Friday, September 9, 2011

Pea Pod Petits Fours: part 2

Remember these from Maria's shower?

We talked about making the pea pods from fondant, but let me talk to you about the cake itself.

The petits fours are delectable, little, almond cakes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. The cake is one of the best I've ever eaten....I LOVE the almond flavor.

Petits Fours
{makes about 36 - 2" cakes}

butter for pan
2 & 1/4 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
1 and 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. almond paste (not marzipan)
1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. whole milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 12x17" rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together 1 and 1/4 cups of the sugar (save the rest for later) and the almond paste until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the butter and beat on medium-high until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla.  Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Set aside.

With the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy.  Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar while the mixer is running.  Beat until soft peaks form.

Gently whisk 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the batter.  Fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire cooling rack.  Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Invert the cake onto a large work surface; peel off the parchment.

Using small cookie cutters, cut out the mini cakes.

This is the best part of making petits fours: eating the scraps!!!  
{Want to win the "cool mom of the year" award?  Pack up a bunch of cake scraps in your kiddo's lunchbox.  Trust me.}

Place the cake on a wire rack over a rimmed cookie sheet.

Now, let's talk about the glaze.

If you love white chocolate, you will LOVE this glaze.  Me?  Not so much.  Not a fan of white chocolate. To add insult to injury, I've made these before and forgot to make a note in my cookbook like I usually do to CHANGE the GLAZE!

The white chocolate looks pretty, but the flavor really does overpower the almond cake.  All I taste is white chocolate.  Now, top it with bittersweet chocolate, and we'll talk. 

Next time, I'll top these with a simple glaze, like powdered sugar mixed with milk and a little almond extract.

The white chocolate glaze (if you like that sort of thing):

1 & 1/2 pounds white chocolate (I used Ghiradelli)
1 & 1/4 c. heavy cream

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1 minute. Stir until combined.

Pour over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let sit at least 30 minutes before decorating.

{Info on making the fondant pea pods is here.}

I can't wait to make these again....with a different glaze!  Make the cake part, at least.  You'll be glad you did!

{{ YOU like white chocolate?}}

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