Treat Petite: 42 Sweet and Savoury Miniature Bakes by Fiona Pearce
|Treat Petite: 42 Sweet and Savoury Miniature Bakes by Fiona Pearce|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A collection of miniature bakes which will have you drooling all in a gorgeous book.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: March 2014|
|Publisher: Ivy Press|
|External links: Author's website|
I know that they're not good for me, but I do love cakes. There's always so much of them though - and I'm not going to let them go to waste, am I? I love making them too, but no matter how hard I try they always seem to end up more Little Chef than Masterchef. When I found Treat Petite it seemed that I just might have found the answer to my prayers. It's a book of forty two recipes for tiny petit fours, little sponge cakes, jewel-like macaroons and gorgeous savouries. They're all mere morsels - just big enough to pop into your mouth.
Let's start off with the basics though, as Fiona Pearce does, with a list of the tools and equipment which you'll need. It's short and there's nothing there which is too out of the ordinary. I was taken by the idea of a non-stick rolling pin (I'm using a wooden one which is nearly half a century old - which might explain a few things...) and the idea of using a squeeze bottle to make mini pancakes or ice biscuits seemed like genius.
I did notice the lack of guidance on basic techniques, but in truth there's little of any complexity that isn't explained in the individual recipes. Each section (think Sponges or Meringues) begins with the recipes which you're going to be needing on a regular basis - such as vanilla sponge cake and vanilla buttercream for Sponges. Then we move on to the individual recipes, such as the miniature Victoria sponges. They're filled with a raspberry and rosewater preserve and cream and the finished sponge stands about 2cm tall and 3.5cm across. I know this because the finished product is shown actual size on each recipe and I am sad enough to get a ruler out and measure it. The recipe makes twenty one of these treats.
Now, without giving you too much information, I drooled whilst I read this book. sometimes a big cake can seem overwhelming, almost sickly, but there's something so tempting about a bite-sized treat which you could pop into your mouth. Out of the forty two recipes there wasn't a single one which I didn't want to eat NOW. There are pomegranate-honey pavlovas in the meringue section and mini dacquoise towers which contain a gorgeous mocha mousse. In the Chocolate section I would have killed for the chocolate cups with mango mousse - the mint leaf on the top would have counted towards my five a day, wouldn't it? Ther recipe uses gelatine, but isn't difficult.
In the Pastry chapter the mini mille-feuilles looked just a little fragile to eat without making a mess, but I'm sure that I would cope. The raspberry tartlets and lemon-lime gems looked much more manageable - and they're about the size of a ten pence piece. In the Choux section there's a tiny croquembouche - sixteen tiny, crisp balls of pastry, held together with vanilla custard and spun toffee, standing about 3cm high and 3cm wide. Am I going to make it? No - but it looks absolutely gorgeous and would be a lovely touch for a special occasion. But I just might make the feathered chocolate eclairs on the next page...
I will get a lot of value from the chapter on biscuits though. There's a recipe for coffee bean biscuit - a coffee shortbread shaped like a bean (you use a cocktail stick to make the 'dimple') and I could see a lot of uses for them. As a child I loved iced gem biscuits and the frosted jewel biscuits in this section look very similar. They'll probably taste better too - my recollection of iced gem biscuits is that the icing was good and the biscuit rather disappointing!
The cupcakes which I've seen on sale recently have all looked almost obscenely large but the recipes here produce ones which are literally no more than a mouthful. White Russian cupcakes have vodka in the chocolate ganache and look delectable, but the coconut cupcakes are probably better for everyday! The book finishes with some savouries. Pearce isn't precious about using shop-bought puff pastry (which is a relief!) and uses it to make spinach and feta triangles - another bite-sized treat. Caesar salad bites would make great canapes - the bases are made with bread. My favourite though are the mini blini stacks with smoked salmon, which once again look a little precarious. I wouldn't mind though.
A lot of the recipes are fiddly - it's not the type of food which you run up whilst supervising the kids' homework and getting a meal ready. But - if you enjoy spending some time and taking care you will be rewarded. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. Being Ivy Press it's not just the content of the book that's good - the book itself is beautiful, a pleasure to handle and it will stand quite a bit of kitchen time.
Many of the book which show you how to produce high-end food seem to think that you're catering for the masses - Treat Petite produces relatively smaller quantities. But if you're interested in similarly gorgeous food on a larger scale then we can recommend The Roux Brothers on Patisserie by Michel and Albert Roux. That's Michel Roux Jr's uncle and Dad, by the way.
You can read more book reviews or buy Treat Petite: 42 Sweet and Savoury Miniature Bakes by Fiona Pearce at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Treat Petite: 42 Sweet and Savoury Miniature Bakes by Fiona Pearce at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.