Recipe from Sugar Baby by Gesine Bullock-Prado ("Stewart, Tabori & Chang", 2011)Don't worry, I haven't lost my senses and snuck a Golden Arches-style layered blob into these recipes. No siree. A genuine parfait is a frozen delicacy made with a hot sugar syrup. Parfait means "perfect" in French-and correct me if I'm wrong, but that word applies much better to magnificent, homemade frozen goodness than it does to fast-food mush. This particular recipe calls for passion fruit, the most tropical of fruits, but you can use any purée that strikes your fancy. I love passion fruit because it reminds me of Germany, where I first experienced it and where it's savored in desserts of all caliber. And I find it most enjoyable as a parfait-neither ice cream nor mousse, just perfect.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
- sugar 1 cup, divided | 200 g, divided
- water 1/2 cup, divided |120 ml, divided
- eggs separated 10
- passion fruit pure 1 cup | 240 ml
- salt pinch
- heavy cream 2 cups | 480 ml
1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup (100 g) of the sugar with 1/2 cup (60 ml) of the water. With a damp pastry brush, wash down the sides of the pan to prevent stray sugar crystals from forming. Heat until the mixture reaches 235F (113C) on a candy thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks until they are light and fluffy. When the sugar syrup has reached temperature, with the mixer on medium-high, carefully pour the hot sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl and continue beating until the mixture has cooled.
3. Add the puree and mix gently. Scrape the mixture into a metal bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup (60 ml) water and heat until the mixture reaches 235F (113C).
5. Meanwhile, clean the bowl of your stand mixer and add the egg whites and salt. Whisk until foamy. Slowly add the hot sugar mixture to the egg whites and whip on high until the egg whites are very white and shiny and hold soft peaks.
6. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on high until the mixture forms stiff, white peaks and has cooled.
A Note from the Sugar Baby: Did you see what just happened? You used two techniques, one after the other, without batting an eyelash. First you made a pate a bombe and then you made an Italian meringue! I didn't want to say anything earlier, lest I make you nervous.
7. Transfer the egg whites to the puree mixture and gently fold together.
8. Clean the bowl of the stand mixer again and pour in the heavy cream. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture, making sure no white streaks remain.
9. Gently pour the parfait into single-serving glasses, a large serving bowl, or individual rectangular cake molds and freeze until firm, at least 5 hours or overnight. Serve frozen.
10. To serve the rectangular cakes, heat the metal mold with a blow-dryer on low heat, then gently remove the mold.
Option 1: colors
If you'd like a gradation of colors to give the dessert a visual pop, before freezing, add a drop of orange food coloring to half the mixture. Spread the darker parfait in an even layer first, then gently spoon the lighter-colored parfait on top, making sure not to blend the two together and muddy the distinct colors. Freeze as above.
Option 2: cake base
If you want to give your parfait a cake base (like I've done in the photo on page 79), use your cake mold to stamp out a layer of cake, then pour parfait into the mold. The coconut cake on page 184 is perfect.