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Dec 19, 2010 10:36 AM

Torte? Petit fours? What word am I looking for?

I am trying to search the boards and the web for a recipe, but I don't really know what the name of the dish is, maybe you guys can help.

I received a silicone pan for Christmas with three long skinny reservoirs, like 2" x 2" x 8" or so. I don't know what its intended use is, it's not labeled in any way. But the dessert I'm thinking of is that size and shape, layers of white or chocolate cake with filling--almond, lemon, buttercream, cherry and chocolate are the ones I remember having--in between layers, and there was a hard chocolate or "almond bark" shell on the outside. We used to get these around Christmas when I was a kid, I'm pretty sure they came from a food catalog.

I know I could wing it, but I'm looking for inspiration, maybe some pictures. I'm sure there are some awesome ones out there if I could just figure out what to search for! Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Petit fours are usually small desserts made from a wide range of delicate ingredients. They sometimes appear in the form of dainty biscuits and I often see them presented as puff pastries, or meringue concoctions. I think your pan would work just fine for something like that. If they seem a bit too long they'd be easy to cut in halves. However, I think I might prefer to use your pan for miniature tortes.

    8 Replies
    1. re: todao

      That must be what it's intended for, I can't imagine what else it would be. So I think that the petit fours and layered tortes that we used to get were exactly those things, just dipped in "bark" coating instead of frosted or glazed in the traditional way.

      1. re: WhatThePho

        Sounds like mini loaf pans to me. I've seen 6 x 6 x 2's or even smaller, the size can vary a bit depending on the manufacurer, sold as four pans in one connected piece. Petit fours are usually cut into various very small shapes with cutters, from a sheet cake, layered, glazed and decorated, but they can vary in product base, as todao mentioned. I've never seen a pan specifically for individual petit four shapes, they are normally cutouts. What you describe sounds like petit fours, but they are usually glazed with a icing or fondant covered, not a hard chocolate shell that I've ever seen. I always see petit fours in various Christmas food catalogs, Harry & David, Swiss Colony, especially that company, and the like. This photo is what I think of when petit fours are discussed, shapes can vary from square to round, diamonds; different cutters can be used. The size is the thing, they're petite:

        Are your pans something like these, or maybe individual silicon pans connected in a straight line?

        If those are it or something like it, those are for mini quickbreads, or even mini loaves of yeasted breads, but I you could do lots of different thing with them, layered miniature tortes, ice cream molds, molded desserts like panna cotta, etc.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          A picture of the pans would be very helpful. I think a 2" cake would make for a large petits fours (more of a grandes fours;-) ). I was picturing the OP's pans to look more like this, only longer reservoirs:

          Those could be cut to petits fours. As the mail order ones go, I remember my parents receiving them as gifts, covered in a heavier icing, more like chocolate, than traditional petits fours icing. I think it makes them more durable for shipping. Was it maybe Swiss Colony? It does say it's covered in chocolate coating.

          1. re: chowser

            Mm, I wouldn't know what to do with that pan, very mini loaves of cake, even layered chocolate bars of some sort, as they are about 3.5 x 2 x 1 per mold. I guess they could be cut into thin layers pf cake for petit fours, you'd get a yield of three cakes per mold. Seems like more work making them this way that with sheet cake cutouts, but who knows.

            I bet it was Swiss Colony, they had the market on petit fours and quite a few other holiday food gifts, and still do pretty well, from what I'd read. They carry a few other varieties of pfs as well. I think their catalob is where I first saw and read about petit fours when I was a kid; little layered cakes, a kid's dream.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              some of the new nontraditional Bouche de Noel pans have inserts like this.....non rolled

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Yeah, Chowser! That's what I remember them looking like. I've never had them glazed like they're supposed to be, sounds very very sweet! :)

                Bushwickgirl, you're probably right about just using sheet cake cut-outs being the smarter method.

                The more I think about it, the more I think they're supposed to be for snack-size bites of banana bread, or for cracker size slices of rye for topping...maybe? Pic soon.

                1. re: WhatThePho

                  Or even just for rice krispies treats and then dip in chocolate. Can you make fake twinkies?

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              Quickbreads! I bet you're right about that. Mine are the length of the pan but would slice into cute 2' x 2" pieces. I will try and post a pic soon.