The season of night classes is almost over for me until the fall. As I look back over the last few months, the class I taught the two night class on making Petit Fours was a very memorable one. First, because it was a small class with a group of very attentive and eager students this group was so focused on getting their final assortment of small bites perfect. The second reason is I was reminded as we made the elements of cake, butter-cream frosting, almond paste and fondant, how tasty these recipes are by themselves.
While I love the artistry of making petit fours, personally I don’t like the final flavor: there is too much fondant and not enough cake. The balance is wrong BUT the cake we used and the butter-cream filling is so delicious by itself.
I chose a white cake for these petit fours because it is easier to cover white cake with fondant than yellow cake. This cake recipe is so good…..it tastes a bit like angel food cake as a batter, but once baked it is moist with a tight crumb (good for frosting) and a buttery “pound cake-like” flavor. Give them a try.
CLASSIC PETIT FOURS –TWO NIGHTS
CLASSIC WHITE CAKE
Yield: ½ sheet pan
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 cup whole milk, room temp
4 egg whites
2 teas almond extract
1 teas vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
4 teas baking powder
1 teas salt
12 table unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), softened but still cool
Preheat oven to 350F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper, then spray the parchment then flour.
In a large measuring cup, combine milk, egg whites, and extracts together.
In an electric mixer, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Add butter, beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs with no powdery streaks remaining.
Add all but ½ cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at med speed (or high if using hand held mixer) for 1 ½ minutes. Add remaining ½ cup milk mixture and beat for 30 seconds more. Scrape bowl and mixer then beat at med for another 20 seconds.
Spread the batter evenly over the prepared parchment. Bake for 15-18”.
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
12 oz (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 teas vanilla
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl. Set it over the simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch @ 3”. The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using the whisk attachment, beat the meringue on med speed until it is cool @ 5”.
Switch to paddle attachment, add the butter small pieces at a time, beating until smooth . Once the butter is in, beat the butter cream on med-high until it is thick and smooth @ 6-10”. Place a piece of plastic on the surface until ready to use.
~ Kim Hendrickson, Salvia Press
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KIM HENDRICKSON, author of the Tastefully Small cookbook series, has been teaching for nearly twenty years. A regular instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, she is a frequent speaker at culinary events throughout the U.S. She has catered for The Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food Show, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Penguin Repertory Theater. And TV’s “Slangman”, David Burke. Kim's book, "Finger Sandwiches", is the only one of its kind, dedicated exclusively to a celebration of unique and flavorful tea sandwiches, and her "Savory Bites" and "Dessert Canapes" books help round out the Tastefully Small series to make any gathering both fun and delicious. See http://www.SalviaPress.com
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