Petits fours were invented in 19th century France but quickly spread all over Europe as a tea-time delicacy. It's easy to see why - these bite-sized delights are as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat. Petits fours are making a comeback today, with petits fours recipes becoming extremely popular. There are both sweet and savory petits fours types - the savory ones are like the appetizers you would see at a cocktail party.
The sweet ones come in a few different kinds - there are the cake and icing version we have available on our website, as well as puff pastry versions and un-iced versions, like fruit-filled petits fours that need to be eaten the same day they were baked.
The petit four gets its name from the heat setting used to make them. While petit four means "small oven" in French, petit fours are not baked in tiny ovens! Originally French bakers would cook meats and other dinner foods on the high heat setting, then as the coal oven was cooling down, put in a sheet of petit fours. Because of their small size, they would still cook perfectly. This allowed them to use the most efficient heating methods, while creating delicious desserts.
Become an expert on petits fours with our Petit Fours Guide!
How do you pronounce "petit four"?
To keep it simple, we're going to say "petit" like "petty" as in Tom Petty, and four like the number "4". You can get more French with your pronunciation attempts, but we wouldn't recommend it unless you know what you're doing.
Is it "petits fours" or "petit fours"?
The plural should be spelled "petits fours" - but due to tricky French rules, the "t" and "s" drop off "petits" - just like the "t" drops off "petit". This means they sound basically the same. And because English speakers aren't use to dropping "s" off the end of a word, we tend to write "petit fours". But the misspelling is so common, it's in the dictionary.
What kinds of petit fours are there?
If you remember all of these, you'll really have impressive knowledge of petits fours - and who knows when that might come in handy?
The kinds of petit fours are:
Sec (dry) - plain tiny cakes like puff pastry.
Glacé (glazed) - decorated with fondant or icing.
Salé (salted) - savory petit fours served as appetizers.