Spent yesterday and today learning about the fine art of petits-fours - any pastry that may be eaten in one bite. More specifically, we learned about petits-fours frais (fresh), meaning any pastry that may be eaten in one bite and has a shelf life of less than a day. Of course, after learning about them, everyone went into action and churned out their own project. By 2pm we had this lovely assortment. From the far back corner, moving towards the foreground, we had
- chocolate mousse cups
- linzer tortes
- chocolate florentine sandwiches
- almond biscotti
- chocolate cake with peanut butter buttercream
- praline japonaise gateau by yours truly (two thin discs of crunchy-chewy almond meringue sandwiching praline buttercream. the mini cake is closed and topped with more praline buttercream and chopped toasted almonds, then finished with a tiny pink marzipan dot)
- apple pie
- pomegranate mousse tart with a raspberry mirroir
- brown butter financiers dipped in chocolate and chopped pistachios
- more linzer tortes
- a choux basket filled with fruit and vanilla pastry cream
- old-fashioned gingersnaps
- raisin buttermilk biscuits
- more chocolate mousse cups
- citron bars
- salambos (choux filled with rum pastry cream and finished with caramel and chopped pistachio)
- and MORE chocolate mousse cups.
Here's a closeup of those cute little choux baskets, made by the same person who made the chocolate avocado chicken egg.
And a closeup of the mini tarts and cakes. They're all only about an inch across...in my case, it was a bear trying to ice a cake all around that was that small, especially since the almond meringue was so thin and sugary, it started to melt away into nothing as I was holding it. I had this problem even AFTER I had taken the precaution of freezing the meringue and buttercream sandwich so the discs wouldn't slide around while I was trying to ice it.
It was so hot in that kitchen, and we worked on these all day long. For the first time I had absolutely no desire or curiosity to try something I had made, or even to taste any of the beautiful things my classmates had made. I guess after having slaved over it for so many hours - everything had been done from scratch, from the buttercream to the discs to toasting the almonds - the tray didn't seem that appetizing. Oh well, there were plenty of hungry pastry and culinary students to gobble this tray up!