|Place of origin||France|
|Main ingredients||Varies by type|
|Cookbook: Petit four Media: Petit four|
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A petit four (plural: petits fours, also known as mignardises) is a small bite-sized 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. 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.
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.
Petits fours come in three varieties:
- Glacé ("glazed"), iced or decorated tiny cakes covered in fondant or icing, such as small éclairs, and tartlets
- Salé ("salted"), savoury bite-sized appetizers usually served at cocktail parties or buffets
- Sec ("dry"), dainty biscuits, baked meringues, macarons, and puff pastries
In a French patisserie, assorted small desserts are usually called mignardises, while hard, buttery biscuits are called petit fours.
- French Fancy, a similar British variety
- Punschkrapfen, a similar Austrian dessert
- List of French desserts
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Petits fours.|
- 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.
- Lynne Olver. "The Food Timeline: history notes--cookies, crackers & biscuits".
- Jebirashvili, Revaz. "The History of Petit Fours". Mini Desserts. Retrieved 10 February 2015.