Biscuit Vanille | Petit Four Sec
Oftentimes pastry chefs are asked “What is your favorite thing to make”? Personally, I’m not sure if I have a true preference for any particular thing, but I must say that I do like the world of Petit Fours. Since they need to be small, beautiful, and delicious and at the same time being texturally interesting makes them very intriguing to me. Another objective is not to make them too complicated so they will not become overly time consuming. Oftentimes pastry chefs are confronted with special dietary request and since these are gluten free petit fours; this type makes them extra noteworthy.
One variety of petit four I particularly like is made with a nut meringue type batter, known in Belgium as Biscuit Vaniile. Many pastry shops in Belgium offer a wide selection of petit fours made using biscuit vanille. Most often, the batter is piped with a medium piping tip and after baking filled with a variety of fillings such as marzipan which has been thinned with liquor, ganache, hazelnut paste etc. In Belgium a very popular version of these are called “bokkepootjes “, which translates into ram’s legs. They are made by piping tubes with a medium tip about 2 inches (5 cm) long and sprinkled with sliced and roughly chopped almonds. After baking they are sandwiched with ganache and both ends are dipped in couverture chocolate.
Getting it all together!
This type of petit four will easily be good for 4-5 days stored at room temperature, provided they are in a tight sealed container. Once baked and cooled they should be crunchy, if under baked they may draw moisture to them and become soft. Therefore baking at a low oven temperature is necessary. I used a homemade stencil, using a food safe product since a standard purchased stencil does not give me the thickness I desire.
Biscuit Vanille| Petit Four Sec
Yield: About 100 sandwiched petit four sec
|8||(8 oz)||Egg whites||240 g|
|½ Cup||(4 oz)||Extra fine granulated sugar (1)||120 g|
|2 teaspoons||(2 tsp)||Dried egg whites||5 g|
|1 teaspoon||(1 tsp)||Vanilla bean paste||5 g|
|1 ½ Cups||(6 oz)||Almond or hazelnut flour-meal||180 g|
|¾ Cup||(6 oz)||Extra fine granulated sugar (2)||180 g|
|4 Tablespoons||( 1 oz)||Cornstarch||30 g|
- In a bowl whip the egg whites to slight foam on medium speed. Meanwhile sift sugar (1) and dried egg whites to combine. Gradually add to whipping whites.
- Combine very well the almond flour, sugar (2) and cornstarch.
- Add the vanilla to the stiff whipped egg whites and remove from machine.
- Re-whisk the egg whites to make creamy and gradually fold in the dry ingredients. Do not over-fold.
- Stencil or pipe the batter on Silpat and sprinkle with cocoa nibs and powdered sugar. Bake in a 320°F (160°C) oven until light golden.
- Let cool and fill with filling of choice.
- Decorate with a chocolate décor.