Petit fours, those tiny, beautifully crafted, confectionary treats, are perfect for tea parties, wedding showers, or a quiet afternoon tea. Listed below are some amazing petit four ideas that you can serve at your next gathering.
The following is a recipe for basic petit fours. You can serve it as is, or use it as a base for other petit four recipes.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups sugar
1/4-teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
3 drops food color
Candy flowers, if desired
Frosting flowers, if desired
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take a 13” x 9” baking pan, and spray it with cooking spray and flour it before putting it aside. Get a large bowl and mix together your salt, baking powder and flour. Get another large bowl and mix sugar and butter together on medium speed until creamy. Slowly add in one egg white at a time. Each time you add an egg white, beat well before adding the next. Pour in your vanilla or almond extract. Turn the mixer speed down to low, and add in a bit of the flour mixture. Mix well, and follow up with some milk, mixing well again. Keep doing this until all the ingredients have been added and everything is well blended.
Pour your batter into the baking pan, and allow it to bake for about half an hour. Test to see if it’s done by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for about ten minutes. Take the cake out of the pan, and trim off its edges. Then, cut the cake into 24 squares, about 1 ½” each.
For the icing, get a 3-quart saucepan and add in your sugar, cream of tartar and water. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches a full boil. This will take about 15 minutes. Cover the saucepan and allow it to boil for another 3 minutes. Take the lid off the pan, and allow it to continue cooking for about 15 - 20 minutes until it reaches 228-234 degrees F (use a candy thermometer). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, drop a tiny bit of the mixture into ice water. If it forms a 2” long soft thread, it's done.
Take the saucepan off the stove, and allow it to cool for about an hour until the bottom of the pan is a little warm to the touch. Don’t stir or disturb the mixture in any way while it’s cooling. Then, add in powdered sugar, a teaspoon of the almond extract and the food coloring of your choice (optional).
Take the wire cooling rack and position it over waxed paper. Take one of your cake squares and generously lace it with your icing, completely covering it. Ice the rest of the cakes, and allow them to stand until the icing has set. You can reheat your icing in the saucepan for a few minutes over low heat if it becomes too thick to drizzle over the cakes. Once the icing has set, top each petit four with your garnishes.
You can make different colored petit fours by separating the icing into separate bowls and using the coloring of your choice.
Experiment with different icing flavors like orange, chocolate or strawberry.
You can also take your cake squares and sandwich two of them together using things like strawberry preserves as filling. You can then pour the icing over the top. Yum!