Sunday, 26 April 2015

Petit Fours

Petit Fours are a small, bite-size confection that can be eaten in one bite, or sometimes two.  You can make any variety of flavours and textures.  I opted to try a recipe that I found on Joyofbaking, where Stephanie Jaworski has a very nice video to go with the recipe.  She always does such a good job, ensuring that ingredients are in metric as well as US measurements.  

I am not very good at piping, or even coating things with chocolate, so this was a bit of a challenge.  Nevertheless I thought it was worth trying.   If you can get past my hopeless piping I think you might agree that these are well worth the effort involved in making them.

With three layers of almond sponge and two different flavours of jam, as well as a white chocolate ganache over the top they taste very good indeed.
Petit Fours

Ingredients:

Almond Cake:
  • 2/3 pound (300 grams) almond paste
  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (about 4 large eggs) (190 grams without shell), at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (85 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt
Filling:
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) apricot preservies, heated and strained
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) seedless raspberry preserves, heated
White Chocolate Glaze:
  • 8 ounces (230 grams) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (80 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vegetable shortening
Royal Icing: (optional)
  • 1 large egg white (30 grams), at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar), sifted
 Method:
AlmondCake:
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Butter a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2 x 1 inch (44 x 32 x 2.5 cm) baking pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 
  2. Place the almond paste in your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, (or use a hand mixer) and beat until smooth.
  3.  Add the sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the butter and continue to beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). 
  4. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed. 
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. 
  6. Finally, beat in the flour and salt.
  7. Evenly spreadthe batter into your pan and bakefor about 15-18minutesor until lightly browned, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  8. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5-10 minutes. 
  9. Run a knife or spatula along the sides of the pan and then gently slide the cake, along with the parchment paper, onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
  10. Next, trim the edges of the cake with a sharp knife and divide the cake into three equal pieces. 
  11. Take one layer and flip it onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment or wax paper.
  12.  Peel off the parchment paper and spread the apricot preserves evenly over the top of the cake. 
  13. Take a second layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the apricot preserves. 
  14. Peel off the parchment paper and spread the raspberry preserves evenly on the top of the cake. 
  15. Then take the last layer of cake and turn it upside down on top of the raspberry preserves. 
  16. Cover the whole cake with plastic wrap and then place a heavy plate or baking pan on top of the cake. This is done to compact the cake layers. Place in the refrigerator to chill until firm (2-3 hours or even overnight).
  17. Once the cake is firm, remove from refrigerator, and using a 1 1/2 inch (4 cm) round cookie cutter, cut into shapes (you can also cut the cake into squares, rectangles, or diamonds). 
  18. Place the mini cakes on a baking sheet, cover, and place in the refrigerator while you make the White Chocolate Glaze.
White Chocolate Glaze:
  1. Put the white chocolate, butter, and shortening in a stainless steel bowl. 
  2. Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water and heat until smooth. (Watch carefully as white chocolate can easily over heat.) 
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Place your small cakes on a wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet. 
  5. Using a small ladle pour the chocolate glaze over the cakes, making sure that the glaze completely covers each cake.
  6. If your glaze gets too thick, place it back over the heat to thin it out. Any glaze that drips onto the baking sheet can be strained and then it may have to be reheated.
  7. Place the frosted cakes into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so the glaze can harden and become firm.
Royal Icing:
  1. Place the egg whites and lemon juice in a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If needed, add a few drops of water until you get the correct piping consistency. At this point you can add food coloring to the royal icing. 
  2. Place the royal icing in a pastry bag fitted wth a small plain tip and decorate the tops of the cakes.
  3. Store the Petit Fours in a covered container in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. They can also be frozen for about a month. (If freezing, do not decorate with the royal icing.) To defrost, place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

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