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Making French Laundry Cornets


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After reading a prior eGullet thread on making cornets for salmon tartare in The French Laundry Cookbook, I gave them a try, but I ran into the same problem articulated in the book Service Included, a memoir of waiting tables at Per Se: fingers too hot and too borderline burnt to make the dough roll up into the appropriate ice-cream-cone shape.

It goes like this: you make these little 4" disks of batter, on a silpat; you slip them into a 400+ degree oven for three minutes; you pull them out onto the oven door and, while they and the oven are still hot, use an aluminum cornet mold to roll them into the cone shape; and then you put them back in the oven to finish up and crisp.

But the batter and, especially, the cornet molds get so hot so fast I can scarcely touch the things for more than a second or two.

Anybody done this with success? Got a tip?

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what kind of gloves? I'd need to be able to do the fine finger work of getting the batter to roll up around the cornet molds ...

I've made these cones dozens of times (including wedding receptions and a 50th wedding anniversary) and use the good-ol' yellow Platex gloves normally used for washing dishes.

Two other things I do:

1. Just before rolling the cone onto the cornet mold, dab a little of the raw batter on one side of the cone, then roll starting from the other side and finishing with the raw batter side. The raw batter acts as a glue to help keep the cone together. Do them one at a time as it dries quickly in that heat.

2. Don't stand the cornet mold up after rolling it; they more often slide down and apart than stay perfect. Just keep the mold on its side with the 'glued' side down. After doing the last one slide them back in the oven and close the door. Start watching it after 2 minutes and remove them when they have the color you like.

The gloves also help when removing the cones from the molds.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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I've made these a couple of times and I didn't find gloves to be necessary...maybe I have tough fingers. On the Carol Cooks Keller blog she makes it seem like you're sticking your fingers in boiling water, so the first time I made them I was prepared to sacrifice my fingers for the good of the dinner party. They're hot, but not hot enough to burn you.

As for getting them to wrap properly and keep shape, I found that keeping an eye on the oven and pulling them out as soon as the they start really rippling gave the best results...too soon, they tore apart, too late (after the rippling stopped), and they weren't as pliable and tended to crack.

Once they are done cooking I use a chopstick to grab them off the pan...just stick it into the empty end of the cornet.

Here's a video of Keller doing it - http://www.jewishtvnetwork.com/?bcpid=900874161&bclid=885029092&bctid=403534577

Edited by therippa (log)
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Hey thanks. I just watched the video. Curious, though--he must have them considerably cooled off, given how casually he's handling the cornet, how long he's holding it. I couldn't hold them or even touch them for more than a second or two, when I tried it. So maybe I'll experiment with this tweak, too--letting the heat drop a little before shaping.

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I've been tempted to give them a try, and that video and the gloves tip may have finally pushed me into it. I noticed in the vid he said 350F oven - that's considerably cooler and more forgiving on those of us without asbestos fingers.

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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