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Friday, August 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' Petite Four

In the other hand, I also like to bake Petite Four. I am a big fan of this petite delicacy, and how on earth would I ignore it for Baked Alaska? So I decided to aim for both and just wished for the best to happen.

It didn't take a lot of efforts since Petite Four shared the same components of pound cake and colorful ice cream (blueberry yogurt ice cream and strawberry sorbet), so this challenge is more like winning two prizes in one lucky draw. And by the way if you are thinking about doing both cakes make sure you double up the pound cake or else you will end up with too little cake to work with.

So here I go. Hope you enjoy the photos! I can't wait to grab these little ones and eat them like there is no tomorrow. Which one should I have first, the blueberry or strawberry? And again thanks to Elissa of 17 and Baking for bringing up this wonderful challenge!


1. Vanilla Ice Cream (or you could go with other flavors)

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. (If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.)
2. Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.
4. Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.
5. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine.

2. Brown Butter Pound Cake

19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.
3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.
5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.
6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

3. Chocolate Glaze

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

4. Assembly Instructions

1. Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.
2. Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.
3. Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.
4. Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)
5. While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).
6. Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.
7. Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.


  1. These are so cute! I love the shape of your Petit fours and both ice creams sound delicious! I'm also wondering how you managed to get your pound cake to be such a nice brown color. Mine turned out yellowish.

  2. I am looking at all the posts of petite fours on the net and you have all done a marvelous job.These strawberries at the top are fantastic! Great job!

  3. Those Petits Fours are really neat! I love their shape and the way you decorated them.



  4. Very beautiful petit fours. I like that you left the sides open so that the filling is showing.

  5. I've got to say that if I had to choose between these cute little cakes and the baked alaska, these would get my vote!

  6. Your petit fours are so perfect an elegant! WOnderful shots too! Congratulations!!

  7. Wow - you have been a busy girl! These look scrummy.

  8. They're so cute and pretty! And they look delicious too!

  9. what a pretty picture :) *unless, disagree with white plate on the top of metal-cake-plate.. it didn't match at all.. sorry just my opinion.:)

  10. These look so pretty too...amazing pics!

  11. Too too beautiful! The time and effort and talent put into this challenge shows in every picture. Now I'd like 2 or 3 of these babies! Fabulous! Now I can take my time discovering your beautiful blog!

  12. Amazing as usual! And way to go for doing both options. I wouldn't know where to begin, with these darling small bites or the baked alaskas with their pretty spikes of browned meringue. And lovely styling, of course. I've actually been looking for wire cake stands like these for a while. Would you mind sharing where you got them?

  13. Wonderful colours! Every piece is so elegant and flawless.

  14. Your petits fours are PERFECT, and they sound DELICIOUS! I'd love to have one:)

  15. Love your petit fours! I coated mine completely with the choc glaze and all I could taste wa chocolate. Your idea is so much better!

  16. You never cease to wow me with your great photos, Kris--these are petit fours taken on to the next level!!

  17. Love the petit fours as well! Such a beautiful flavour combination and amazing colours! :)

  18. Yummy they look so delicious! I think I will eat the strawberry petit fours first :)

  19. My vote for this one! Great presentation once again. I somehow didnt like the brown butter cake :( but I liked baking it anyway.

  20. So extraordinary you take marvellous pictures

  21. mind blowing look, I have never seen so perfect petit fours in this challenge like yours. just perfect....

  22. They are unbelievably perfect, absolutely lovely! Great job!

  23. Wow! These look so absolutely adorable. A much more appealing version, since I love anything mini :)