I was on vacation last week, which meant bike riding and exploring during the day and going out to eat every night with friends. We went to some great restaurants and even discovered a new food – ramps. They look like a scallion but taste more like garlic. I loved the ramps and maybe they will make their way up here so I can attempt to cook them. But besides the ramps, one of the favorite foods I had was the crackers – sunflower seed tuile – that were put on the table to begin our meal at Pazo in Fells Point, Baltimore. I spent lots of time trying to figure out what could be in them – making them savory but also a tad bit sweet. I was thrilled to find that they posted the recipe on their website. I’ve only been back for one night and making these delicious crackers was my first priority.
The recipe isn’t too specific – it doesn’t give measurements for the size of the pan, nor does it tell how long to make them. I also don’t have a silicone baking pan so I used a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You need to cook the tuile longer than you would think – till they get dark brown. I took them out when they were not quite done, tasted them, and then made the good choice to put them back in. They get sweeter and the flavor is enhanced the longer you cook them. But of course, don’t let them burn. Also, the more evenly you spread the batter, the more evenly they will cook. For the same reason, I would suggest rotating the pan while it’s cooking. The end result is really tasty – you can serve them as an appetizer or as a snack.
Sunflower Seed Tuile
Adapted from Pazo Restaurant
- 1/4 cup egg white (it is better to measure eggs by volume as it eliminates size of egg as variable)
- 1/4 cup sugar (ordinary, granulated white sugar)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- A pinch of salt
- 3 cups sunflower seeds, shelled and shaken gently in a collander to remove the finely ground sunflower seed dust that often accompanies the whole seeds at the bottom of the bag.
1. Whisk together the sugar, flour and salt. Add the egg whites all at once while continuing to whisk. Add the melted butter in a slow stream while continuing to whisk. For the smoothest and finest texture you can then pass this mixture through a fine sieve. (This step can be ommitted if time and equipment do not allow for it.)
2. Chill batter in the refrigerator for an hour or two. This will firm it up and make it easier to spread.
3. After chilling, spread the mixture across a silicone baking sheet (Exopat and Silpat are common brands) or a metal baking sheet lined with parchment paper in thin, even layer (a bit less than 1/8″). Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-25 minutes or until brown but not black (you will smell the sunflower seeds toasting).
5. Allow to cool for a few seconds and cut into squares directly on the silicone baking sheet using the round end of your pallete knife. Allow to cool completely then break the squares apart. Or for a more rustic look, break them into squares.