I don’t know about you, but when I am given a huge dessert, I always end up leaving a good chunk of it on the plate, regardless of how tasty it was. However, presented with an unlimited supply of bite sized treats, I’ll eat and eat and eat, happily popping each little morsel. The same feeling of satiety just doesn’t seem to click in my brain. I’m sure I can eat twice the quantity of any food item if it’s presented in tiny bite sized wafer-thin pieces.
Which brings me to my entry for this month’s Sugar High Friday hosted by Cooksister, and her delightful theme of Petits Fours. To begin with, I knew I’d be doing something with citrus zest. I recently came by six gorgeous Buddha’s Hand citron that were leftovers from a photo shoot, and was fascinated to figure out what to do with them. Buddha’s Hands are like the forbidden love child of a lemon and a Chihuly glass sculpture. It’s really bizarre that nature came up with this fruit, but it’s a handy thing to have a round if you want some citrus zest. They are all zest, all of the time. No juice, just peel. Their little fingery shapes give far more surface area than any other citrus fruit, and they are incredibly fragrant as a result.
So, flipping through various recipes, Donna Hay’s Sour Lemon Cake recipe in New Entertaining caught my eye. Crumbly but beautifully moist, I could almost taste the tartness. Of course, the recipe was meant for a full size cake, but that just means a few minor changes in cooking time. I also considered adding a lemony frosting, to make it more of a true petits four… instead, I decided to keep it simple and serve them up with tiny spoonfuls of my plum sauce. Mmm. Truly, little bites of lemony delight. Now, I must be full… but I just can’t seem to resist… just one more! They are so tiny!
Lemon Cake Petits Fours
(Adapted from Donna Hay Entertaining Sour Lemon Cake, p 62)
Makes about 12 little cakes
Required Equipment: A mini muffin tin or Silicone Mini Muffin Mold
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 T citron or lemon zest, finely grated
1 egg, beaten lightly
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 cup yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup lemon juice
powdered sugar for garnish if desired
Preheat oven to 350F
Beat the butter, sugar and citrus zest until creamy. Add the egg and beat for about 2 minutes. Sift the flour, baking powder into the bowl, and gently fold in. Then, fold in the yogurt and lemon juice. Spoon into a non-stick mini muffin tin, not quite to the tops of the cups.
Bake for 25 minutes. Check the middle muffin with a toothpick… when inserted, it should come out clean. If they aren’t done, continue to bake, checking every 5 to 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Let cool in the pan for about 2 minutes, and then gently remove and cool on a tray. serve as little muffins, or trim any edges from the tops and serve bottom side up as little cakes.