers), it’s an impressive skill to master. Satisfying solo with a cup of strong coffee or espresso, these tuiles also make a fine accompaniment to sorbet or ice cream.
- 3 large egg whites
- ¾ cup confectioners sugar
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest
- ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the middle. Line baking sheet with Silpat or parchment.
- Whisk together all ingredients until combined. Working in batches of 4, drop 1 ½ tsp batter for each cookie about 3” apart on sheet. Spread each into a 3” circle with offset spatula or the back of a small spoon.
- Bake cookies until edges are golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Working quickly and with one at a time, lift cookie off sheet with a spatula, then roll two ends around chopstick or pencil to meet in the center. Immediately slide off chopsticks or pencils and transfer to a rack to cool. Make more “torahs” in same manner. If cookies become too brittle to roll, return to oven for 1 minute to soften. Make more cookies in same manner on cooled baking sheets.
Equipment: 1 to 2 large baking sheets; a nonstick baking pad such as Silpat or parchment paper; a small offset spatula (optional); 2 chopsticks or 2 (clean!) pencils