On the very left, we have shortbread cookies. We took vanilla shortbread and chocolate shortbread, cut them into little squares, and then "glued" them back together to achieve the checkerboard pattern. We also made swirls. Some people didn't care for these, but I enjoyed their simplicity. To each his own, I suppose.
Next we have the petit four glace, which is probably what comes to mind when you think of petits fours. It's an almond sponge, with a thin layer of apricot jam in the middle and a paper thin layer of marzipan on top. Then, the whole thing gets glazed in pouring fondant. These remind me of Bar Mitzvahs and Oneg Shabbat, and as a kid, they were my absolute favorites. Now...I dunno...now, they're just super sweet and cloying. Perhaps my tastes have matured since the last time I set foot in a synagogue, which was, er, quite a long time ago. Anyway, here's a closeup. Thanks to my partner, Nicole, for the cute designs!
Next toward the center, we have lemon cookies, sandiwiched with raspberry jam, and half-dipped in a chocolate glaze. I'm not sure why these are called lemon cookies, though. There's a bit of lemon zest in the batter, but it hardly has a strong lemon flavor. Oh well, they were a big hit.
In the center, we have one of my favorites, the caramel mou. Mou is French for "soft," although since I overcooked the sugar, they probably should be called "caramel dur," since they were hard as rocks. Oh well, they were fantastic, nonetheless...like a grown-up Tootsie Roll. We topped some with chopped walnut and some with coarse sea salt. Mmmm, salted caramels.
Third from the left is another caramel confection called the Florentine. We poured an almond and orange-flavored caramel over some pate sucree and baked it until it was bubbly. They're pretty good, but I'll still take the caramel mou.
Second from the right are vacherins, meringue "nests", that we filled with passion fruit curd. Meh...this was kind of the throwaway of this particular petit four tray, in my opinion. I guess if you like passion fruit, though....
Finally, we come to the pyramides. Here we took an almond sponge (the same from the petit four glace) and topped it with three different flavors of butter cream: salted caramel, chocolate, and pistachio. These were good, although I feel that the three buttercreams were unnecessary to combine. Not pictured are the domes, which were very similar, except that they had a dome shape and only one type of buttercream. Those were pretty awesome, in my opinion. Here's a close up of the pyramides, by the way:
And here is the tray that Nicole and I put together for our exam. We each were assigned three different petits fours that we had already made during the unit, plus we each had to come up with our own. It was crazy busy, but very rewarding, I think. Check it out!
Nicole made the one in the center. It is, and she can correct me if I'm wrong, a spumoni cake, with joconde sponge, rolled up with pistachio buttercream, and glazed with chocolate. Finally, a little maraschino cherry was put into each slice. It was really tasty, and it looked very cute.
Mine is right next to it, on the left. I made a tart with a shortbread crust, filled with chocolate peanut butter mousse, and topped with a bruleed banana slice. Not to be a braggart, but it elicited a "wow" from my chef, so I was quite happy. Here's a close-up:
All in all, I think both Nicole and I were happy with our results. We'll see when we get the grades, though!
Phew, well, that's it for petits fours. Next up, Cakes II, our final unit of the first half of the entire course...meaning, we're almost halfway done. Jeez! Well, I'll just take some deep breaths and keep on going.