Frangipane Petit Four with Raspberry Mascarpone Frosting
We hosted another tea party yesterday and I made some polenta tartlets and individual apricot pies. I had some leftover dough and almond cream from each, so I combined the two and baked them until they became dry. The result was similar to a "petit four sec". I had made eggplant rollups for dinner as well, so I used the leftover mascarpone to make a butter cream frosting which I then smeared onto each petit four. It worked like magic.
If an almond cream tart and a polenta tartlet had a baby, my frangipane petit four would probably be the result. Improvising with leftovers is a lot of fun. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but when it does, the result is true culinary innovation. If you have no other use for the leftovers, it's the perfect time to experiment and be creative.
Yields: 121-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup coarse polenta (not quick cooking)
1 drizzle canola oil, for greasing the food processor
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon anise extract
2/3 cups sugar, + 2 tablespoons for dough
1-1/3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon imitation brandy extract
1-1/3 cups almond flour, (125 grams)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, + extra for greasing the molds
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons raspberry extract
4 drops red food coloring
1 drop yellow food coloring
1 (5.6 ounce) package fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
For the sweet polenta dough:
Using a handheld mixer, whisk one egg with 2 tablespoons of sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. It'll take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add the vanilla and anise extracts. Set aside.
Lightly oil the bowl of your food processor with a silicone brush. Add the flour, baking powder, 1/3 cup sugar, the polenta and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Blend for a few seconds, then add the cold butter. Pulse the mixture until it forms crumbs of butter and flour. Add the egg mixture. Pulse another 3-4 times until it forms a dough. Do NOT overmix. Transfer the dough onto a pastry board lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, even out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. I used the boat-shaped non-stick petit four pans that I recently bought. Grease them all with a thin layer of butter. Place the dough in the individual pie shells. Plastic-wrap them and refrigerate until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
For the frangipane:
Using a handheld mixer, whisk 2 eggs with about 1/3 cup of sugar until you get a pale yellow foam. It'll take about 5-6 minutes. The consistency must be very airy. Add 1/8 teaspoon of salt, the vanilla and brandy extracts. Set aside.
Cream 8 tablespoons of butter with about 1/3 cup of sugar with the handheld mixer. Pour in the egg mixture. Add the almond flour. Mix until the batter is smooth.
For the raspberry mascarpone frosting:
Whisk the mascarpone cheese and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter together. Add the powdered sugar, honey, the red and yellow food colorings and the raspberry extract.
Bake the shells for 15 minutes at 375°F , then lower the temperature to 350°F for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let the petit fours cool completely.
Frost each miniature sweet with the raspberry mascarpone cheese frosting then top with a fresh raspberry.
Serve with a nice cup of hot tea.
I know I keep repeating myself but I prefer making miniature sweets. The petit fours always make my guests feel less guilty , which means they always ask for more.
You can either buy ready-made almond flour, or make it yourself. Remember to get a little more than 250 grams of whole almonds to get the correct amount of flour. Place whole almonds in a metal bowl, then cover them with boiling water. Let them sit for no longer than 2 minutes. Strain and transfer them into a cold water bath. Pat them dry on a towel, and the skins should come right off. Then grind them with a food processor or spice grinder. Make sure you stop before it turns into almond butter. I use the VitaMix Dry Blade Container. The result should be a fine white mill.
To form a flaky dough, it's important to use cold diced butter.
I use McCormick anise extract. If you don't have any, you can use star anise seeds. Dry roast them and grind them finely in a mortar and pestle.
For the raspberry mascarpone frosting, I used approximately the same proportions for my mango cream cheese frosting.
You can substitute any other fruits and extracts for the raspberries, depending on the season. Any small fruits or diced fruits would work.