Help with petit fours and pre-desserts

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by someday, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. someday


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    Professional Chef
    So, I really like my new(ish) job for the most part. One thing I am not very experienced in in baking and pastry work--I have the basics down, I can turn out decent bread, make cakes, custards, ice creams, caramel, etc. 

    One of my jobs is to come up with an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert and a petit four (usually the chef does the petit four but I want to start helping). A pre-dessert is something along the lines of a little something sweet that the person gets after the entree but before the dessert course. It is basically just a mini dessert that has to be different than anything currently on the menu. They don't like to repeat them for guests that are staying multiple nights, so it pretty much needs to be a new one every day. 

    Petit fours, or maybe more appropriately called mignardises, are the things that you get with your check (chocolates/truffles, macaroons, madelines, etc). 

    I've just about exhausted my repertoire on these things and am seeking some advice. 

    Things I've done in the past for pre-dessert:

    Panna Cotta (usually topped with macerated fruit)

    Chocolate Pot de creme 

    Chocolate mousse with whipped cream

    Various sorbets (they don't like to use these though, so I've only done them in a "pinch")

    Mini-sticky toffee puddings (semi-successful)

    Sometimes I just macerate berries and fold into whipped cream, then pipe into a small glass parfait dish with a star tip

    The head chef usually does the mignardises, but it would be nice if I could help him sometimes to take some of the load off and do it sometimes. He's a lot better at chocolate work, plus I have to do the amuse bouche, pre dessert, and family meal every day, so he does that. 

    Anyways, thoughts? I know some of you have been in similar situations, so any tips/advice, as well as recipes (preferable scaled by weight :) ) would be great. 
  2. chefross


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    Former Chef
    I have done that before.

    Let's see if I can get your creativity going here.

    For a dessert Amuse, have you considered a small spoon of fruit soups like strawberry, or cantaloupe?

    ...or a small chocolate cup filled with whatever sweet?

    or a small meringue pavlova with raspberry or apricot jam?

    ...or puff pastry Barquette or Bouchee filled with....pecan pie or banana cream or fruit preserves?

    Does this help? 
  3. passthegravy


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    Sous Chef
    For petit fours (to be served with after meal coffee) I generally make chocolate truffles, honeycomb, mini meringues,or biscuits decorated with chocolate work.

    You could also try making mini tarts, but it is quite time consuming.
  4. flipflopgirl


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    Retired Hospitality
    Ice cream or sherbet molded into fruit shapes (strawberry flavor into strawberry shape for example) used to be a common sight but I have not seen them done in a very long time.

    Same with marzipan...either molded or hand shaped.

    Hand made marshmallows flavored and tinted (mocha with tiny chocolate nibs or chips for example ) maybe dip in chocolate and then in crumbs.

    The options are endless really, if you stop to think that almost any large dessert can be portioned into spoons or demi cups.

    Get a few CBs that have beautiful pix of the recipes and let your imagination run wild.

  5. jgraeff1


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    Professional Chef
    You could do a small take on s'mores or a rootbeer float.

    Banana custard with a beignet

    Macerated berries with chocolate and anglaise

    Crepes filled with mousse or berries

    So many options
  6. adrianchef


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    Pre dessert: how about Espuma this can be made with several different varieties including yogurts etc., and even be made savoury for use as Amuse Bouche, also for Amuse Bouche, what about Beignets, or even Gougeres, again so many different varieties, can even be made sweet,

    again for a stunning amuse bouche Sage Shortbread with Goats cheese, or even Crostini.

    More pre dessert ideas, are ~~Tamarind Pears with Creamed Tapioca or even toffee pear lollipops,  Parma Violet Pannacotta, you could even do a mini candy floss, or ~~Brown Sugar Panna Cotta with Grapefruit Espuma and Cranberry Gel,

    my personal favourite for a pre dessert has to be something we used to make when I was in Bath:- Egg Lettoni, for this you need perfect empty eggs, which you need to blow out the contents, or have lots of boiled eggs on your hands, and repair the egg with sugar syrup, them fill it with Italian meringue half way then add a little Mango coulis for the yolk and finish with more Italian meringue, then serve with sugared soldiers, absolutely stunning, if you pull this off correctly they will want this Pre dessert at least twice a week, Petit fours the list is endless, I personally like:- Turkish delight, or coconut & lime Tuiles, or even chocolate stones, maybe honeycomb or something simple like white chocolate fudge, Florentines, another good one is griottines coated in ganache.

    Hope this helps