Treat petite: how to make miniature bakes at home

Date:25-02-2014 08:58:04 read:0

Treat petite: how to make miniature bakes at home

Move over Cronuts – a new book shows readers how to create tiny, exquisite jam tarts and biscuits in their own kitchens

Mini delights: rose religieuses as baked by Fiona Pearce 

We’ve had the cupcake craze, the Cronut fad, and even – briefly – a fling with whoopie pies. Given our rapidly expanding waistlines, it’s just as well, then, that one of Britain’s big baking trends this year is predicted to be miniature versions of our favourite treats.

Fussy bakes of this type are, you might imagine, best left to the professionals. But baker Fiona Pearce has released a new book, Treat Petite, claiming we can create teeny-tiny tarts and baby biscuits in our own kitchens.

The Australia-born baker, who became hooked on cake making after moving to Britain in 2008, started experimenting with miniature bakes as a way of minimising the amount of sweet treats she and her husband were eating at home (as any keen baker knows, a surfeit of cake lying around is a health hazard of the hobby).

"I decided to start downsizing the bakes, so that we could still enjoy little treats, while keeping our indulgence in check,” she explains. “Initially I just focused on making smaller simple bakes like cupcakes and biscuits, but over time, the satisfaction of being able to make super cute, fancy bakes – small enough to fit in a doll’s house – fuelled my passion for miniature baking, and I have been trying to miniaturise bakes ever since.”

Mistress of the micro: Fiona Pearce

The recipes in her book, filled as they are with intricate piping and spun toffee, clearly require more patience and attention to detail than your average chocolate sponge, but Fiona is keen to emphasise they are suitable for amateur bakers, not just pastry chefs. “Most of the treats are not any more complicated to make then their original-sized versions,” she says. “And basic baking tools which most people have hiding in their kitchen are usually all you need. You really don’t need a lot of fancy kitchen gadgets or specialist baking equipment to create miniature treats.”

The finished results are ideal for impressing your guests at birthday parties, afternoon teas or any event where people might prefer to have canapé-style mouthfuls of different cakes - especially, I imagine, work functions, where most of us feel too awkward to tuck into a huge slab of cake in front of our colleagues. But Fiona admits it might take a little time to make your mini dacquoise towers or rose religieuses look quite as dainty as the micro masterpieces she creates. Her crumbs of comfort? “All baking takes practice and patience, so it's important to take the time to play around with new techniques, experiment with new recipes and learn from any mistakes. Most baking involves trial and error, so it's important to persevere - even if your first attempt doesn't turn out how you imagined.”

'Treat Petite: 40 Sweet and Savoury Miniature Bakes' by Fiona Pearce is published by The Ivy Press on March 17, £12.99

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    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013