Sugar Sucks!

Petit Fours – “small oven”

Quite literally as the French translation describes them they are small desserts, should only be 1 to 2 bites. There are thousands of variations of petit fours, we concentrated on glace (glazed) and sec (dry) petit fours this week.

Before I say anymore, I’ll just mention how much we all enjoyed ourselves making these…. NOT. These are a mixture of glazed fruits and disguised fruit, they are so worth the trouble! That was more sarcasm.

These are the ones Katie and I made:

From left to right: double dipped fresh orange segments, apricots/dates/glacier cherries/walnuts filled with marzipan glazed in sugar and glazed grapes. I think this a nice attempt on our part, pretty much nailed it but like Karen said we just need some finesse.

This is the recipe we got given for this, note: you don’t have to use glucose but if you want longer use out of the sugar it’s advisable.

The answers to those questions below are:

1) Salt and lemon (this only applies to a copper pan). In case you care, copper pans conduct heat very well and take high temperatures so is obviously a good choice for sugar boiling.

2) I gather you’d rinse it out…

3) 148 degrees, if you don’t the sugar will be chewy in your mouth and stick in your teeth which is really not pleasant, I thought my filling was going to give! The sugar should smash like glass if it’s done correctly, just exactly like this glazed grape my tutor threw at the worktop.

Anyway the sugar once boiled has to be used quickly, I tried to get my tutor’s attention because I needed her special fork for glazing the oranges, she wasn’t listening, I got impatient and now I have a horrible blister on the end of my finger 😦

Crystallization is your buzzword when it comes to sugar work and it’s what happens if you do just about anything to the sugar. Once sugar starts to reach a certain temperature when cooling down it starts to crystallize round the edges. When boiling sugar you create a chemical inversion which is irreversable so we were able to reheat it once more at which point we added green then dipped the fruit in again for effect. The second time round it crystallizes quickly and then is completely unusable. It can also become unusable if you stir it. Basically, sugar likes to crystallize whenever it can.

What a waste of sugar 😦

All three of us girlies got burnt, so we learned two useful things:

  1. How to boil sugar
  2. Sugar is lethal and best left to the professionals

We also made Danish Biscuits which are sec (dry) petit fours. I liked making these, mostly because they weren’t bloody 148 degrees Celsius!

Again me and Katie shared the work load and made two sets of Sable paste, mine was vanilla hers was chocolate. There’s a lot of fiddling about to do with making these because as with all pastry you have to keep it cool to get the best results.

This one was easy to make, I rolled a sausage out of the chocolate paste, squared it off using some knives to give it shape, then rolled out some vanilla egg washed it and wrapped it around the chocolate. Before cutting it I chilled it down again, then sliced it to get what kind of looks like those bone marrow dog biscuits, I know appetizing right?

With the scrag ends of paste that had marbled together we combined to get a swirly pattern, Katie put a chocolate border on it chilled and sliced it. Same with the chess board one which was a bit of a pig to make.

You can pattern them any way you want. We made a few varieties of the biscuits.

Bang them in a box and now they’re ready for serving the customers with their teas and coffees.

It’s been 4 days, I still have a blister. I think I’ll give sugar a miss for a bit.

Until next time, my amigos.

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