Monday, 9 January 2012

Petits Fours aux Amandes

Recipe Number One Hundred & Forty Three:  Page 218.

The title for this recipe is a bit of a tongue twister. To simplify things I've renamed them 'posh biscuits'; I find it a lot easier to pronounce! Even though the recipe is within the fancy biscuit section, the instructions are surprisingly short. However, I soon realised why they are considered to be fancy; the mixture has to be piped. I felt a sense of doom. I am not a neat piper and I doubt I ever shall be!

My quest to start making biscuits was immediately halted as my scales had vanished. Admittedly the design is slim and flat but surely it wasn’t possible to misplace them?! I spent at least ten minutes hunting for the elusive scales. I was so fed up I was close to tears! My mood quickly changed when I noticed my scales peeking out from underneath the Baking Bible which had been placed on top of them – oh dear! After wasting so much time searching I could now relax and make a start.

First of all I needed to whisk several egg whites until they were stiff. This didn't take long with my electric whisk switched to top speed. Next I measured some ground almonds into the bowl. I am always buying ground almonds much to Neil's bewilderment. He constantly insists that I already have plenty - which I always deny! Rather annoyingly he was proved right when he discovered lots of half used packets, whoops! At least this recipe helped me to use up the abandoned ground almonds. I think this means I can start buying them again with a clear conscience! I tipped some caster sugar into the bowl. I didn't notice until too late that some of the sugar had formed into rock hard little balls. I mashed all the lumps I could find with a spoon and believed that the problem had been solved. Last of all I added a few drops of almond essence. I was perhaps a little heavy handed and a few extra drops made their way into the bowl! I carefully folded the mixture together until I had a thick and sticky paste.

Now it was time for the much dreaded piping. I scooped the thick mixture into a piping bag which I’d fitted with a large star nozzle. I tried very hard to pipe onto the lined baking trays. The mixture was only exiting the nozzle from one side. It was clear that I had a blockage! I tried to clear it but it proved impossible. I realised that I must have missed a large lump of sugar; I was not best pleased with myself! I piped the mixture back into the bowl and then cleared the sugar lump from the nozzle. My second attempt proved much more successful but my piping was still terrible – the biscuits looked so fragile and messy! I dotted the centre of each biscuit with a small piece of glac√© cherry. This cheered things up considerably! Now it was time for me to place my poor little biscuits into the warm oven and hope for the best.

It was soon time to retrieve my biscuits from the oven and I was pleased to see that they had puffed up a little whilst cooking and had turned a pretty light golden brown. I peeled each biscuit from the paper and, while they cooled off a little, I mixed up the optional glaze. All that was needed was a little sugar and milk. As Mary says, the glaze does offer an attractive shine. As for the taste, I thought them to be a pleasant but very sweet mouthful. They were crisp on the outside with a slight chewiness in the centre. They are perhaps something to be enjoyed every now and again. They would make a great gift for a loved one or perhaps a dainty treat at a dinner party. They could of course be made whenever it takes your fancy; if you like piping, then these are the biscuits for you! However, their jaw aching sweetness could have you visiting your dentist a little sooner than you had hoped!
My messy biscuits!!




3 comments:

  1. That sounds exactly like me the other day I was looking for my mobile phone so I could go out, when I said to my friend who I was on my Mobile too I can't find my phone! LOL I think these look perfect XX

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  2. Your comment really made me laugh Jo! I am always doing that kind of thing - worrying isn't it?! xxx

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  3. that looks perfect and tasty :)

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