French Fancies

Hello Lovelies,

Apologies for my absence, I’ve been a little under the weather and I was also away on a make-up course. So, now I’m back to let you know how my French Fancies came out as part of my Petit Fours series this summer. This was my second attempt at French Fancies and they still came out a little wonky though. I think I may nail it the third try (third time’s a charm right?). I took the recipe from Deb over at Maple Spice, I followed it to the letter the first time, then made some changes the second. As I said, I think I’ll nail it the third time as there are a few further tweaks I would make, I will add the notes on these at the end. In the meantime, happy baking :)

 

You will Need:

Sponge.

250ml soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

30g vegan margarine (I used Pure)

140g soft brown sugar

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Line a 11″ x 7.5″ Jelly Roll / Swiss Roll tin with baking paper and set aside.
Pre-heat your oven to 180’c

1) Combine the cider vinegar and soy milk in a glass or plastic bowl (not metal as it may give your ‘buttermilk’ a slight metallic tang). Set aside to curdle.

2) Mix together the spread and the sugar, add in the vegetable oil and the vanilla extract.

3) In a separate bowl sift together all of fine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb), then stir through the sea salt.

4) Alternatively stir in the dry ingredients and your ‘buttermilk’. Be careful not to over mix.

5) Pour into the jelly roll tin and bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes. The sponge should be light golden and have a firm spring when touched.

6) Turn out the sponge once slightly cooler. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about an hour. This will firm up the sponge in preparation for cutting into our little cubes.

You will need:

For the filling /top
2 Tbsp shortening (I used Trex)

2 Tbsp of vegan spread (again, I used Pure)

100g icing sugar

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract.

Raspberry jam (smooth)

Marzipan (about a fist sized chunk)

Icing sugar (for dusting the work surface)

7) While the sponge is chilling, prepare your butter cream filling by simply mixing all the ingredients well until fluffy. Put this in the fridge also to firm up.

8) Take the sponge from the fridge, unwrap and cut the crusty sides off so you get a nice neat rectangle (nom the crusts). Cut the sponge in half (I’m a bit finicky so I used a ruler to get mine exact).

9) Spread one half with a thin layer of butter cream and the other with a thin layer of jam. Place one on top of the other and press down gently. Ensure that they fit nicely and that you still have a neat rectangular shape.

10) Sprinkle icing sugar onto your work surface (ensure that it is completely dry first) and roll out your marzipan so it is big enough to cover the top of your sponge. Spread a very thin layer of jam over the top of your sponge to make it sticky. Gently lay the marzipan on top and trim off the excess at the sides.

11) Mark out your 1″ squares on the marzipan and with a ruler and a long, sharp knife cut out your cubes. Be sure to wipe the knife between each slice as it will get covered in butter cream and jam. Put your cut cubes into the fridge while you mix up your fondant.


You will need:
Fondant/Decorating.

375g fondant icing sugar

1/2 Tsp cocoa

1 Tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 Tsp vanilla extract

6 Tbsp of hot water
Pink food colour gel

Yellow food colour gel

Tube of white icing

Tube of chocolate incing

(make sure you check that all colourings and pre-mixed icings you use are vegan).

12) Measure out 125g of fondant icing sugar per colour/flavour. In one, add just a touch of yellow gel colouring (I use the tip of a chopstick for this) and the lemon juice. Stir in the hot water until you get a thick yet pourable icing. Do the same for the others but adding cocoa for the chocolate fondant and pink colouring gel and vanilla extract for the pink fondant.

13) Remove your cubes from the fridge. Set them out on a wire rack over a baking tray. Gently pour the fondant over each cube, being sure to cover all sides. You can re-use fondant that falls onto the tray below. Cover each colour separately so not to get the icings mixed together.

14) Put the now covered cubes back into the fridge and allow to set for 30-45 minutes. Once set you can pipe little squiggles over the top of each French Fancy to decorate. I used chocolate on the yellow and pink ones and white on the chocolate ones. And enjoy!

NOTES: As I mentioned in the introduction to this recipe, I would make some further changes when I make these for a third time.

a) I would use either jam or butter cream in the middle rather than both, as they slid over each other making the sponge unstable, even after chilling for quite some time to firm the butter cream up.

b) I would also use a much thinner spreading of the filling to also reduce the amount of sponge slippage.

c) I will probably cut the cubes 1 1/2″ or 2″ next time, this will also make them more stable.

d) I will also place each cube on a fork over each bowl of fondant and pour over the fondant. I believe this will give a more even coverage, reduce fondant wastage and also be a little less messy. I couldn’t put the ones I made this time onto a fork as they were just too small and unstable to stay on.

Petit Breasts

Hello Lovelies!
Here’s the second installment in my Petit Fours series. I wasn’t going to do whoopie pies twice, but I ended making some for the lovely Celine Chaplin’s Strawberry Tea Party for Breast Cancer Care so I may as well blog about them. These are Cherry and Almond Whoopie Boobies. More Petit Breasts than Petit Fours ;) I used a melon baller this time and my whoopies came out the right size and much more evenly shaped, yay! I have veganised this recipe once again from Claire Ptak’s
‘The Whoopie Pie Book’. I took the basic recipe for her Walnut Whip Whoopie and changed it to almonds instead and used a fruity filling. So, here we go…

This recipe can make up to 9 large whoopies (10cm wide) or 24 small Petit Four sized whoopies (about 5cm wide). So feel free to make the bigger ones if you wish.*

You will need:
For the whoopie.

300g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of salt
125g of soft vegan spread
1 tsp almond extract
200ml soya milk
1 tblsp cider vinegar
200g ground almonds
20g of egg replacer (or however much the instructions say you need for 1 egg’s worth)
55-65ml of water

For the ‘Buttercream‘. 50ml of unstrained cherry puree (about 80g of stoned cherries)
90g of very soft vegan spread
500-750g of icing sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of
fresh lemon juice Plus.
24 natural colour glace cherries for the nipples.
Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Do not pre-heat the oven until you have put the batter in the fridge to chill as this just wastes energy and money putting it on now. 1)Put the 200ml of soya milk in a small glass or plastic bowl (not metal as the mixture may react and create a metallic tatse). Add in the 1 tblsp of cider vinegar and leave for 5-10 minutes to curdle.

2) In a medium sized bowl sift together the flour, egg replacer and bicarbonate of soda. Stir in the salt and set aside.

3) In another bowl (make sure it’s a large one) cream together the spread and sugar until light and fluffy. You can use an electric whisker with a flat beater if you like, I just used a large wooden spoon and a lot of welly!

4) Add the 1 tsp of almond extract to the ‘buttermilk’ mixture and add half of this to the butter/sugar mix.

5)Add into this the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Add in the remaining ‘buttermilk’ mixture until well combined. Fold in the ground almonds. Put the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven now.

6) For the buttercream, mix together the spread and 300g of icing sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this with a free standing mixer with a flat beater if you wish. I just did it by hand with a wooden spoon again (hey, it worked well enough in the old days).

7) Gradually add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and the cherry puree.

8) Gradually stir in a further 200g of icing sugar to the mix until it is fluffy again. If you feel the mixture is too soft, simply add in more of the icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks (I only needed to use 500g of icing sugar). Put in the fridge to stiffen up a bit.

9) Once the batter is nice and chilled, drop 24 x 5cm blobs (using a spoon or melon baller) onto the trays about 5cm apart. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes* so that the whoopies are left with an indentation in the top when you press them with your finger. I baked the whoopies in 4 single batches of 12.

10) Allow whoopies to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack. Once completely cooled, you can spread or pipe a generous dollop of the buttercream (stir when taken out of the fridge to make fluffy again) onto the upturned side of half the whoopies and place another on top. Use a tiny amount of the frosting that’s left over to affix the cherry nipples to the top of each whoopie. And there you have it, Whoopie Boobies.

 

*If making the larger whoopies, allow 10-12 minutes for baking.

Making Whoopie

Hello Lovelies!
So here is the first blog post on my new Petit Fours series. Kicking off with the delightfully named Whoopie Pie. The Amish are given credit for inventing these tasty treats, it’s rumoured they were so named because when a child (or indeed a husband) found one in their lunch box they would shout ‘Whoopie!’ in excitement. Cute! Whoopie pies are not technically a Petit Four. They most certainly are not French, but if you make them small enough they can become a Petit Four. Red Velvet whoopies are one of the Petit Fours being served in Starbucks at the moment. So rather than simply copy them and bake the same, I thought I would have a go at making strawberry whoopies, yum! I have veganised this recipe from Claire Ptak’s gorgeous book ‘The Whoopie Pie Book. So, here we go…

This recipe calls for 1 egg and buttermilk, so to make it vegan I used 1 eggs worth of egg replacer (my first time ever using it might I add) and mixed up some vegan ‘buttermilk’.

This recipe can make up to 9 large whoopies (10cm wide) or 24 small Petit Four sized whoopies (about 5cm wide). So feel free to make the bigger ones if you wish.*

You will need:
For the whoopie.
100g of fresh ripe strawberries
300g of plain flour
1 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt (argh, I hate stupid measurements like this, just chuck in a pinch!)
200g of light brown sugar
75ml of vegetable oil
65ml of soya milk
1 tsp of cider vinegar
20g of egg replacer (or however much the instructions say you need for 1 egg’s worth)

icing for dusting (optional, I forgot about this step as I was so eager to eat them!)

55-65ml of water

For the ‘Buttercream‘.

50ml of unstrained strawberry puree (about 80g of unhulled berries)
90g of very soft vegan spread
500-750g of icing sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Do not pre-heat the oven until you have put the batter in the fridge to chill as this just wastes energy and money putting it on now.

 1)Put the 65ml of soya milk in a small glass or plastic bowl (not metal as the mixture may react and create a metallic tatse, yuck!). Add in the 1 tsp of cider vinegar and leave for 5-10 minutes to curdle.

2) Mash the strawberries or blitz them in a food processor until chopped, not pureed. Set aside.

3) In a medium to large bowl, sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and egg replacer (to ensure it is evenly distributed). Stir in the salt and set the bowl aside.

4) In another bowl (make sure it’s a big one) mix together the sugar and the oil really well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the strawberries and your ‘buttermilk’ until just combined.

5) Fold in the flour in two parts, try not to over mix the batter. Finally, add in 55-65ml of water (for the egg replacer), depending on how gloopy the batter is. You don’t want it to be runny as the whoopies won’t hold their shape on the baking tray. Put the mixture in the fridge for it to chill for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven now.

6) For the buttercream, mix together the spread and 300g of icing sugar until light and fluffy. You can do this with a free standing mixer with a flat beater if you wish. I just did it by hand with a wooden spoon.

7) Gradually add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and the strawberry puree.

8) Gradually stir in a further 200g of icing sugar to the mix until it is fluffy again. If you feel the mixture is too soft, simply add in more of the icing sugar until it forms very soft peaks (I only needed to use 500g of icing sugar).Put in the fridge to stiffen up a bit.

 


9) Once the batter is nice and chilled, drop 24 x 5cm blobs (using a spoon or melon baller) onto the trays about 5cm apart. Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-10 minutes** so that the whoopies are left with a wee indentation in the top when you press them with your finger. Make sure you bake in two batches if your oven is not big enough rather than baking on two levels. The lower whoopies will only be less cooked otherwise.

10) Allow whoopies to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack. Once completely cooled, you can spread or pipe a generous dollop of the buttercream (stir when taken out of the fridge to make fluffy again) onto the upturned side of half the whoopies and place another on top. Et Voila! Yummy Strawberry Whoopie Petit Fours! :)

*I made mine a bit too big (more Grande Fours than Petit Fours I guess) so I got about 14 medium whoopies from this batch (they are about 7cm wide). I think next time I will use a small melon baller to create the Petit Four size whoopies, also, it will make them a lot neater and uniform in size (as you can see from my photos they all came out a bit wonky).

**If making the larger whoopies, allow 10-12 minutes for baking.

Petit Fours

Hello Lovelies,

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 .