Petit-beurre biscuits and a homemade, easy, summer dessert!

We are sure that in every Greek house there is an easy, summer no-bake dessert that adults make and children love. It is usually made with simple ingredients and without the need for sophisticated tools, to be done easily and quickly, even in the countryside, where we do not have the appropriate equipment.

In our new summer article we learn the history of the iconic petit-beurre biscuit, we get ideas from various easy, homemade no-bake desserts with biscuits and we make Mrs. Christina’s summer dessert with wholemeal petit-beurre biscuits, instant vanilla pudding and another secret ingredient that makes the difference!

A delicious piece of Mrs. Christina’s summer dessert!

Searching for the history of petit-beurre biscuits we found that they were invented in 1886 by the industrialist Louis-Lefèvre Utile from Nantes, the founder of the LU cookie industry. We read that the original small workshop was created in 1846 by two confectioners, the parents of Louis-Lefèvre Utile, but it was their son who turned it into an industrial “giant”.

At that time, France mainly imported mass-produced sweets from England. The French LU pioneered with its biscuit, which was made with only four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar and milk. This simple biscuit won the grand prize in the category of cookies at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris.

Louis-Lefèvre Utile in 1899 oil painting (source)

We discovered that the shape of petit-beurre biscuits is not random. Their creator Louis-Lefèvre Utile was inspired by the shape of the towels they used at tea time. Searching for the perfect design, he turned it into a “metaphor of time”. Thus, the original petit-beurre biscuit has 4 ears (in the corners) corresponding to the 4 seasons of the year, 52 teeth for the weeks of the year and 24 intersection points in an imaginary grid, which symbolize the hours of the day. Here is an information we did not expect to learn, enjoying all these years our biscuits!

Nothing is left to chance in this biscuit! (source)

We also read that LU’s biscuit has the phrase “LU PETIT-BEURRE NANTES” written on it in three lines, with a font reminiscent of the books read by the grandmother of one of its creators. The cookie is soaked in milk before baking to get a handmade look. Also, the thickness of eight cookies is equal to the length of one, which facilitates its packaging.

Today the LU brand belongs to Kraft Foods (now Mondelēz International) and there are many other companies that produce petit-beurre biscuits. As LU had many competitors from the beginning, it named its cookie “Véritable petit-beurre”, which means “the real petit-beurre”!

LU’s authentic petit-beurre biscuit (source)

In Greece we have our own history! As we have read, the first Greek petit-beurre biscuits are the biscuits of Maria Papadopoulou, who baked them in Constantinople during the 1900s, and they were so delicious that she decided to sell them. The recipe was secret and no one could understand what were the ingredients that gave this special taste… Her husband Giannis Papadopoulos, who was a carpenter, had made her a wooden sign that read “Petit-beurre Papadopoulou, Greece”. The children of the family took to the streets of Constantinople and sold their mother’s biscuits either in boxes or in bulk.

In 1922, after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, the Papadopoulou family arrived in Greece. Soon, the family set up the first biscuit factory to produce and sell biscuits, at a time when the concept of biscuits was still unknown to the Greeks. In 1938, brothers Evangelos and Nikos Papadopoulos inaugurated the first factory, on Thessalonikis Street in Petralona, Athens followed by others on Petrou Ralli Street, in Thessaloniki, Volos, until 1990 in Oinofyta, Viotia. In addition to various types of cookies, the company now also produces pastries.

Papadopoulou biscuits have always had special ads, indicative of their time but also of the company’s innovation.
In our dessert we will use wholemeal petit-beurre biscuits!

So this is a very special biscuit, we would say historical, which is worth highlighting in our recipe! But first let’s look at some other ideas for delicious and easy, no-bake summer desserts with petit-beurre biscuits:

No-bake dessert with vanilla cream, chocolate cream, petit-beurre biscuits, chocolate sprinkles and almonds

source

No-bake dessert with chocolate petit-beurre biscuits, pastry cream and chocolate shavings

source

No-bake dessert with vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding, petit-beurre biscuits, whipped cream and chocolate shavings

source

Νo-bake dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, vanilla buttercream, chocolate buttercream and almonds

source

No-bake individual dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, chocolate petit-beurre biscuits and hazelnut praline cream

source

No-bake dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, chocolate-coffee cream and chocolate sprinkles

source

No-bake dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, mascarpone cream and raspberries

source

No-bake dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, cream cheese filling and strawberries

source

No-bake dessert with petit-beurre biscuits, milk chocolate cream, dark chocolate ganache and strawberries

source

Τα λιγουρευτήκαμε όλα και ζητήσαμε από την κυρία Χριστίνα να μας φτιάξει το δικό της εύκολο και πεντανόστιμο γλυκό ψυγείου με πτι-μπερ ολικής άλεσης, κρέμα αραβοσίτου βανίλια και το υλικό που το κάνει να ξεχωρίζει, λίγη κανέλα στο τελικό πασπάλισμα!

We wanted to taste everything and asked Mrs. Christina to make us her own easy and delicious no-bake dessert with wholemeal petit-beurre biscuits, vanilla pudding and the ingredient that makes it stand out, a little cinnamon in the final sprinkling!Mrs. Christina’s recipe for a homemade, no-bake dessert

Ingredients

  • 1½ package of wholemeal petit-beurre biscuits
  • 250 gr of instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 1½ litre full-fat milk (or according to the pudding instructions) and some for soaking
  • a pinch of cinnamon for sprinkling

Method

Layer 1: petit-beurre biscuits. Soak the biscuits in milk for a second at each side and line a rectangular cake pan.

Layer 2: vanilla pudding. Pour the instant vanilla pudding powder into the milk and whisk until thickened. Then spread half of it on the biscuits base.

We do not have a mixer in the countryside, so Mrs. Christina has her patents. A fork with a spoon for the initial mixing…
…and then homogenisation of the pudding with a manual mixer of Mrs. Christina’s mom.

Layer 3: petit-beurre biscuits again. Soak more biscuits in milk and lay them on top of the vanilla pudding.

Layer 4: vanilla pudding again. Pour the remaining half of the pudding over the second layer of biscuits.

Layer 5: crushed biscuits and cinnamon. For the last layer Mrs. Christina crushes biscuits into small pieces by hand and mixes them with a pinch of cinnamon, to spinkle the top of the dessert.

It is a quick, easy and economical dessert with four ingredients, that anyone can make even without a mixer! You can also make variations with other flavors of pudding, such as strawberry, chocolate, biscuit, banana, etc.

Happy summer creations!

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