Ducky baby shower, part II - The Petit Fours

Well, I think I'll divide up the baby shower recipes into 2 or 3 posts, particularly seeing as how I've somehow missed posting about the joys of homemade marshmallows prior to this! That's a long post right there. Then there's the cupcakes, and maybe a finger foods post...

hmm, this glass plate seems awfully precariously positioned.
i have no explanation for that.
But today it's the petit fours, because today is Reveal Day for the monthly Daring Bakers challenge (my first, by the way, now that I'm a Daring Cook and a Daring Baker). As soon as I saw the challenge, I thought it would be perfect for the shower. My next thought was that I must purchase an ice cream maker. The third thought was that my hubby is just the most perfect man ever, because I told him about The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, chock full of fabulous ice cream and sorbet recipes, and when he picked me up from the hospital (for work, not because he abandoned me when I was ill) he presented me with a copy of the recipe book. We then began making ice creams. Thus far, my favorite is Salted Butter Caramel. Joe's is Panforte. The Chartreuse and the Pear Pecorino are pretty great, too, and the Green Tea Ice Cream Joe whipped up yesterday is something special - might be my other favorite, but I've only licked the spoon so far, so it's too early to tell... Long story short (too late), we're enjoying the heck out of our new ice cream maker and recipe book. For the petit fours, I made a saffron ice cream for the ice cream layer, because saffron ice cream is yellow, like rubber duckies. I don't have The Perfect Scoop with me this weekend, but I can post the ice cream recipe when I'm back at the house. There are so many flavors to delight the tongue - while homemade is, of course, preferable, Blue Bell is certainly another option. For this blog post, I'll include the vanilla bean recipe that Elissa, this month's hostess, published - it's also from The Perfect Scoop.

blog-checking lines: The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Preparation time:

Ice cream – 45 min active time, ice cream rests/chills for 1 hour then overnight.

Brown Butter Pound Cake – 2 hours (includes cooling time)

Chocolate Glaze – 15 minutes

Assembly – Ice cream must be frozen ahead of time several hours, then the cake and ice cream freeze overnight. After dipping, the petit fours freeze for one hours.

Vanilla Ice Cream

1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise OR 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (500ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla bean with a paring knife and add to the milk, along with the bean pod. Cover, remove from heat, and let infuse for an hour. If you do not have a vanilla bean, simply heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a medium saucepan until the liquid steams, then let cool to room temperature.

Set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2 litre) bowl inside a large bowl partially filled with water and ice. Put a strainer on top of the smaller bowl and pour in the cream.

In another bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks together. Reheat the milk in the medium saucepan until warmed, and then gradually pour ¼ cup warmed milk into the yolks, constantly whisking to keep the eggs from scrambling. Once the yolks are warmed, scrape the yolk and milk mixture back into the saucepan of warmed milk and cook over low heat. Stir constantly and scrape the bottom with a spatula until the mixture thickens into a custard which thinly coats the back of the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream and stir the mixture until cooled. Add the vanilla extract (1 teaspoon [5ml] if you are using a vanilla bean; 3 teaspoons [15ml] if you are not using a vanilla bean) and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean and freeze in an ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make it without a machine. See instructions from David Lebovitz:

Brown Butter Pound Cake
19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring) (See “Note” section for cake flour substitution)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns. Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely melt the chocolate. Stir in the vanilla and let cool until tepid before glazing the petit fours.

Assembly Instructions – Ice Cream Petit Fours

Line a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) pan with plastic wrap, so that no sides of the pan are exposed and so there is some extra plastic wrap hanging off the sides. Spread 1 ¾ to 2 cups (450ml to 500ml) ice cream into the pan. Cover with more plastic wrap and freeze several hours.

Once the brown butter pound cake has completely cooled, level the top with a cake leveler or a serrated knife. Then split the cake in half horizontally to form two thin layers.

Unwrap the frozen ice cream. Flip out onto one of the layers of cake and top with the second layer of cake. Wrap well in plastic wrap and return to the freezer overnight.

Make the chocolate glaze (see above.)

While the glaze cools, trim ¾” (2cm) off each side of the ice cream cake to leave a perfectly square 7.5” (19cm) ice cream cake. Cut the cake into twenty-five petit fours, each 1.5”x1.5” (4cmx4cm).

Glaze the petit fours one at a time: place a petit four on a fork and spoon chocolate glaze over it.

Place the petit fours on a parchment-lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for one hour.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a baker. It was so fun to try out something a little complex and entirely out of my comfort zone. I'm happy they turned out tolerably ok-looking, if not completely even and with areas completely lacking in chocolate ganache. There was a deep crack through the center of the pound cake - ice cream and ganache cover a multitude of sins - and I didn't quite complete all the petit fours (see below - this was not the end of the world). I had thought about piping a little ducky on top, but that was well beyond my expertise, and I think the duck candies I had already purchased looked pretty darling. I'll keep trying. I'm amazed by the talented bakers who posted their creations on the Daring Bakers website. If you want to see their incredible Baked Alaskas and Petit Fours, they have a slideshow at You can sign up to be a Daring Baker or Daring Cook there as well, and you can look through the archives of challenges past.

Oh, by the way, the brown butter pound cake is, like, the best stuff ever. All those edges you need to slice off are great for snacking, except it's impossible to stop snacking and then it's not snacking but feasting and then you feel somewhat self-indulgent. The second best stuff ever is the petit fours that didn't get glazed because you got tired of dipping and pouring and your ice cream was starting to melt so you just dumped them into a plastic bag and back into the freezer. Those little ice cream sandwiches are so darn good. I was going to toss them out because we had forgotten about them for a few days, but while they waited on the counter to transfer to the trash can on the other side of the kitchen Joe and I each sampled them, and by the time Joe had left the room for a moment and returned I'd downed 2 of the little devils. A few remain, even now, safely in the freezer, ready for another moment of weakness.


  1. Well welcome to the world of being both a Daring Cook and Daring Baker! And congrats on finishing your first challenge as a DB. Your petit fours look and sound fantastic. And what a great combination - the ice cream maker and David Liebovitz's book. I have only made one of his ice creams (peach), and was thoroughly convinced that his book will be a must-buy whenever I purchase an ice cream maker! Anyway, great job on the challenge!

  2. congrats on your first challenge! You did a great job...I love the duckies. This was a perfect dessert for a baby shower. Hope you continue to enjoy the challenges.

  3. Now I am really bummed I didn't eat one of those at the shower! :(

  4. Welcome! Great ice cream flavor choice! And such a cute dessert for a baby shower!


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