Petits Fours, in French, means “small ovens” but they actually are little fancy pastries or cookies served after an elegant meal or for an afternoon tea. The wholegrain polenta and almond meal in these delightful pastries blend beautifully with the rich extra virgin olive oil and fresh orange juice and give it a Mediterranean Middle Eastern flair. Their rich sweetness and hint of orange flower blossom remind me of a North African traditional pastry made with semolina and dipped in honey, called makroud, that my mom used to make for the Jewish holidays. The consistency is different, and there is no honey in these (although you’d swear there was!) but something about them just floods me with warm happy memories of my childhood. They are truly unique and always get such high praise from my guests. They are gluten-free too, so fantastic for a big crowd!
Orange Polenta Petits Fours
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cage-free eggs
- 1/2 cup stoneground polenta
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- juice and zest of one large orange about 1/2 cup*
- 1/2 tsp orange blossom water see below
- Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 mini cupcake pans with mini silicone cupcake holders.
- Place the olive oil, sugar and eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy.
- Add the polenta, almond meal and baking powder and mix again briefly.
- Add the orange juice, orange zest and orange blossom water and mix again thoroughly--The batter will be very "liquid-y" and that's the way it should be!
- Pour the batter into a batter dispenser and stir again with a spoon to make sure the polenta stayed thoroughly mixed in the transfer.
- Pour the batter into each little cupcake holder by pulling the release handle, making sure to fill it only half way.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes and let cool completely before unmolding.