Gather round children, and you will hear... of the saga of the petits-fours!
Chrysteena (better known to readers of this blog as Donut) decided to host a fancy tea party at our lovely Wood Street abode, and so naturally I used this as an excuse to attempt petits-fours. I used the recipe found at Joe Pastry, a site I often use for recipes/inspiration when I am too lazy to go to the library. His recipe and photo tutorial are more than sufficient to give this a try, but I'll post some pictures anyway. To be honest, these just took so long that I don't think I can justify NOT uploading the pictures I took of the process. But I'll leave the recipe-ing to Mr. Pastry.
My ingredients for the genoise batter, all huddled masses yearning to be baked. Clarifying butter is something I always forget about, but really mean to do more often.
The batter before...
...and after 30 minutes of beating. Mr. Pastry suggests you use a Kitchen Aid type blender, but I thought ours would be sufficient. I don't know if if this was the cause, or some error of mine, but my batter never aerated enough and I wound up with very thin layers of cake. It saved me some time in cutting thicker layers down, i suppose, but I wound up with about half as many cakes in the end.
Out of the oven, cooled and cut down and ready to brush on the cognac and jam layers. I used a bit of sweetened rum, as I didn't feel like having 99% of a bottle of cognac lying around forever, and warmed strawberry jam to make it more spreadable. I was hoping for black currant, but apparently we were all out that day.
My little cakes assembled now with the top layer of marzipan included and cut to size. At this point, I left them in the freezer for about two weeks. This was to be a test batch, but it took so long and left me with so few that I figured why do it again; I'll just use these.
I'm not sure where all the pictures of our frosting adventure went, so sadly I'll have to leave off here and just cut to the finish product, which was...
ADORABLE!! Chrysteena and I went to town on colored-marzipan toppings. Pay special attention to her mischievous penguin and sexy mermaid (complete with nonpareil nipples). My own favorites were the Pabst Blue Ribbon can and all the flowers; I never knew how to make those before. Thank you, You Tube tutorials!
One note on the poured fondant: I was so worried about temperature and being sure the sugar got to a point where it would harden at the end that I neglected to put any flavoring in it. After sitting overnight, the frosted petits-fours tasted lovely, and their jammy flavor returned, but right after frosting they tasted like a giant sticky sugar cube. I would definitely make an addition of some vanilla or lemon or some such thing next time.
(All done! Wanda is ever so excited for the guests to arrive! Thank you Rachel for the lovely finished-product photos!)