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  Added: Feb 09, 2007  •  Visited (368)  •  Print version Print this recipe (34)  •  eMail recipe eMail recipe  •  Write review  •  Not rated Rate this recipe
 
Petits Fours
What You Need:
CAKE
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½- inch bits
  • 2 tablespoons unsifted flour plus ½ cup flour, sifted before measuring
  • ½ cup cornstarch, sifted before measuring
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    RASPBERRY-KIRSCH FILLING
  • ¾ cup raspberry preserves
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch

    COFEE FILLING
  • ¼ cup coffee liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee, preferably instant espresso

    CHOCOLATE AND MINT-CHOCOLATE FILLINGS
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 16 tablespoons butter (2 quarter pound sticks), cut into ½-inch bits
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons creme de menthe

    ICING
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1½ cups light corn syrup
  • 12 cups (4 pounds) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • Red and green liquid food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee, preferably instant espresso

    CAKE DECORATIONS (OPTIONAL)
  • 15 crystallized violets
  • 1½ ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Red and green liquid food coloring

  • How To Cook:
    CAKE:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a pastry brush, spread 1 tablespoon of the softened butter over the bottom and sides of a 17-by-11-by-1-inch jelly-roll pan. Cut a piece of wax paper 19 to 20 inches long and fit it lengthwise into the pan, pressing it firmly into the bottom and against the ends.

    2. Brush the wax paper with the remaining tablespoon of softened butter, then sprinkle in the 2 tablespoons of unsifted flour and tip the pan to distribute it evenly. Invert the pan and rap the bottom sharply to remove the excess flour. Combine the ½ cup of sifted flour and the cornstarch, sift them together into a bowl and set aside.

    3. In a small heavy saucepan, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter bits over low heat, stirring so that they melt completely without browning. Remove the pan from the heat, then skim off and discard the foam. Tipping the pan slightly, spoon the clear butter into a bowl and reserve it. Discard the milky solids that settle in the bottom of the pan.

    4. Set a large heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of hot water off the heat. Place the eggs and the cup of granulated sugar in the bowl and, with a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat until they are thick, foamy and lukewarm. The sugar should be dissolved. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to beat until the egg mixture has almost tripled in volume. It should be thick enough to stand in peaks when the beater is lifted from the bowl. (This will take about 15 minutes with an electric beater, and may require 30 minutes of continuous beating by hand.

    5. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour-and-cornstarch mixture, a few tablespoonfuls at a time. Stir in the clarified butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, and add the vanilla extract.

    6. Pour the batter into the paper-lined pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top with the spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and carefully turn it out of the pan onto a fresh piece of wax paper. Gently peel off the layer of paper on top of the cake, then set the cake aside to cool to room temperature.

    RASPBERRY-KIRSCH FILLING:
    1. Meanwhile, prepare the fillings. For the raspberry-kirsch filling, melt the preserves in a small pan set over low heat, and pour them through a sieve into a bowl to strain out the seeds. Cool, then stir in the kirsch.

    COFEE FILLING:
    1. For the coffee filling, combine the coffee liqueur, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon water and 2 teaspoons of instant coffee in a small bowl and stir until the ingredients are well mixed.

    CHOCOLATE AND MINT-CHOCOLATE FILLINGS:
    1. For the chocolate and mint-chocolate fillings, combine the 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate and 16 tablespoons of butter bits in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and, stirring constantly; melt them together over low heat.

    2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the 2 cups of confectioners' sugar, about ½ cup at a time. Spoon half of the mixture into a small bowl and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of creme de menthe, according to taste.

    3. When the cake is cool enough to handle, use a long knife with a sharp serrated blade to trim off the rough edges and make a 15-by-9-inch rectangle. Cut the cake crosswise and lengthwise into four 7½-by-4½-inch quarters. Brush any loose crumbs off the top.

    4. Place one of the quarters on a flat surface and, holding it firmly in place with one hand, cut it horizontally in half to make two thin layers. Separate the layers, laying them cut side up, and brush one cut surface with the raspberry-kirsch filling.

    5. Reassemble the cake with the filling in the center and cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Repeat the entire procedure with the three remaining cake quarters, spreading them successively with the coffee, chocolate and mint-chocolate fillings. To facilitate the final cutting of the cakes, freeze them for about 1 hour.

    ICING:
    1. When you are ready to cut and ice the "petits fours", prepare the icing in the following fashion: Combine the 5 cups of granulated sugar, the 2½ cups of water and the corn syrup in a heavy 6- to 8-quart casserole and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Using a hair-bristled (not nylon) pastry brush that has been dipped in cold water, wipe the sugar crystals that have formed on the sides of the pan back down into the syrup. Cover the pan tightly and cook the syrup over low heat for 5 minutes; its steam will dissolve any remaining crystals.

    2. Increase the heat to high and boil the syrup uncovered and undisturbed for 5 minutes. Then remove the casserole from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. (There will be about 4 cups of syrup.) Stirring the mixture constantly with a wire whisk, add the 12 cups of confectioners' sugar about 1 cupful at a time and beat until the ingredients are well combined. Place the casserole over low heat and, still stirring constantly, cook the icing until it is lukewarm and appears smooth and shiny. Do not let the icing overheat or it will lose its gloss.

    3. Ladle or pour the icing into four small heavy saucepans (preferably pans with pouring spouts), dividing it equally among them. For the raspberry-kirsch-filled cakes, stir a few drops of red food coloring into one pan of icing to tint it pink. For the coffee-filled cakes, add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to another pan and stir until the coffee dissolves and the icing is light brown. For the mint-chocolate-filled cakes, mix a few drops of green food coloring into another pan of icing to tint it green. For the chocolate-filled cakes, leave the fourth pan of icing white.

    4. Each quarter of the cake is cut into "petits fours" and iced separately. Remove one quarter from the freezer, check its filling, and select the appropriate icing. Let the other three pans of icing cool to room temperature, then cover them tightly with plastic wrap until you are ready to use them. Just before using each one, warm it over low heat.

    5. With a large sharp knife, cut the quarter cake into 15 individual cakes, each 1½ inches square. Arrange the cakes an inch or so apart on wire racks set in a' large shallow baking pan. Pour the icing generously over the tops of the cakes, letting it spread by itself and run down the sides.

    6. With a metal spatula, scrape the excess icing from the bottom of the baking pan and return it to the saucepan. Stirring constantly, warm the icing over low heat until it is fluid again. Then pour it over any of the cakes that were not evenly coated before.

    CAKE DECORATIONS (OPTIONAL):
    1. To ornament each white cake, center a crystallized violet in the top, pressing it gently into the icing. To trim the light brown cakes, melt 1½ ounces of coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate in a small heavy pan set over low heat and, using a fork, dribble lines of chocolate onto the tops of the cakes. For a more precise pattern, roll a piece of wax paper into a cone, cut off the bottom point to make a small hole and squeeze the chocolate through it onto the cakes.

    2. To ornament the pink and green "petits fours", cream the 8 tablespoons of softened butter by beating and mashing it against the sides of a bowl with the back of a large spoon until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the 2 cups of confectioners' sugar, about ½ cup at a time, and stir to a smooth, thick paste.

    3. Spoon half the mixture into another bowl and stir in two drops of red food coloring to shade it a dark pink. Add two drops of green food coloring to the paste remaining in the first bowl and stir until it is dark green. Using a pastry bag fitted with the decorative tips of your choice, pipe the pink paste onto the pink petits fours in whatever design you like, and pipe ribbons of the green paste onto the green "petits fours".

    4. Leave the "petits fours" uncovered for about 1 hour to let the icing dry completely. Then drape them loosely with wax paper. They can safely be kept at room temperature for about 24 hours.

    5. You can repeat the entire procedure-scraping, warming, and pouring the icing-as many times as necessary but be careful never to let the icing become too hot or it will lose its gloss.

    6. Let the iced cakes dry on the racks for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to plates or wax paper. Following the same techniques identically, cut the three remaining cake quarters one at a time and cover the "petits fours" with the appropriate icing.

    To Make: 5 dozen 1½-inch-square cakes
    This recipe is also available in:
    Cuisine » Americas » Creole
    Main Ingredient » Chocolate
    Main Ingredient » Grains & Cereals » Flour
    Main Ingredient » Dairy » Butter
    Dish » Cake & Muffins

     





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