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Dainty Petit Fours with Buttercream Fondant

The perfect treat for Mom! Also known as Fondant Fancies or French Fancies, these fancy confections would be served at the end of dinner or with coffee and tea.

All the women of Downton Abbey would want to offer this rather beautiful treat with their tea service.

As we prepare the menu for Basil & Salt’s Summer Tea Party, I’ve been thumbing through this delectable cookbook and can’t wait to prepare many of these recipes myself.  More importantly though, I am jazzed that I’m able to share this second recipe with you with the permission of Adams Media and Simon and Schuster, of course.

This gorgeous expanded edition provides features recipes for more than 150 dishes inspired by the award-winning series. 

Taking inspiration from both the show and the times — and featuring dozens of photos as well as historical insights — the cookbook will delight any Downton Abbey fan as well as home cooks with a taste for the way people (both upstairs and downstairs) ate in a bygone era. From cucumber sandwiches and berry scones for afternoon tea to dinner party fare of smoked salmon mousse and stuffed leg of lamb with almond fig sauce and hearty staff lunches featuring Yorkshire pudding and bubble and squeak, readers will become real life Mrs. Patmores as they turn out food fit for the Crawleys!

Dainty Petit Fours with Buttercream Fondant

Yields 30 Petit Fours

For Cake

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature

For Glaze

  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

For Fondant

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.

2. For cake: In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. Be sure to beat well after each addition.

4. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then add to the batter.

5. Pour mixture into a well-greased and lightly floured 9″ baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before moving the cake to wire rack to cool completely.

6. Cut a thin slice off each side of the cake, then cut cake into 1″ squares. Place squares a half inch apart on a large baking sheet.

7. For glaze: In a large bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, water, and orange and almond extracts. Beat until well blended, then apply glaze evenly over tops and sides of cake squares. Let dry. Repeat if necessarily to thoroughly coat squares. Make sure glaze dries completely.

8. For fondant: In another large bowl, mix together corn syrup and shortening. Mix in salt and vanilla, then gradually mix in confectioners’ sugar and knead by hand until it forms a stiff dough. If dough is sticky, add more confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

9. Roll out dough on a clean surface that has been dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Roll dough until it is no thicker than ⅛” thick. Cut fondant to fit over cakes, and smooth fondant down over the sides of the cakes.

Etiquette Lessons
There is a certain etiquette for eating a petit four depending on its size. Large petit fours that take more than two bites to eat should be eaten with a fork. Small petits fours of one or two bites are eaten with the fingers. Either way, it is polite to serve your petits fours in a paper wrapper to protect your guests’ fingers from the delicate frosting.

“Excerpted from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Expanded Edition by Emily Ansara Baines. Copyright © 2012, 2014, 2019 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Adams Media, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.”

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