I have decided to do a series of posts related to Petit Fours. I was inspired by a trip to Starbucks where they were selling a variety of petit fours to enjoy with your coffee. Unfortunately but rather unsurprisingly these were not vegan. So, I got to thinking, what with me trying to make French Fancies which are themselves a type of petit four, why not go a step further and create a whole selection of them? That way the blog will have more focus, as at the moment I am baking rather sporadically and usually on a whim.
‘So what exactly is a petit four?’ I hear you ask.
A petit four (French for ‘small oven’) is a small confection that is usually offered at the end of a meal. Nowadays they pop up at coffee shops and tea parties all over the place (why wait until dinner time when you can have them with your afternoon tea?!). From what I can gather they became very popular during 18th Century France. The small treats would be baked during the oven cooling process. The brick ovens were run on coal which was expensive, so the petit fours allowed patisseries to utilise as much heat as possible to get the most out of their fuel.
There are several sub-categories of petit four.
*Petit Four Sec – sec meaning ‘dry’ and is the term used for small delicate biscuits, meringues, macaroons and puff pastries.
*Petit Four Glace – meaning ‘iced’, these are teeny cakes covered in fondant or glace icing (such as French Fancies), tartlets and little eclairs.
*Petit Four Sales – these are savoury, bite-sized goodies of the variety found at cocktail parties and soirees.
*Mignardises – could kind of be counted as a type of petit four. They are miniature desserts. Yum!
So, I will be baking my first petit four of the series this evening. I am starting with strawberry whoopie pies. Keep your peepers peeled for my post tomorrow on the recipe and how they turned out .