petits fours

“So many ideas, so much I want to do, so little time…
But I love the feeling of being inspired…”
Canelle Vanille on Twitter

I love the lines above. Saw them on twitter a few days ago, and they stayed in my mind. I went back to look for them today as a quote that is truly reflective of my feelings too!! Aran expressed it beautifully!
It’s now the end of the strawberry season here and I giggled with glee looking at my stash of strawberries I had lugged from my recent vacation. Sadly now with the mercury rising, they threaten to spoil very soon. If earlier I could safely keep them fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days, now even 2-3 days is cutting it fine. I had to look for ways to use them, preserve them!
I recalled having read about roasted strawberries somewhere, maybe at Canelle et Vanille, but could find only roasted rhubarb. It was back to old friend Mr Google, and I was happy to find a couple of link. Headed straight for Zoes beautiful blog Zoe Bakes (also the celebrated co-author of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a day), a place I knew I’d find something special!
I wasn’t disappointed! I found the most delectable recipe for roasted strawberries in balsamic vinegar, a promise to preserve this passionate berry for treats when the sun beats down madly. In her post (in the comments), Zoe suggests that these can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, else frozen for longer, and they still retain their shape and taste. Couldn’t get better than this …
By the time I entered the kitchen I had forgotten the measures of ingredients but had the basic idea in mind. Instead of using a lined cookie sheet, I roasted in an oven proof CorningWare dish, which ensured that all the precious juices were saved. The sugar had to be the ever charming vanilla sugar, and the aged balsamic from a precious jar that Asha from Fork Spoon Knife parcelled to me as part of a gift from NYC! (In there also was some delicious coffee which I used in Espresso Double Chocolate Biscotti)  I loved it, the bottle, the packaging, the very idea! I’ve saved it long for something special, and this was IT! Thank you Asha…
To celebrate the gorgeous flavours that literally sang out of the bowl of the roasted strawberries, I just had to make some dessert petit fours! Made these little no bake cheesecakes as an experiment while the strawberries were chilling. They’re a sort of panna cotta but the cream is not cooked. I whipped up the cream with caramel syrup, and then added gelatin to stabilise it and help it set. Worked out fine as the dessert held it’s ground, and was very simple to demold too. Normally, my panna cotta is hardly ever as obliging to leave a mold cleanly, so I was delighted! The caramel added a special deep sweetness. NICE!!

Eggless Caramel Cream Refrigerator Cakes (No Bake)
Serves 4
70gms Homemade Graham Crackers or Digestive Biscuits, crushed
30gms melted unsalted butter
200ml low fat cream, chilled
2tbsps caramel syrup
1/2 tsp gelatin
1/2 quantity Roasted Balsamic Strawberries (recipe follows)
Mix the crushed biscuit crumbs with melted butter, divide equally between 4 X 3″ dessert rings. Press down firmly to make a base. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
Soften gelatin over 1 tbsp of cold water in a small bowl, and place this bowl in a bigger bowl of luke warm water till the gelatin is clear. (If the weather is very warm, you might need to increase the gelatin by a 1/8 tsp)
Beat the cream and caramel to soft-medium peaks. Taste and increase the caramel if you like. I like to keep it mildly sweet.
Next pour in the clear gelatin beating constantly.
Divide the whipped cream mix between the 4 dessert rings, level with an offset spatula, or tap gently to level, and place in freezer, covered, to set for 30-45 minutes.
Now you can bring it back into the fridge and chill until ready to serve.
Demold gently, garnish with some grated chocolate. Top with 2 tbsps of chilled roasted balsamic strawberries, and some strawberry-balsamic reduction. ENJOY!!

Roasted Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar
Adapted from Zoe Bakes
450-500gms strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/8 cup aged balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place the strawberries in a glass baking dish.
Sprinkle over the vanilla sugar, followed by the aged balsamic vinegar. Mix gently.
Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
Drain strawberries.Put the liquid into a sauce pan, and reduce to a thick concentrate. It will thicken a bit as it cools. Chill before use.
♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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“What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to shake the tree?”
Logan Pearsall Smith

T’was the day after Diwali, and the bazaars were finally nice and empty. The festive frenzy had ceased, & I could stroll at leisure. The fruit vendor came to me with a clutch of plums, firm, large & very tempting. While he tried to talk me into buying them, I could see Arans beautiful Roasted Plum Muscavado Sugar Cakes in the back of my head. I didn’t need convincing at all! Came home bounding with renewed energy. Yes, indeed a bonanza to find some plums when fall is here, and time for a bake with fruit again. Made the cakes with whatever I had on hand. Me, being me, the adventurous ‘substitution baker’ played around. No muscavado sugar here, so used soft brown sugar. Didn’t have sour cream, so used my own oft-used concoction of hung yogurt, low fat cream & a dash of lime juice. Also added some almond meal to it. I still have a bagful I made for my escapades with French macarons in eager anticipation of ‘feet’!
I like the addition of almond meal to bakes. It adds oomph to the texture, making each bite more interesting, and is also nutritionally good. Just 1/4 to 1/2 cup of almond meal in desserts is becoming more of a norm with me. So far, the experiments have ended on a positive note! These turned out to be pretty cakes indeed, and the house smelt so good. I made just half the recipe, using my 3″ tart rings I had bought from a trip into Old Delhi not too long ago. I love an opportunity to use them, and this was just the thing. Petit fours, individually plated desserts etc are the love of my life. A little dusting of sugar, a tiny dollop of cream, just the tiniest hint of silver leaf, a few slivers of almonds … all dressed up & looking good!! Just the way I like it…

Roasted Plum and Soft Brown Sugar Cakes
adapted from this recipe @ Canelle et Vanille
Makes 6 mini cakes, 3″ each
90 grams butter, room temperature
75 grams soft brown sugar sugar
60 grams granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
90 grams sour cream (I used a mix of hung yogurt + 1 tbsps low fat cream + juice of 1/2 lime)
90 grams flour
30gms almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
2-3 firm, ripe plums
Soft brown sugar for sprinkling Method:
Cream butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, lime zest and vanilla together until light. Add the egg, and beat. Scrape the bowl well. Add the sour cream and mix. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until batter comes together.
Lightly butter and flour mini cake molds (I used tart rings that are 3″x1″). Pipe the batter into the molds. Place thin slices of plum on top and sprinkle with some more brown sugar.
Bake at 180CF for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Wait until slightly cool to unmold them gently.

Serve warm, with a little dollop of cream, if desired!

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“Sing a song of Birthdays
Full of fun and cheer,
And may you keep on having them
For many a happy year.”
Author Unknown

Sitting waiting for the cream to come by…yum yum yum!!

All dressed up for the party… it’s the BIG 1 !!

The head was dizzy with a heady mix of poppet, party & France. An eclectic mix of thoughts, while enjoying the delectable success of my rustic Peach & Plum Galette , set me thinking. Had to make something for Dhhangit’s sweet little poppet, Mayumi, who is about to turn 1.
Dhhangit has the cutest little baby girl, & this loving Mum has called out a 1st birthday party event for the little one…the Perfect Party Dishes blog event!

I love kids birthday parties & thought…why not nick some galette dough & try a few fruit tarts for the party.

Dhhangit’s event jostled up many memories & made me dig into archives & reminiscence about days that had gone by… it seems SO long ago when mine were as young as hers. Dived into my album to put my thoughts into snapshots…

My kids are both way past 1, but these ‘Big 1 buntings are still around. My sis had sent them to me from the States for the my little fellows’ 1st birthday (in the year 2000!!), but in the general chaos that ensued, the buntings didn’t see light of day. I rediscovered them a while ago, & have on hung to them for some silly reason. Now it doesn’t seem silly any more…little did I know that I would blog ’em for baby Dhhangit’s turning 1!!

Fruit Galette Tarts
From Peach and Plum Galette as adapted ‘minimally’ from Susan @ Food Blogga
All-purpose flour – 1 3/4 cups
Granulated sugar – 1/3 cup
Coarse cornmeal – 1/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Cold butter – 1/2 cup; cut into small pieces
Fat-free buttermilk – 1/3 cup

Fruit Filling:
Plums – 10-12; stoned & chopped
Peaches – 3 cups; thinly sliced (about 3-4 large)
Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar – 1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Pure vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
Fresh minced ginger – 1 teaspoon
Cornstarch – 3 tablespoons

Egg white – 1
Fat-free milk – 2 tablespoons
Turbinado sugar – 1 tablespoon


  • To make the dough:
  • Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, and salt in a processor; pulse 2-3 times. Add butter and pulse 4-5 times, or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With the processor running, slowing pour the buttermilk through the chute, processing until the dough forms a ball.
  • Remove the dough ball and adhere any remaining pieces of dough to it, then wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Refrigerate for 30-35 minutes. (I did it for almost an hour because the weather was HOT)
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • To make the fruit filling, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss gently, making sure that the cornstarch is coating the fruit. (This will prevent too much juice from leaking out while the galette bakes.)
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Starting at the center of the dough, roll out, & then cut 3″ circles with a fluted cookie cutter.
  • Lightly whisk the egg white and milk in a small bowl. Brush dough with egg wash, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  • Line the tart pan with parchment paper pieces, place the dough circles on them, brush the rims with the wash & sprinkle sugar over the edges.
  • Add about a tbsp of the fruit mixture (drain any liquid first), to each little tart.
  • Bake for 15-20 hour, or until crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Pipe swirls of buttercream or whipped cream on each & decorate with sprinkles etc. Chill until time to serve.

Just for you Dhhangit… hope your party’s a great HIT & PERFECT…as I know it will be!

Dressed them up in some buttercream left-over from the last DB gateau challenge….& we were ready to sing Happy Birthday to you !! The pretty yummy petit fours disappeared once the children came back from school… ‘They are soooo good Mama“, said one; “Awesome“, said the other. These tasted great chilled, so can be made in advance; & chilled before serving.

For some more kid party ideas, maybe you’d like to check out some of these…

Mini Chocolate Tartlets

Jam Tartlets

Savoury Cheese Cookies

Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

Iced Party Cookies


Smartie Cookies

Hung Curd/Yogurt Party Dip with chips, crudites etc.

Stained Glass Cookies

Savoury Mushroom Tartlets

Wholewheat Gingerbread Men

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