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DECEMBER 1999
RECIPES




Chocolate-Almond Petit Fours

Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie

Chocolate Spritz Cookies

Sour Cream Fudge

Gateau Rosie O.



Sweet Spot

 


Chocolate-Almond Petit Fours

Tips: Fancy little treats ideal for a holiday cookie tray or a gift, these consist of a thin crust topped with a layer of jam, then a layer of chocolate. In turn, this is surmounted by a thick almond filling and a bittersweet glaze. The filling is made in a food procesor, and you'll need pure almond paste for it; the brand I like is "Odense", imported from Denmark. It has a good flavor and contains no preservatives. The food coloring in the filling is optional, but without it the filling is not the most attractive hue. The amount of coloring used produces a nice shade, not a dark green, and it looks pretty contrasted with the chocolate glaze. Make sure the chocolate you use for the glaze is of good quality! I serve these in individual candy or muffin cups (depending on what size you cut them). They'll keep for a week or so in the fridge, if stored airtight, but place a paper towel gently on top of the petit fours before closing the container (to absorb any potential condensation), and bring them to room temperature (covered) before serving. These do not freeze well.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup good-quality seedless red raspberry jam, well-stirred
  • 8 ounces (1-1/3 cups) good quality miniature semisweet OR bittersweet chocolate chips
Crust:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg yolk, from egg graded "large" (reserve the egg white for the filling)
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
Filling:
  • 12 ounces good-quality pure almond paste
  • 1 egg white plus 6 whole eggs, graded "large"
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 6 drops green food coloring
Glaze:
  • 6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 ounce good-quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into three pieces and softened
  • Up to 2 Tbsp. hot water

Line a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, folding back any overhang onto the outside of the pan. Adjust rack to center of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready the jam and miniature chocolate chips; cover each and set aside at room temperature until needed.

For Crust: In medium bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, and salt until well-mixed and fluffy (I do this by hand, but you can use a mixer if you wish). Beat in egg yolk. Stir in about half of flour, then add cream. Add remaining flour; stir in until incorporated.

Place dough by small spoonfuls all over bottom of foil-lined pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips as necessary, press dough into an even layer on pan bottom. Cover top of pan with a layer of plastic wrap; set aside at room temperature until needed.

For Filling: Into workbowl of sturdy, large capacity food procesor fitted with steel blade, crumble the almond paste. Add egg white and four whole eggs. Cover; process at highest speed for three bursts of twenty seconds each, scraping down sides of workbowl between "bursts". Add remaining two whole eggs; process for about 15 seconds to incorporate well. Add softened (NOT melted) butter, sugar, and vanilla; process until well-combined (mixture will be thick and may look curdled--OK). Add heavy cream and process briefly to combine. Add flour and salt and process until blended. Finally, add food coloring; process just long enough to obtain an even color. Mixture will probably still look curdled, and it will be a darker green than you'd like. Trust me, it'll be OK. Turn mixture into large, nonaluminum bowl--if necessary, stir until green color becomes even throughout. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature until needed.

Remove plastic wrap from top of 13 by 9 pan. Bake crust in preheated oven until edges are golden, 11 to 12 minutes, turning pan back-to-front once about halfway through baking time. Remove to cooling rack. Immediately place small spoonfuls of the jam all over the crust. Spread as evenly as possible, stopping about 1/2 inch away from all edges. Sprinkle the miniature chips all over the jam, again stopping about 1/2 inch away from all edges. Without waiting, place the almond filling by small spoonfuls all over the chips, beginning at the edges and working your way toward the middle. When filling is all spooned out, gently spread as evenly as possible, all the way to the edges of the pan.

Return pan to oven. Bake for 22 to 28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center of the almond filling just comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool completely on rack before glazing.

For Glaze: In small heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolates and salt. Set over hot water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); whisk frequently just until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Add corn syrup and whisk in (mixture will thicken). One at a time, add softened butter chunks, stirring well with whisk after each addition until incorporated. Add hot water, a teaspoon at a time, until mixture is of a thick glaze consistency.

Pour glaze on top of cooled almond filling; spread evenly (an offset spatula is a big help here). Chill until set. To cut, use a large, sharp, heavy, straight-edged knife. To keep cuts neat, rinse knife blade under warm water and dry well after every second cut. Make these small; they are rich. Store airtight in refrigerator for up to 8 days, with wax paper between layers and paper towelling over top layer. Serve in candy or muffin cups, if desired.

48 or more petit fours

Variations: --Substitute red food coloring for the green. --Substitute sieved apricot jam for the raspberry. The apricot jam must be sieved before measuring, as any large pieces of fruit will make cutting the bars difficult.


© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

 

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