Friday, October 24, 2008

Petit Fours

The decorations were more difficult than I anticipated which is why the last row is topped with mellowcreme pumpkins-I just couldn't deal with smashing and rolling any more Starbursts. If you do decide to try it, warm them up for a few minutes in the microwave before rolling it out.

This would have been easier with a lighter tint as any uncovered spots wouldn't be quite so glaring. I ended up taking a few passes with the glaze to get adequate coverage, but overall it worked well. I thought about using fondant but I just don't like the taste of the pre-made stuff and making your own needs a couple days to ripen.

The recipe comes from The Wenham Teahouse Cookbook. If you ever find yourself in Wenham, Mass it is a lovely tea house, though somewhat Spartan in style. I like that you serve yourself tea from an urn at the sideboard and the place isn't overly frilly-at least it wasn't last time I was there.

The recipe requires quite a bit of time between steps and is best done when you have an entire day to devote to baking-or make the cake ahead and freeze it.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4cup sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8x11 pan

Sift the first four ingredients into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening and add the milk. beat at low speed 30 seconds and at medium speed for two minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla. beat one minute longer. Pour into prepared pan and bake 20-30 minutes or until middle springs back when touched lightly. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then cool completely on a rack.

Wrap cake in foil and freeze until firm. Remove from freezer and trim crusty edges. Cut into squares. Place squares on a rack over a baking sheet and pour over glaze. Let stand 1 hour. Spoon frosting over cake squares. Let stand until dry. Decorate as desired.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3/4 cup apricot preserves

Cook sugar and water in a medium pot on low heat until sugar dissolves. then boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Bring preserves to a simmer and strain through a sieve into a bowl. Slowly add the cooled syrup and mix well. Pour over squares. Let stand 1 hour.


1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Salt to taste
4-6 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon flavoured extract
A few drops of food colouring

Combine sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in a pan. Cook over low heat to dissolve. Cook over medium heat without stirring until it reaches 220 degrees F. Pour into a double boiler and let cool to 110 degrees F. Begin beating in the powdered sugar. It should be thick enough to coat a wooden spoon but thin enough to pour. Add any flavourings and colourings at this point. Pour over squares and let harden before decorating.

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