Royal Renaissance Treats

Part 1

Petit Fours1

I have never prided myself for being a good baker. I’m not sure if it’s my timing or the fact that I struggle with following instructions. It usually takes me two or three tries before I can perfect what I’ve set out to do, so I thought why not share this experience – maybe I can get some much needed baking guidelines from you!

Recently I was asked to do a look from the Renaissance period. For readers who are not familiar with this time in history, it was an era that was coined in France between the fifteenth and seventeenth century. The period was titled La Renaissance or ‘rebirth’ for its cultural and scientific innovations. Sometimes the best way to learn about the past is through focusing on one element from an era. In my case, I have been working with food to better understand the embellished lives of the Renaissance royals.

Petit Fours3

Despite the strides made in both fine arts and scientific discovery during this period, France was still very much archaic in terms of social development. The divide between the nobility and the people of France was huge. French kings would spend thousands on sculptures, clothing and parties while many of the people of the country went hungry. Over the upcoming weeks I will be posting menus that reflect this period of excess for the era’s nobility.

Petits Fours4

I recently made a French desert that was (and still is) a popular French recipe throughout history. While Petit Fours were not invented until later, bite-sized sweets and other finger foods were very popular for any royal function during La Renaissance. During my first attempt of making these dainty desserts my final product did not turn out as the delicate royal sweet I had intended it to be. The icing used did not result in the same glossy finish that is common for these mini-cakes. Instead the icing looked clumpy. The icing recipe was one I made from scratch with a mix of powdered sugar and butter. It was delicious icing, just the wrong type of icing for this recipe. I even attempted to cover the icing with chocolate ganache for a smoother surface. This also did not work out as you can see from the above picture.

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I’m going to try this idea again this week, I saved half of the cake in the freezer for my second attempt at this royalty-inspired treat. Any tips from the pros out there?

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P.S. Though the frosting for these cakes did not turn out as I had hoped, the cake recipe I used for this dessert came out perfectly!