Petits Fours (as demonstrated by Tim Woodford)

Tim Woodford

Saturday morning had me packing a delightful selection of petits fours into boxes at The French Oven (I spent the day there to get a feel for what it’s like – will write a post about that soon!).   The boxes were then delivered to Patrick Moreau’s patisserie, Casis, together with an assortment of other treats.  Who could have known that my teacher, Tim Woodford, would be looking at those very petits fours a few hours later at Casis in Cape Town?

One thing’s for sure though, he was inspired by what he saw.  He showed us how to make petits fours today, the way he used to make them in Switzerland.

Petit Fours

For the sweet pastry/frangipane petits fours:

  • Small petits four moulds (grease with clarified butter)
  • Sweet pastry (use as the base in the moulds)

Sweet pastry topped with a thin layer of frangipane

  • Frangipane (pipe onto the sweet pastry cases and then bake at 180 degrees celsius until golden brown)

Bake at 180 degrees celsius until light golden brown

  • Butter cream (to be flavoured with rum, kirsch, coffee etc and piped onto the baked sweet pastry/frangipane bases which are left in the fridge to set – make sure they are COLD else the fondant won’t attach in the next step)

Petit Fours Cape Quarters 014

  • Fondant (heat to a luke warm ‘blood’ temperature and colour with food colouring… then DIP the cold petit fours into the fondant and leave to set )

Petit Fours Cape Quarters 033

  • Chocolate (warm and place into a wax paper piping bag – pipe patterns onto the fondant)
  • Plastic icing (colour and cut into various shapes eg. leaves and flowers)
  • Decorate

Petit Fours

We also made bite sized profiteroles (filled with Saint Hanore cream), swiss roll (filled with flavoured butter cream) and chocolate coated ganache (on a sweet pastry biscuit base).

A colourful day!

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6 thoughts on “Petits Fours (as demonstrated by Tim Woodford)

  1. You can search recipes on this site for sweet pastry, creme patisserie (pastry cream – mix 1/3 cream to each batch to make Saint Hanore cream) and choux paste (how to make choux for profiteroles).

    I will post seperate recipes for frangipane, swiss roll, ganache etc.

    Petits Fours are basically small cakes or pastries, served with tea or after dinner with coffee. Follow your heart! There are no hard and fast rules except… keep it small and keep it beautiful.

  2. A note on working with the buttercream:

    Use a palette knife to shape the buttercream on your bases – build pyramid style shapes where fitting or extend the concept for other shapes ie. work the buttercream up to a clean-lined high central point and shape clean sides down towards the edges of your pastry bases. Use the palette knife to clean the edges.

    When it comes to round bases, simply pipe a circular ‘blob’ onto the base.

    ALLOW TO SET IN THE FRIDGE FOR A COUPLE OF HOURS until the buttercream is ‘HARD’ otherwise you’ll have problems getting the fondant to ‘stick’ when it comes to the dipping stage!

  3. A note on plastic icing and decorations:

    Plastic icing is bought (white) and ready made.

    Use a toothpick to add food colourant to small batches. A little goes a long way especially if you’re wanting to create pastel shades.

    Knead the colour into the plastic icing. Roll out into a thin sheet once your colour is evenly dispersed (use a thin rolling pin) and then cut out your shapes.

    Baking shops have a variety of different shapes which you can use to cut flowers, leaves etc out of your plastic icing. Use warm fondant or chocolate to glue the plasic icing onto your finished petits fours.

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