Petit Four Sec

by Eddy Van Damme on May 3, 2010

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
  1. 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.
  2. Combine very well the almond flour, sugar (2) and cornstarch.
  3. Add the vanilla to the stiff whipped egg whites and remove from machine.
  4. Re-whisk the egg whites to make creamy and gradually fold in the dry ingredients. Do not over-fold.
  5. 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.
  6. Let cool and fill with filling of choice.
  7. Decorate with a chocolate décor.

21 comments on “Petit Four Sec

  1. Oscar on said:

    As usual, something very interesting and noteworthy. Thanks for inspiring me!
    Oscar Raul.

  2. Just beautiful Eddy, I’ve always loved petite fours, they are like little individual masterpieces. Your’s look wonderful and nice and simple to make – I think I’ll make some of these for mothers day afternoon tea – thanks for posting this 🙂

  3. Hilary Adams on said:

    These look really good, Chef! I’m interested to try them!

    When I first read this, I noticed a close similarity to the gerbet macaroons ingredient-wise. I pulled out that recipe and took a look to find the differences. How different is the texture between these and the macaroons? And, I know that the gerbet macaroons tend to crack less in a convection oven. Do these need any special handling?

    Also, you mentioned a homemade stencil to get the thickness desired. How thick are these? How much rise can you expect to get from these?

    Thanks, Chef! As always, wonderful post! ;0)

  4. Diana Wallace on said:

    These were amazing! I could of eaten the whole tray! You did it again Chef Eddy! They are perfection!

  5. annyon on said:

    Would you mind sharing a fail-proof souffle recipe? Perhaps one with a sabayon sauce?

  6. janette M on said:

    The petite fours with the cocoa nibs were really tasty and they look really cute with the chocolate squares on the top.

  7. Rebecca V on said:

    The Petit Fours were very tasty the strawberry filling and the cherry liquor gave the marzipan a very good flavor

  8. Jessica L on said:

    I really liked the petit fours. I dont like marzipan because of the almond flavor but adding the strawberry preservatives and cherry liquor really improved the flavor so our petit fours with strawberry filling were delicious. Also, the cocoa nibs over the petit four gave it a nice look.

  9. Chef Eddy, I ate this yesterday and your product taste really good. Thanks Chef Eddy… see you next week…

  10. Darienne on said:

    Whoever does the photography on your website is a genius along with you, Chef Eddy. Together you make exquisite music!

  11. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Today has been a very busy one and your compliment made my day much -much brighter! It’s me who gets behind the camera lens Darienne, so your compliment is very much appreciated.
    My best, Eddy.

  12. Jena on said:

    I see what you meant about the new camera! Your pictures before were beautiful but these are absolutely stunning! The Petit Fours look adorable and delicious~
    I was wondering if you could bake them in molds instead of on a baking sheet? Or if you could pipe them out; I don’t have a stencil at home, you see…

  13. yola on said:

    A good combination. crunchy and healthy. exelente

  14. Rose on said:

    Oh My Goodness!!! I could eat the computer screen right now!!!

  15. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Hilary,
    The texture of these is different in comparison to gerbet macaroons. These are more crisp-chewy versus soft and tender chewy. They do not need special handling except, the batter can not be overfolded once the almond flour mixture is added. The thickness can be adjusted, these here are about 2.5 mm thick(1/8 inch) but they can be thicker if desired.
    All the best, Eddy.

  16. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Annyon,
    I do not mind at all, it is just that I have over 90 recipe request a week and I regret to say that I do not have the time to respond. I will do an article on a souffe soon though.
    All the best and I am trully sorry I had to say no,

  17. Eddy, Do you mind sharing what you used to make your stencil? I could see so many uses for that!!!!

    I am so happy to have stumbled upon your website, it is wonderful!!!!! I especially like that you have some gluten free treats!!!

  18. Savanna Cunningham on said:

    As usual i’m impressed! And this recipe i cant wait to try! i have made the traditional petit fours and they are just sooo time consuming, and if you dont get that icing just right an smooth they turn out dreadful!

  19. I have been interested in your site for awhile, I’m embarrased to say I have owned your book for sometime, and had not realised you were the author. Congrads on both book and site. 🙂

  20. I thought the idea of making your own stencil was brilliant! The more I learn about baking, the more I learn how you can be creative with your tools and come out with wonderful products. I will definitely look into this for my own petit fours.

  21. OMG that looks soooooo scrumptious!!!!!

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