Saturday, May 8, 2010

Petit Four Hell

Petit Four? what the heck is that?

To the average home baker...they mean nothing. But for pastry students at JWU they mean torture absolute unnecessary torture. To me, i would NEVER purchase or willingly consume a petit four (such as these) again. I have yet to see them in a bakery either. They seem outdated and yet we are required to make them (very inefficiently, I might add) in the Cookies & (you guess it) Petit Fours Lab.

For anyone that has ever worked with fondant, they know that it is a tricky, ultra sweet evil. In small amounts, i don't mind it ( like napoleons). But these petit fours start with a moist, dense, sweet almond cake called Frangipane, then a layer of jam is used to stick ANOTHER sweet layer of marzipan (moldable almond candy paste) and a thick layer of ultra sweet fondant is just overkill. Not to mention, fondant is very temperamental and even the most patient of bakers gets frustrated by this crappp. Don't over heat, don't under heat, don't thin out too much, don't thin out too little, don't over flavor, don't work too fast, don't work too slow. This stuff is just a pain.

To begin, the desired amount of frangipane cake is given a thin layer of marzipan that is stuck on by any desired jam (we used a clear apricot glaze). It is then cut into one inch strips and then cut into one inch squares. (Cut with marzipan side down). Once cut, flip them over ( marzipan up, to facilitate a smooth glazing) and place in even rows on a screen.

Lined up Cut cakes

The basics to fondant. Soften the fondant slightly in the microwave. Mix in a little amount of softened butter and any flavoring desired (jams, compounds, peanut butter). Then heat the fondant to 100 F (no further!). Add a warmed simple syrup (preferably at 100F also) until desired consistency. We were taught to use a large sized spoon and spoon the fondant over the little cake square, just skimming the top of it. However there are machines, tools, other methods such as pouring directly from the bowl that can be used and to be honest, they seem way more practical and efficient.

Once covered, we piped filegrees with piping chocolate and also made little tiny rosebuds with colored marzipan. ( and when i got bored of filegrees i just messed around)

Finished Petit Fours

I was so happy when the fondant was over until....i found out that i would be doing my petit four portion of my practical the VERY NEXT DAY.

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