Monday, September 06, 2010

Now that's a pretty table

Last night's dinner featured the loveliest recipe I've made out of Stir: a peeled tomato hollowed out and stuffed with seasoned fresh ricotta then placed round side up on a plate. You surround it with finely chopped celery leaves, scallions, sliced radishes, and homemade croutons. The dressing: olive oil, vinegar, chopped Nicoise olives, shallots, and golden raisins. It was exquisite and scrumptious and not all that fattening and I haven't made a dinner I liked more in ages.

Afterwards, Isabel and I completed our petit four experiment.
The pink petit fours are sandwiched with black raspberry jam; you can see the chocolate petit fours in the lower left-hand corner. You can also perhaps see that our icing technique needs work. We used a poured fondant that didn't quite blanket the squares completely before it ran out. I need to pursue this further, because petit fours are delicious and beautiful and cool, providing all the goodness of a whole cake in a single tiny bite. I just wish bakeries would quit with the scones and muffins and get back to making the hard stuff I can't really make at home, like petit fours and napoleons.

6 comments:

  1. AMEN! Bring back the petit four!

    There is a place in Salt Lake that sells Napoleons, but they taste a little bit mail-order, even though the establishment says it makes everything on site. And yet it never smells like food in there. Suspicious!

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  2. I have never eaten a tasty petit four! Possibly because none were homemade? It just seems that they get hard and stale almost immediately (or perhaps even sooner).

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  3. I've never met a petit four I didn't like-how sad is that?!? I used to get a box for Christmas every year from the Swiss Colony catalog. Horrible little things that they were, I loved them dearly, and would still be thrilled to find a box of them wrapped up under the Christmas tree. And there was a store in the mall when I was growing up that sold cheese logs and sticks, summer sausage, jams, and boxes of petit fours. Hickory something? Oh, the memories...

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  4. There are a few bakeries that still make good pastries -- at least with a visit to North Beach. The napoleons at Victoria Pastry and the sacripantina at Stella's. Mmmm. A great petit four is pretty hard to find though.

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  5. So how do you make an icing that pours like that and could you use it to decorate cookies?

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  6. My bakery makes petit fours, but we dip ours. Here's the procedure (in case you want to do it again): You heat the pouring fondant up in the microwave - you don't want to get it hotter than body temperature or it will crystallize. If it's too thick, you can thin it with a little water. Then place the cake on a dipping fork, dip it top side down into the fondant, lift it out, wipe the excess off on the edge of the bowl, and then flip it over onto the rack. Bang the rack on the table to smooth out the fondant and pop any air bubbles with a small pin.

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