I feel very fancy being able to call these little goodies “petits fours”. It makes a very simple, straightforward dessert sound so impressive – I think French words have that effect.
Well, the idea for these petits fours, though far from fancy, came to me in the midst of an intense bout of creativity and desperation. It was one of those nights where I had nothing planned, and therefore felt a strange combination of freedom and anxiety: freedom to do what I want with my time, and (stupidly enough) anxiety about wasting that precious time.
What’s more, mum was having some people over, which somewhat limited my use of the house – though, importantly not the kitchen! And yet, though mum had of course made sure there was food to be served to said guests, the creative slash nervous energy running through my body made me want to make something special, something that would make the night seem a little bit more festive.
I had recently made a lemon cake, and it was dangerously close to sitting in the pantry for slightly too long. There was also some cream in the fridge, home made pastry in the freezer, some left over brownie and mini doughnuts, also close to no longer being their best. So again, that creative energy got me thinking. I decided I’d make a high-tea sort of platter with a selection of small goodies.
With the pastry I made mini lemon jelly tarts, and plated them up next to the brownies and doughnuts. And then to the lemon cake and cream: cut little circles of the cake, top with some piped cream and fresh edible flowers. It’s so simple, but so effective! They look impressive and taste delicious! And in the end, without too much work, I was able to present a lovely plate of delicious desserts for a very well-deserving group of women!
So now that I’ve probably destroyed any romantic notions about how long and cumbersome a process it is to make petit fours, why not make them and impress people with your sneaky tricks?
Lemon Petits Fours
125g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
275g self-raising flour
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
cream, for topping
fresh edible flowers, for decoration
- Preheat oven to 160C and line the base of a 23cm round springform tin or a large 30×20 lamington tin with baking paper.
- Cream butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy
- Add eggs and beat well.
- Add flour and milk in two batches, and mix as little as possible! The more you mix, the tougher the mixture gets and it will be increasingly rubbery once cooked.
- Spoon mixture into the tin and bake for around 25 minutes.
- Whilst the cake is cooling, whip some cream and fill a piping bag.
- Pick some fresh edible flowers such as basil, sage or citrus flowers, or violets (personal favourite)!
- Once the cake is fully cooled, cut circles with a small cutter, around 4cm.
- Pipe a big blob of cream on top of each round and top with a flower or two.