Yesterday I posted about trying to be neater in the kitchen. I bought a petits fours cook book and I'm going to cook my way through it until I start making things look pretty.
I couldn't be bothered going to the supermarket, so I thought I'd start with something where I already had the ingredients.
I chose to do Nougatine and honey butter petits fours. This is how the book expects them to turn out:
Mine turned out....something like that.
I had a few issues which you will see as you read on. I also had to start again at one point. Note to self- when you have a bowl of egg yolks and a bowl of egg whites, don't just reach for them while you're talking to guests and pour whatever you have in your hand into the mixmaster. You have a 50% chance of putting the wrong thing in. I think you can all see what I did here.
125g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
55g almond meal
125g unsalted butter, softened
230g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Honey butter cream
100g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g icing sugar, sifted.
65ml liquid glucose
65g unsalted butter
65g chopped almonds
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350F).
Grease a 20x 30cm baking tin and line with baking paper. (You may want to use a bigger tin if you have one, I used this size and my petit fours turned out SO tall. Even though the sponge was quite thin. So either they're lying and they didn't use all the mixture or they used something bigger which made the mixture spread thinner. Hhmm.)
Line two baking trays with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder and almond meal onto baking paper. (Why? I did mine straight into a bowl?)
Cream the butter and 145g of the sugar until pale and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks followed by vanilla. (Remember to look at the eggs as you do this so you don't make the same mistake I did)
Fold in the flour mixture and milk until just combined.
Beat the egg whites until foamy.
Beat in the sugar gradually until the egg whites form soft peaks (man, I wish I had two kitchenaids so I didn't have to clean the bowl and dry it before doing this step)
Stir a teaspoonful of the egg white into the sponge mixture and then gently fold in the rest.
Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm to the touch.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
To make the butter cream, beat the butter, honey and vanilla until pale and creamy.
Gradually add the sugar until light and fluffy.
For the nougatine, combine the sugar, glucose and butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
Boil, until the sugar caramelises.
Add the almonds and shake the pan to coat.
Pour onto the baking tray and cool.
Transfer to a food processor and process until finely chopped.
(OK- about this nougatine business. I've made this sort of stuff before, as well as plenty of toffee, caramel etc. There was something just not right about this.
In the picture in the book; their's is light in colour, but crumby and firm.
Once I was done with mine, it too was light but it was sticky (too sticky) and wouldn't firm up.
I decided to ditch it and next time I'd probably make a caramel dust or something to put over the top. In this case I used *ahem* Milo)
Now for assembling the petit fours...
Slice the sponge into three horizontal layers.
Place one layer on the remaining prepared tray and spread with one-quarter of the butter cream.
Top with another layer of sponge then spread with another quarter of butter cream.
Top with the last layer of sponge then freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.
(At this point, I realised how tall mine was and thought about how difficult it was going to be cutting through it with a small cookie cutter. I squished mine down with a tray so it was even. This probably helped to distribute the cream more evenly too, as it had firmed up by the time I used it and was not spreading very easily.
I then wrapped it completely [and fairly tightly] in baking paper and glad wrap so it would freeze that way)
Use a 4cm heart cutter to cut out 24 shapes. (I didn't get 24, let me tell you)
Spread the sides of half the petit fours with half of the remaining butter cream.
Spread the tops of the remaining petits fours with the remaining butter cream. (I didn't bother putting much extra as mine were so big already it took away from the heart shape)
Coat the sides and tops with nougatine. (Again, didn't do this) Serve chilled.
I don't think I did too badly. They look like hearts, but they're petits fours for giants.
I might not make anything tomorrow- I don't want to become obese during this process!