Jun 10, 2011

In the mood for lemons...

By now, i am sure that you know that i looove making petits fours!  My favourite petit four is the Triple Lemon - the zestyness of the citrus is a lovely counter-balance for the sweetness of the fondant.  Here's my recipe....
WARNING: This is a labour of love!

Triple Lemon Petits Fours

Lemon Curd
Zest and juice of 2 large lemons
2 large eggs
185 g castor sugar
125 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon corn flour

Start off by making the lemon curd so that it can rest a while before you use it for the petits fours.  Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and whisk vigorously for  30 seconds.  Place on low heat and whisk continuously so that the contents do not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Use a thermometer to keep track of the temperature.  When the mixture reaches 70 ˚C, the eggs and cornflour will start to emulsify and gelatinise.  Once the mixture has thickened, carry on cooking for 1 more minute before removing the pan from the heat.  Using a funnel, pour the curd into sterilised jars.  Leave to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator.  The lemon curd will keep for approximately 6 weeks.  I've even kept mine in the freezer without any negative impact on the texture or quality, which means that you can keep it for a few months!

200 g butter, softened
200g castor sugar
4 eggs
200 g self-raising flour
rind of 2 lemons

In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon rind.  Whisk the eggs before gradually adding them to the creamed butter. Gently stir in the flour.  Put into a greased and lined baking tin.  For these petits fours, i use a 20 x 20cm square baking tin.  Bake at 180 ˚C for 30 - 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before pouring the lemon syrup over.  Once completely cool, remove from the tin and wrap up in cling wrap.  Leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

While the sponge is baking, you can prepare your syrup...

Lemon Syrup
75 g castor sugar
75 ml water

Place both ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat slowly until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Bring to the boil and allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute before removing from the heat.

1 tablespoon smooth apricot jam
150 g marzipan (or, if you don't like marzipan, use plastic icing)
1 kg pouring fondant
dash of colouring of your choice
1 tablespoon glucose (not essential, but gives end product a nice shine)
dash of lemon juice (i am quite generous with the lemon juice - about 1 tablespoon)

Remove your sponge from the refrigerator.  Using a cake layer slicer, slice off the top of the sponge to create a good flat surface.  Slice the sponge into three equal layers.  Layer with lemon curd, ensuring that you smear a thin layer of lemon curd on the top layer as well.  This is to adhere the marzipan.
Dust your work surface with icing sugar or cornflour.  Roll out the marzipan to a thickness of approximately 3 mm.  Carefully place on top of your lemon curd layered sponge and smooth out.  Slice the sponge into even squares, approximately 4 x 4 cm.  Heat the apricot jam for a few seconds in the microwave.  Using a pastry brush or a palette knife, smear a smooth, thin layer of apricot jam over the top of the marzipan.  Place the petits fours on a tray in the refrigerator for a few hours to become nice and cold and firm.

In a microwave or over a double boiler, heat the fondant to a nice pouring consistency before adding the glucose, lemon juice and colouring.  One-by-one, using a truffle fork, dip the petits fours into the fondant and place onto a cooling rack to firm.  Once firm, place each petit four in a cupcake wrapper and decorate to your hearts content!!

A great deal of work, but so satisfying and so much fun!

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