Thursday, August 29, 2013

Petite Fours

Petite Fours means 'little oven' in French, and they are bite-sized desserts traditionally served with your check after dining in a restaurant as a thank you from the chef. Much like petite gateaux, petite fours come in all shapes and flavors, look spectacular on a dessert bar, and taste delicious. There are five main categories of petite fours: Sec (dry), Frais (fresh), Deguise (disguised), Glace (glazed) and Prestige (prestigious). What I love about petite fours is that there aren't many other rules besides size. They can be anything from cookies to fondant glazed cake layers - just as long as they're pretty and bite-sized!

A few traditional types of petite fours that you can see in this picture are bi-colored macaroons that we filled with mango milk chocolate ganache, canneles (little cakes with a crispy crust but custard-y inside), coconut macarons, financiers, florentines and mondiants (chocolate drops with dried fruit and nuts). Among other things in my Individual Production Pastry class where we made all of these goodies, I learned that it is literally impossible for me to pronounce anything in "french" without an over the top Pepe le Pew accent. Oui Chef.

I'm especially a huge fan of homemade marshmallows. To give you an idea of the difference between a homemade marshmallow and a store bought jet-puffed one...I will only touch the store bought ones if they are toasted, in-between two grahams and smothered in chocolate. Homemade marshmallows, on the other hand, I want to cuddle up with and take a soft, pillow-y delicious nap on (what's even better about making marshmallows homemade, is that alcohol doesn't affect the structure formation of gelatin so you can have boozy 'mallows too ;-). They make great wedding favors, centerpiece fillers, or s'mores bar additions.

Petite Fours are a fancy little way to impress your guests and make them feel immediately special for being invited, without having to break the bank or go over the top.

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