Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pineapple Tea Cakes

These mini tea cakes from Francois Payard's Simply Sensational Desserts appealed to me at first sight, but it somehow took me very long to put together the ingredients to make them. In fact, even when I thought I was finally ready to go, I noticed that I did not have the almond paste, which Payard notes on the side not to substitute with marzipan. Well, I ended up doing just that because it was too late to stop at that point. The recipe indicated sifting confectioners' sugar on top of the cakes before they were baked, but the batter tasted already quite sweet, so I skipped this step. Instead, I lightly dusted them with confectioners' sugar after they were baked and slightly cooled. Even this was really not necessary other than for aesthetic reasons. In spite of my trespasses, these mini cakes turned out to be quite good. I am not sure what makes these bites tea cakes rather than coffee cakes, but they would surely be equally delightful to enjoy with a cup of coffee. I must warn you though; they look so innocent in their miniature size that it is easy to lose count and overindulge. By the time you notice how many crumpled mini muffin liners lie next to your cup, it may be too late.

The recipe below yields 100 tea cakes. That seemed too many for our household, so I halved it when I made it. The numbers were tricky, so I rounded some. I'll write the quantities that appear in the book so you may decide how to round them in case you need to try this in a smaller scale.

  • 26 oz almond paste
  • 2 tbs apricot preserves
  • 5 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c plus 1 tbs flour
  • 14 tbs melted, unsalted butter
  • 1 pineapple cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2 tbs confectioners' sugar (if desired) for garnish
Preheat your oven to 350F. Take a large baking tray and arrange about 100 mini muffin liners (paper petit four cups) on it.

Place the almond paste and apricot preserves in your mixer's bowl. Using the paddle attachment, beat at medium speed until combined. Add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low, and beat in the flour. Finally add the melted butter and beat until incorporated.

Fill the cups 3/4 full with batter. You can either use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" plain tip for this (as suggested in the book), or take the messy route and spoon/pour them in (like I did). For each tea cake, top the batter with a pineapple chunk. If you are going to sift them with confectioners' sugar, do so. If you find the batter already sweet, you can bake them as is and dust them very lightly with sugar after they've baked and cooled. Bake the cakes for about 25 minutes, or until they are light golden brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet and store the leftovers in a tin.