Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Petits Fours, not Threes nor Fives...

Why petit "four"? Why not petit "three", "five" or "six"? That's because, in this case, "four" is not a number, but the meaning of the word "oven" in French.

Petit four literally translates to "small oven" in Français. It refers to small, dainty desserts (mainly tiny cakes) that are served at the end of a meal with coffee or tea. The desserts featured in this post are specifically "Petits fours glacés" in that they are iced and decorated.

Although these individual delights are more time consuming to make compared a single large cake, they are far more elegant and fun to eat. I don't know what it is about miniatures that is so appealing. It could simply be that they're just so darling and cute. Or, maybe it's that there's a higher ratio of icing to cake??....Bingo!. These tiny cakes pack more flavour in a single bite since their larger surface area allows for a greater proportion of chocolate glaze. See!? Who says you can't learn geometry while baking? Well, probably no one, but I've just proven that it can be done!

If you've been eager enough to make my Salted Caramel Sauce then here's the perfect opportunity to use it! That is, if you haven't already consumed it all through a heaping bowl of ice cream....kind of like I did....and then had to make a new batch....yeah.

These Chocolate Caramel Petit Fours combine a wild array of flavours. The white butter cake layers are infused with orange zest which compliments the bitter sugar notes of the salted caramel. Then, a coating of Olive Oil Chocolate Glaze...wait. What? Olive oil and chocolate?! Ya, I know. You probably think I'm nuts. Well, you're not entirely wrong, but just trust works. The olive oil, being liquid at room temperature, first and foremost functions to soften the chocolate by changing the fat-melting profile. Secondly, it adds a subtle fruity and floral note to the chocolate that is spectacular. It enhances the natural fruity character of chocolate itself.

Please note that I have used couverture chocolate in this recipe to make the Chocolate Glaze due to its greater fluidity. Not only is couverture chocolate more aromatic, in my opinion, but its flow properties make it perfect for glazing. You can try doing this with regular chocolate, but you will require more patience.

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