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How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to do something special for my mom, as we all do.  My parents moved to Ottawa when I was in university and have since retired and have spent most of their time traveling the world.  While I’m super happy that they’re healthy and able to do so, they aren’t around for most holidays and I only see them a few times a year. I miss them a lot and Mother’s Day is no exception.  But this year my parents were going to be in town, so I want to go all out!  Except…I’m in between contracts at the moment and am on a tight budget.  All the fancy high tea spots are ch-ching!  So, I decided to do my own tea party at home.  Time to bust open my go-to baking book: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  I decided to tackle her Petits Fours recipe: mini almond cakes covered in a white chocolate glaze.  I’ll show you how to make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours…or at least, how I tried to make them…

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The first problem I faced was that I couldn’t find almond paste anywhere.  I guess it’s more of a specialty baking ingredient?  But none of the major supermarkets in Toronto had this paste.  So, I made some myself and it was quick and easy.  I found this recipe on the Taste of Home site – now I need to find more desserts that use almond paste ’cause I have a whole block of the stuff!

Making the almond cake went smoothly.  I made sure my butter was at room temperature, and carefully added the ingredients one at a time.  I timed the butter exactly for two minutes and the mixture became nice and fluffy.  I used a big spatula when adding the yolks and vanilla and added the flour in three parts.  Things were going well!

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

For the next step, I started to feel intimidated…egg whites!  Peaks and foam!  But I had faith in my trusted Kitchen Aid mixer and soon I saw some foamy whites start to form.  I carefully added the sugar and low and behold – peaks!  Ever so gently I folded a third of this fluffy mixture into the egg yolk mixture and then spread it evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet. I made sure to rotate the pan halfway, and out came a heavenly almond cake!

Man, I love the smell of almond.  Everything smells so lovely, like a sweet, nutty dream.  I could just close my eyes, and take a wonderful cozy, nap…

But there is still more work to do!

The next step is the chocolate part.  As in, the most expensive ingredient that I CANNOT BURN part. The glaze was actually the easy step, because the cream is poured over the chocolate to melt it. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled by this point or they will melt the chocolate!  I found glazing the cakes to be a bit tricky.  Even though I worked quickly, my glaze was pretty thick.  It tasted delish, but I don’t know how to get the glaze thin and evenly spooned over the cakes.  In the photos her glaze looks almost transparent.  I almost feel as though it would be easier to dip them?  But in any case, my cakes are glazed.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

The final step was to make the white chocolate cut outs.  I found this stage to be the most difficult, and gosh darn it I did end up burning some chocolate!  Luckily there was a lot leftover but initially I had wanted to make blue and pink Petits Fours.  The blue unfortunately turned a little, urm darker then I would have liked.  Do not let your eyes off the chocolate people!  Work quickly and stir, stir, stir!  

This part is tricky because you need to keep the chocolate warm enough to work with, and not burn it.  I would advise to stick to one colour and try to avoid fiddling around with the tint.  Just melt the chocolate until the texture is smooth and runny, tint and pour.  My shapes turned out a bit too thick because I was trying to get the “perfect shade of pink” so by the time I poured into the pan the chocolate had cooled quite a bit.

However, the other issue is that if the chocolate is two thin, the shapes will crack.  The shapes that worked out best for me were the thicker ones.  Whenever I tried to cut out thinner areas the chocolate would break.  I think the problem was that I might have chilled the sheet of chocolate for too long. I would recommend chilling for no longer then 10 minutes, so hopefully this way you can have thin cut outs that will hold.

For the finishing touch you can use some Royal Icing to design pretty patterns on top.  I thought the cakes were sweet enough and I liked the cool textured patterns that the chocolate created.

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

How To Make Martha Stewart’s Petits Fours

Ta-Da!  There you have it – some delightful Petits Fours for your Mother’s Day tea party.  No problem right?  Phew!  That was actually quite a lot of work.  Martha likes to keep you on your toes!  And how do they taste?  Well I absolutely LOVE the almond cake.  Yum, yum, yum, I had to restrain myself from eating all the cut out remains!  The white chocolate glaze in addition to the cut outs does make this a very sweet dessert.  Personally, I would be happy with just the glaze, but then again, I also have to perfect my glazing and cutout skills.

 

How To Make Martha Stewart's Petits Fours
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Martha Stewart's Petits Fours

These delectable little almond cakes are topped with white chocolate and are a pretty addition to any tea party.

Course Dessert, Tea Party
Cuisine French
Prep Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 36 cakes
Author Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1.5 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup) room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond paste (not marzipan)
  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds white chocolate coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • White Chocolate Cutouts
  • Royal Icing, for decorating

For the White Chocolate Cutouts

  • 2 1/4 pounds best-quality white chocolate finely chopped
  • liquid or gel-paste food colouring

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter a 17x 12" baking sheet and line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping off the excess.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 1/4 cups sugar and the almond paste on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add butter, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla; mix to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Set aside.

  3. Prep sugar.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy.  With the mixer running, gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, and beat until soft peaks form.  Add a third of the egg-white mixture to the egg-yolk mixture and fold with a whisk.  Gently fold in remaining whites.

  4. Spread batter evenly on prepared sheet, and bake, turning pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

  5. Invert the cake onto a large work surface, and peel off parchment paper.  Using assorted 2-inch cookie cutters, cut out cakes.  Place cakes on wire racks set over rimmed baking sheets; set aside.

  6. Place the white chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over medium-high heat; pour over white chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Spoon melted chocolate over cakes, letting some run down the sides; spread with a small offset spatula to coat completely.  Transfer glazed cakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Place a White Chocolate Cutouts on top of each cake; decorate with Royal Icing, if desired.  Cakes can be refiderated in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.

White Chocolate Cutouts

  1. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment; set aside.  In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly.  Divide melted chocolate evenly among three small bowls; tint each with food colouring to desired shade.  Pour a coloured chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it with an offset spatula into a layer about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to the refrigerator; chill until chocolate is firm, 10-15 minutes.  Repeat with remaining coloured chocolates.

  2. Working with one colour at a time, cut out shapes; leave shapes in place on the sheet.  (If chocolate is still soft in any area, return to the fridge to harden, 1-2 minutes).  Refrigerate until completely firm.  Separate the shapes from borders with a small offset spatula.  (Scraps can be discarded or remelted and used again.) Cutouts can be refrigerated, between sheets or parchment paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all those amazing moms out there!  It’s a hard job and I greatly admire all my friends who have taken on the responsibility.  You deserve all the Petits Fours in the world!

 Have you made Petits Fours before?  Can you give me some tips?  How did you find glazing the cakes?  Did your cutouts crack?  

What did you make your mom for Mother’s Day, I want to know!

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

A few weeks ago I headed out to Winona for their annual Peach Festival and spent the afternoon immersed in all things peaches! From pies to jams to a very indulgent giant peach ice cream sundae, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. I came home with ten pounds of peaches and my friend and I have since started to learn about canning and have been experimenting with jams (fair warning: everyone is getting peach jam for Christmas this year!). I had some leftover peaches and decided to make a peach crisp. I love cornmeal and felt as though the sweetness of the corn would be a nice compliment to my sweet, super ripe peaches.

I wanted to make this dessert on the healthy side, and was inspired to use the sample of coconut oil I had received from Cocozia as a substitute for butter. 100% organic, unrefined and cold-pressed, Cocozia’s extra-virgin coconut oil has a rich coconut scent, has a smooth, creamy texture and doesn’t melt at room temperature. I added some almonds for protein and replaced some of the brown sugar with maple syrup.

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

This peach crisp is the perfect comfort dessert for fall. The sweet, syrupy peaches & berries are nicely caramelized underneath a golden, cornmeal crust with hints of buttery coconut.

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Healthy Cornmeal Peach Crisp

Ingredients

    For the topping:
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup unbleached white flour
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup Cocozia extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cocozia coconut water (or filtered water)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed almonds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • For the filling:
  • 4 large ripe peaches, core removed, finely sliced
  • ½ cup blueberries (preferably fresh)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients for the topping, except for the crushed almonds. Slowly incorporate the coconut oil. Drizzle the coconut water over top and mix well with your hands, the topping should stay together when you pinch some between your fingers. Add a bit more water if necessary.
  3. In a 3QT glass baking dish, mix together the peaches, blueberries, lemon juice and maple syrup. Sprinkle the cornstarch, cinnamon and salt over top and carefully stir the filling.
  4. With your hands, pick up small handfuls of the topping and place gently over of the filling, spreading each piece out evenly until the filling is covered.
  5. Sprinkle the almonds over top.
  6. Bake in oven for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling along the edge.
  7. Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/08/16/healthy-cornmeal-peach-crisp/

Just a side note: I actually bought a second jar of Cocozia coconut oil and have been using it as a body moisturizer, hair mask and makeup remover – it’s amazing! I love the smell and my skin is nice and soft. I love using an all-natural, multi-purpose ingredient for my beauty needs!

Wheat Free, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Crisp

Wheat Free, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Crisp

Growing up, apple crisp was a staple dessert in our household.  Whenever my mother baked apple crisp, the house would be filled with a wonderful sweet and spicy aroma, like comforting arms wrapping around you on a cold, winter’s evening.

I’ve hesitated to make apple crisp for years because I didn’t want to make a sugary dessert, and I’ve also been trying to avoid wheat as well.  However, while on my yearly detox I took matters into my own hands and threw a bunch of detox-friendly ingredients together.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for that same sweet, comforting dessert.

Low and behold, I present to you the new and improved apple crisp!  My adult taste buds call for a bit of heat now, so I added hints of cayenne and chili that balance out the tartness of the apples.  Almond meal and flax seeds are included for some extra protein and fiber for an even healthier dessert.  I used Gala apples instead of Granny Smith to add some natural sweetness and finally, I discovered the key to a really flavourful apple dessert is to slice them very thinly.

Wheat Free, Sugar Free Spiced Apple Crisp

51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 9 servings

Calories per serving: 272

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 5 Gala apples – peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup melted raw honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • sprinkle of chili powder
  • For the topping:
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup wheat free oats
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup melted raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350C and make sure a rack is aligned in the middle of the oven.
  2. Place thinly sliced apples into a square 8″ glass or ceramic baking dish. Add honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Mix together using your hands, ensuring that the apples are thoroughly and evenly covered. Lightly flatten the apples with the palm of your hand so that they are relatively even in the dish.
  3. In a separate, medium mixing bowl combine almond meal, oats, flax seed and cinnamon. Add honey and coconut oil and mix well.
  4. Using your hands, take clumps of the almond/oat mixture and place over top of the apples, lightly flattening and spreading out the mixture until you have made an even layer.
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool on wire rack 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

If you’re not on a detox, serve with a slice of old cheddar cheese!

For the almond meal, you can also just throw some almonds in a good processor and process until finely ground.

http://iseehungrypeople.net/2012/05/10/wheat-freesugar-free-spiced-apple-crisp/

Check out this photo on Foodgawker