Thursday, 19 March 2009

Petits fours

As well as making macarons this week, we also tried our hand at "petits fours" (small ovens) - little bit-sized pastries/biscuits that are generally served with coffee at the end of a meal. After the trials and tribulations of chocolate macarons, I was assigned to making "sablés à la poche" - little shell-shaped biscuits which are then sandwiched with some praline cream. Piping the little suckers was a feat in itself, imagine trying to pipe hard cement through a piping bag and you get the idea! The final product looked OK, did it taste good? Mmm.....not really, I was expecting a melt-in-the-mouth buttery shortbread but no such luck, just a bland, dry cookie (no wondered they named it after the French word for "sand") and sadly, I still haven't developed a taste for praline paste.

I also made some canelés bordelais - little cakes from Bordeaux that resemble baked custard with a very distinctive shape. The first time I had these were from a stall from Borough Market and I really liked them. Having tasted some now in Paris, I still prefer the ones back home - maybe its my aversion to excessive alcohol (in this case, more rum!) in pastries, oh wellos.

The rest of the class all made different varieties and by the end of yesterday, our lab was a cornucopia of petits fours, which was briefly flooded by a rainbow of macaroons :)

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