When is a Pirouette a Tuile?

Tuile Basket In reponse to my last post about pirouettes, Donal very helpfully pointed out that the cookies could just as easily be shaped around the bottom of a glass, making a cookie basket as a vehicle for ice cream. I tried it, and indeed he is right (not that I doubted him for an instant). The only issue is that you have to work very quickly indeed before the cookies harden.

I started thinking about the recipe, and I thought it is very similar to a tuile (meaning “tile” in French). In fact, the ingredients and process is virtually identical, except generally you’d shape a tuile over a rolling pin. I guess the only difference is the shape. So what is a this? A Panier?

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Pirouettes Brian, over at Chocolate Gourmand recently published a recipe and how-to for pirouettes. These cookies, perhaps named for the circular dressage move, are light, tubular cookies formed by rolling them around a wooden spoon.

Pirouettes - 2

What interests me about them especially is that they use egg whites and so are a great way to use the whole egg when making ice cream (where you usually just use the yolks). 

They go really well with ice cream, and are similar to the wafers we use for sundaes. I’m not going to post a recipe as Brian has done so here (complete with helpful how-to photos).

I didn’t have any trouble making them, and they are great fun to do. Perhaps when I make them again I’ll try dipping one half of them in chocolate!

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Sugar-Free Chocolate from Valrhona

Xocoline - Valrhona Sugar-free Chocolate I’ve just received 3kg of Xocoline, Valrhona’s new sugar-free chocolate. We’ve been struggling to find a way to make sugar-free ice cream that is natural and meets our standards in terms of taste and consistency. Hopefully this will be a big step forward, and I’ll start playing immediately with it.

As far as sugar-free chocolates go – it is by far the best I have ever tasted. It’s fruity and sharp (65% cocoa content), and is very much a Valrhona product in terms of quality. I think there will be many interested chefs and many happy people who are on sugar-restricted diets!

Xocoline is available in Ireland through Odaios Food (trade only). Valrhona is planning to sell these as bars as well for retail customers, but as far as I know they are not available yet…

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Dates Set for 2008 Food Festival

Dingle Food Festival I know it’s a long way off, but the official dates have been set for the second annual Dingle Food and Wine Festival. It will take place the first weekend of October (3-5th) 2008. So if you like to plan ahead, mark your calender!

Speaking of festivals, I know I mentioned it in a recent post, but I’ll say it again – if you like Dingle and the arts, Feile na Bealtaine is one of the best times to come to this part of the world. From film to drama to music to fine art – it’s a packed week and my favourite time in Dingle, since the town is still quiet enough to enjoy it! I’ll post a schedule when the full list of events has been published…

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Will Spring Go Out Like a Lamb?

Two lambs With Spring almost over, we’re still freezing here in Ireland. Who knows how long it will continue, and one does worry whether summer has been cancelled as well. Still, as you can see from the photo above, the lambs are out and frolicking about, and seeing them always fills me with joy. A warm day or two can’t be that far off…On a different note – for anyone interested, there’s an article in PC Live magazine about Irish bloggers who have managed bookdeals. Among those covered are Twenty, Fiona, Grandad, (and me!).

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Book Launch

Book of Sweet Things Cover We’re getting close to publication now, and we’ve set the following launch dates for our up-coming cookbook:

We’ll try to make it a special event, and I promise there will be ice cream involved!

I think we’ll do both evenings as benefits for a good cause – we’re thinking Chernobyl Children’s Project.

I’m delighted that our Dingle launch will be part of the Feile na Bealtaine festivities, and anyone thinking of coming to Dingle would do well to arrive for that festival. Feile na Bealtaine is quite local in feel, international in aspiration, always interesting, and quite often inspiring.

In any case, we’d delighted if you could join us in either place!

* To be confirmed…

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Skelligs Truffle Ice Cream

Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream This is one of the best flavours I think we have ever made. We’ve tried chocolate truffle ice creams before, but the question has always been what is the best base to support them? A vanilla base can be a bit bland, and a chocolate base can over-power.

This base, designed by JP and Christophe in our production, has just a whisper of chocolate – so light and delicate that it has amazed the customers in our shops over the last month or so. It complements the dark chocolate truffles perfectly.

We used vanilla ganache truffles from the Skelligs Chocolate Company, which is based right here in Kerry. We found that using mixed-flavour truffles can confuse the palate, so we ordered 7 kilos of the one kind of truffle and started chopping. They thought we were nuts, but last week Sean received a phone call of thanks from the perplexed chocolatiers. Apparently quite a few people who tasted this ice cream in our Dingle or Killarney shops, jumped in their cars and drove out to Ballinskelligs to visit the factory shop (which is now also home to Cocoa Bean) for even more indulgence!

Murphys Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream

  • Chopping chocolate truffles125g sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 vanilla bean, split lengthwise or 1/4 teaspoon natural vanilla essence
  • 230 ml cream
  • 200 ml milk
  • 20 g bittersweet (70% chocolate)
  • 100 g chopped chocolate truffles

Yield: 6 Servings 

What to do: 

  1. Melt the 70% chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or a microwave. Take care – chocolate burns easily!
  2. Beat sugar and egg yolks together until pale yellow.
  3. Add the vanilla bean to the milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Turn off the heat and remove the vanilla bean.
  5. Add the milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing thoroughly until fully combined. 
  6. Immediately beat the milk/chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture in a slow stream. Pour the mixture back into pan and place over low heat.  Stir until the custard thickens (around 60C). 
  7. Allow the chocolate custard to cool.
  8. Whip the cream and fold into the mix.
  9. Chop the chocolate truffles into small pieces, making sure you handle them as little as possible (to avoid them melting).
  10. Truffle ice cream meltingFreeze the ice cream using a domestic ice cream machine, adding the chopped truffles once the ice cream has become semi-solid.
  11. Otherwise, cover and place in the freezer, stirring every few hours to break up the ice crystals. Again, add the chocolate truffles once it’s semi-solid (or they will sink to the bottom).

6 Servings.


  1. This ice cream will only be as good as the chocolate you use. Find the best you can! 
  2. The boiler or container in which you melt the chocolate must be completely dry or the chocolate can clump.
  3. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and keep at that temperature for three minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.

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