In Praise of Petit Fours
Like so many little girls before me, I grew up with a play kitchen set.
Like you’re surprised, right?
I guess enjoying good food and cooking it — even if only in my pretend world back then — has always been integral in my life.
So, it was with great pleasure that I spent many an afternoon cooking up a storm on my pint-sized stove after pulling out ingredients from my matching mini fridge, then cleaning up in my would-be sink that actually had running water. Well, if you remembered to fill the hidden reservoir.
I remember my parents even bought me “food” for my beloved kitchen. There was a plastic fried egg with strips of plastic bacon attached to it. A plastic golden-browned chicken with its drumsticks looking so plump and enticing. And a big pink ham that looked like you could practically carve it.
But what I would have given to have had these instead: Divine Delights petits fours.
Pretty pastel-hued and resembling the most precious little gifts, they’d make any little girl’s play kitchen a whole lot sweeter.
Of course, the best part is even if you missed out on enjoying these cute little confections as a tot, you can easily enjoy them now as an adult.
The family-owned Petaluma bakery, established in 1985 by bakers Bill and Angelique Fry, specializes in petits fours. They are tiny, multi-layered butter cakes made with plenty of almond paste, then filled with buttercream, fruit spreads, truffle cream, then enrobed completely in chocolate and decorated by hand. It’s like being able to enjoy your very own little cake — without having to share or feel an ounce of guilt.
Recently, I had a chance to try some samples. The Wedding Creme Petit Fours are covered in ivory chocolate, then decorated with flowers or ribbons to resemble lovely gift boxes. Inside, there are layers of cake made with butter, eggs, sugar and malted barley flour. Strawberries, lemons, oranges, and apricots flavor the cream fillings. The petits fours are sweet, redolent of almond paste and incredibly tender. Two pieces have a total of 270 calories.
Open the box of Classic Petit Fours and find a pretty palate of pastel confections. This one’s ideal for those who want to try an assortment of flavors. My favorites were the Mocha Bean, less sweet than the Wedding Cremes and boasting a milky-coffee taste and a real coffee bean decoration; and the Luscious Lemon, which has a real wake-me-up punch of citrus owing to homemade lemon curd.
A box of one dozen petits fours is $38.25. The price increases as the designs become more elaborate, such as with the ones shaped like tea hats (a box of six for $26.95) or critters such as bees (a dozen for $42.75).
They may be petit in stature, but definitely not in leaving an impression.
Winner of the Food Gal Contest
In last week’s Food Gal contest, I asked you to tell me about a time when you weren’t necessarily the sharpest knife in the block. The winner will receive a Chicago Cutlery ProHold 13-piece block set.
Maryam, who wrote, “My past semester in college, I decided to head out to San Francisco and check out this new restaurant. With my lack of direction in unfamiliar territory, I saw a cop and jay-walked to ask him for directions. I should have thought that one through.”