Petit Fours = Très Difficile

So, it’s only Week 3 of the Great British Bake Off and I am already thinking about throwing in the towel. I was pushed to my baking limits with this week’s Petit Fours challenge. Why, oh why did I not just make one of the trifles?

It is never a good sign when I do not have half of the ingredients on the list so this week turned out to be quite expensive too. I am now the proud owner of a bottle of Grand Marnier and a bottle of Limoncello. A sip of either certainly blows the cobwebs away! I also had to buy silicone cake moulds and hubby spent a couple of hours attempting to source Agar flakes. The search proved illusive and I had to use leaf of gelatine instead. Billy also picked up citric acid from the pharmacy for sherbet making.

Never one to make things easy for myself, I decided it would be against the spirit of things to make only one type of Petit Fours and instead followed in the footsteps of the GBBO contestants by making two types. I opted for Frances’ Sugar Plum Fairy Cakes and Becca’s Lemon and Blueberry Bursts.

The main difficulty I experienced was getting the Petit Fours to be petit. They were a little on the big side and I can just imagine Paul Hollywood’s take on it. “These are supposed to be bite-sized. You would need to have the mouth of a giant to eat these in one bite.” The giant theme started with the macaroons which I made first.

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Problem is, these were supposed to be so small and delicate as to fit neatly on top of the Lemon Blueberry Bursts. The macaroons were also supposed to be a deeper violet in colour, but they faded substantially in the oven. They are sandwiched with a lemon blueberry jelly – this is where the agar flakes was supposed to come in.

All the stages required in the making of each of the Petit Fours was a little overwhelming, but I have to admit that the flavours do come through. The actual cakes were fairly straightforward and I was pleasantly surprised at how simply the Lemon Cakes popped out of the moulds. The Lemon Blueberry cakes in particular require many a stage. After baking, the blueberry jelly is made (and put in fridge to set) and the cakes dipped in Limoncello. A lemon syrup is then made to coat the sides of the cake. This is where the really cool bit comes in – home made sherbet.

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If only I had known such a thing was possible all these years! The cakes are rolled in the sherbet and then little holes cut on the cakes and filled with the jelly. This tastes lovely when you bite into the cake.

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They are finally topped with whipped cream and the macaroons are supposed to sit delicately on top. Unfortunately given my sizing issues this did not quite happen, but I did squash on a couple to show how it should look.

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The Sugar Plum Fairy Cakes feature an orangey taste with Orange Essence and the Buttercream icing made with Grand Marnier. The plum on top of the cakes is also soaked in Grand Marnier.  One of the things I really like about these cakes is the edible gold glitter. It looks lovely and I will definitely be using this again. I also really liked the chocolate casing. This is made by coating the sides of a paper case with melted chocolate then squashing the cakes down and leaving them to set. Once set, the case is peeled off. I may well use this technique with cupcakes in the future.

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I have no idea how people manage to make these things within the time limits. Each Petit Fours was supposed to have a preparation time of 30 minutes! I was nowhere near this. I do feel I have learned a lot this week, but if I can continue it has to be a lot easier for me next week.

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