Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Petits Fours

Finally spring has arrived here in Germany. It's about time, I don't remember when we still had snow in April. Within 2 weeks the landscape changed from grey and white to pretty greens and spring colors. Trees are starting to bloom and we can finally sit outside to have a nice cup of tea. Inspired by the starting blossoms I made some cherry blossom petits fours.

I was lucky to find some Cherry Blossom (Sakura) extract, when I was traveling to Japan last year. It was not that easy to get as you might think. I got offered many things, when asking for sakura, like pickled sakura, sakura drinks, or sakura candies, before I got the right thing. The taste is very subtle, maybe a little bit like almond.

I used the same butter-cream I made here as macaron filling, which was really good. Please go ahead and share your sakura desserts, if you have made some.

Cherry Blossom (Sakura) Petits Fours
- makes about 14 pieces -

sponge cake:
60 g flour
30 g corn starch
3 eggs
pinch of salt
80 g sugar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

50 g egg whites
80 g sugar
120 g butter, at room temperature
a few drops of cherry blossom extract

50 g - 80 g sour cherry jam (you can also use strawberry or raspberry jam)
150-180 g marzipan

250 g powdered sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. glucose syrup (or corn syrup)
a few drops of cherry blossom extract
pink food coloring

To make the sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a baking sheet (about 26 x 30 cm /10 x 12-inch) with parchment paper.

Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form, while slowly adding the sugar. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time and the vanilla extract.

Mix together the flour and corn starch and sift over the egg mixture. Slowly fold in the flour mixture, until the dough is smooth. Put the dough on the baking sheet and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle a dish towel with sugar and invert the ready baked sponge cake on the towel. Take of the parchment paper and let cool.

To make the butter-cream, lightly whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a bowl over a water bath. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch. Take the bowl off the heat and whip with an electric mixer until you got a shiny and fluffy meringue. When cooled to room temperature add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Keep whisking until light and fluffy, the add the cherry blossom extract to taste.

Cut the sponge in three equal stripes, about 8x28cm (3x11-inch). Spread the jam on one sponge piece. Then spread the butter-cream on top of the next sponge. Put the butter-cream sponge on top of the jam sponge. Add the third piece of sponge. Cover with saran wrap and gently press the cake using a flat object. Put in the fridge for about 2 hours with a small baking sheet on top to level the surface.

Roll out the marzipan to fit the cake. Spread the top of the cake with a thin layer of jam and put the marzipan on top. Now cut into bite size petits fours, about 4x4 cm (1.5 x 1.5 inch).

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, water and glucose syrup over a hot water bath. Heat until lukewarm, then remove from heat and stir in the cherry blossom extract and food coloring. You can either dip the petits fours into the glaze or spoon it over them. Make sure it has the right consistency, or wait a little until it has thickened.

Let dry, before serving.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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