Orange Blossom Calissons brings Les Petits Sweets from France and across the globe

 In Food, Recipes

Dessert should be the first course of every meal, don’t you think? Let’s skip the salad and go straight for the sweets. OK, so maybe we can’t do that quite yet without our doctors yelling at us to eat a few vegetables each day, but when you crack open Les Petits Sweets, or you try this Orange Blossom Calissons recipe, you may start begging your family to switch things up. I doubt your kids will complain.

Les Petits Sweets

About the recipe book

Les Petits Sweets: Two-Bite Desserts from the French Patisserie
Authors: Anne E. McBride and Kathryn Gordon
Publisher: Running Press (September 2016)
Publisher’s Synopsis: The French way is the petite treat: two delicious bites—just a taste—of a madeleine, sablé, petit four, nougat, caramel, or other dessert that packs a sweet punch. With the tiny desserts featured in Les Petits Sweets, you can taste more than one, or have a dessert-tasting party to try them all. And try them you must: with flavors like Earl Grey, lavender, cassis, cardamom, apple-yuzu, and more, it will be impossible to choose just one. Classic French techniques explain each recipe from start to finish. Go ahead, have dessert first.
 

Orange Blossom Calissons Recipe

Orange Blossom Calissons Recipe

Recipes courtesy of Les Petits Sweets: Two Bite Desserts from the French Patisserie

Yield: About 20 (3/4-inch) calissons

  • 1 ¼ cups (135 grams) almond flour 2/3 cup (100 grams) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for assembly
  • 1/8 teaspoon (1 gram) fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon (25 grams) apricot preserves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 grams) Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water
  • ½ cup (90 grams) orange confit (recipe follows)
  • 2 (11 x 8 ½-inch) sheets wafer paper
  • Orange Blossom Glaze (recipe follows)

Directions:

Place the almond flour, sugar, salt, apricot preserves and Orange Blossom Water in the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 25 times, until a smooth paste forms. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl every 5 pulses to ensure that all the ingredients are mixing smoothly. Add the orange confit and pulse it in, 5 pulses more. You should be able to press the dough into a ball with your hands.

Place one sheet of the wafer paper on waxed or parchment paper, shiny side up. Place half of the dough on the wafer paper, sprinkle it with confectioners’ sugar to prevent the rolling pin from sticking, and roll it out into a rectangle about 11 x 4 inches and 1/3 inch thick. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough.

With a calisson or diamond cookie cutter, a chef’s knife, or a sharp pizza cutter, cut the dough into diamonds. If using a knife or pizza cutter, use a ruler to cut ¾-inch-wide vertical strips parallel to each other. Then place the ruler at the bottom left of the dough on a 45-degree angle. Measure 1-inch-wide strips parallel to each other, and then cut the diamond shapes that form.

Dip the tops of the calissons in the Orange Blossom Glaze or use a toothpick to spread the glaze over the tops. The glaze layer should be about 1/16 inch thick. Return them to the waxed or parchment paper and let them air-dry for 24 hours. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Orange Blossom Calissons Recipe

Orange Confit

Yield: 1 ¾ cups, drained

  • Peels from 3 oranges (about 2 ½ cups, or 266 grams)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (115 grams) water
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) light corn syrup

Directions:

Cut the orange peels into ¼-inch-wide strips, then cut those into ¼-inch-wide pieces. Place the peels in a small stainless-steel saucepan. Add the salt and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and blanch for 5 minutes once the water is boiling. Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer or a chinois and rinse in cold water. Repeat the blanching process 4 more times, without adding extra salt. The last time, leave the peels in the strainer and reserve.

Pour the sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat with the corn syrup and blanched orange peels. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cover it. Let the mixture cool overnight in the syrup. Store the cooled confit in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Drain the peel before adding it to recipes.

Orange Blossom Glaze

Yield: ½ cup

  • 2/3 cup (100 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7 grams) Nielsen-Massey Orange Blossom Water
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (10 grams) water
  • 1 to 3 drops liquid, paste or gel food coloring (as desired)
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) glycerin

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and stir by hand, to avoid creating a lot of bubbles, until they form a homogenous mixture. Use immediately, or cover the glaze with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface so that the glaze does not dry before time comes to dip the calissons.

Note: Look for wafer paper online. It is available in rice (which will keep the calissons gluten-free) or wheat. Do not buy spring roll wrappers, which, while more readily available, are not the correct type of base.

PIN RECIPE FOR LATER! 

Orange Blossom Calissons Recipe

Many thanks to Anne E. McBride and Kathryn Gordon for  allowing us to publish the recipe for the purposes of this article. As always, my opinions are my own. I will never share anything that my team and I don’t personally love. All photos are property of the publisher and were used with permission. This post contains affiliate links to hard-to-find baking products and the recipe book. 

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