Petit four

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Petit four
An assortment of petits fours
Type Confectionery
Course Dessert
Place of origin France
Main ingredients Varies by type
Cookbook: Petit four  Media: Petit four
French assortment of petits fours

A petit four (plural: petits fours, also known as mignardises) is a small confectionery or savoury appetizer. The name is French, petit four (French pronunciation: ​[pə.ti.fur]), meaning "small oven".


Petits fours were traditionally made in a smaller oven next to the main oven.[1] In the 18th century some bakers made them during the cooling process of coal-fired brick ovens to take advantage of their stored heat, thus exploiting coal's high burning temperature and economizing on its high expense relative to wood.[citation needed]

In 19th century France, gas ovens did not exist. People largely used the breadmakers' ovens which only had two settings, a very strong and high heat setting used for roasting meats and vegetables, or the petit four setting. This setting was of a lower temperature allowing the correct heat to cook pastries.[2]


Petits fours come in three varieties:

In a French patisserie, assorted small desserts are usually called mignardises, while hard, buttery biscuits are called petit fours.

See also[edit]


  • Garrett, Toba. Professional Cake Decorating. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Page 226.
  • Kingslee, John. A Professional Text to Bakery and Confectionary. New Delhi, India: New Age International, 2006. Page 244.
  • Maxfield, Jaynie. Cake Decorating for the First Time. New York: Sterling Pub, 2003. Page 58.
  • Rinsky, Glenn, and Laura Halpin Rinsky. The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. Page 214.
  1. ^ 2 January 2014
  2. ^ Jebirashvili, Revaz. "The History of Petit Fours". Mini Desserts. Retrieved 10 February 2015.