This week’s just desserts challenge (brought to you by the letter E for Evil Shenanigans) was petit fours. Petit fours can be described as any bite sized sweet but most often they are cake and filling. They are usually beautiful to look at. At least if you do them right.
To me, these are one of the most creative things you can make and I enjoy them a lot. Not only can you play with a variety of flavors but you have texture, shape, and color to manipulate, too. It’s like being Jackson Pollock with icing tubes.
I felt really at a disadvantage here because I did not see the show last week, was gone all weekend, and then rushed to put them together last night. I wanted to do something autumn themed, something delicate that you might have with a tea but also substantial enough to be served at a wrestler’s retreat. Yeah. I like versatility.
I wanted some flavor that would be perfect for a tea, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or anything autumn related. I think these cute autumn leaves are the perfect choice. The glaze that I used was a white chocolate (and bittersweet chocolate) ganache but you could use the traditional poured fondant or confectioner’s glaze if you like. If you are going to color the white chocolate ganache use paste food color and a toothpick after the chocolate has melted into the cream. It doesn’t take much.
I chose to do a pumpkin bourbon cake with a hint of cardamom and fill it with a cream cheese and pecan filling. The flavors work really well and you get that little after-kick of the bourbon which I really love with pumpkin. I have a set of maple leave cookie cutters in various sizes and I used them to cut the cooled cake. I put two of the cut outs together with the filling and then put them in the freezer for 30 minutes while I made ganache. After that I rolled the edges of the cakes in the ganache to fill in the sides and then poured ganache over the top. You will use a lot of ganache this way but I like the effect.
You can use any shape cutter you like to compliment your occasion. Keep in mind that the yield will change depending on the size of the cutter you use.
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 8 oz cream cheese , softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 9 ounces of high quality white chocolate , chopped finely (can also use bittersweet)
- 1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugars until thick and lemon-colored.
Add pumpkin and bourbon.
In another bowl combine flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.
Fold into the pumpkin mixture.
Grease a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with high sides .Line with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper.
Spread batter into pan.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until well blended.
Add the confectioner's and salt; beat until creamy
Blend in the pecans.
Add a little cream if needed to get a good consistency.
White chocolate is a little more difficult to get smooth than dark chocolate. Make sure you have chopped it as finely as possible.
Bring the cream just to a boil and remove from heat; pour the hot liquid over the white chocolate. Stir with a spoon and then whisk until smooth.
Pour over the petit fours and chill.
30 minutes before you are ready to serve the petit fours remove from the refrigerator.