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food & drink; perfect day.


PARFAIT means perfect in French and that's exactly what these delicious little pots are.

If you like the occasional rich and elegant sweet treat for your pudding, kirsch parfait is the dessert for you.

A parfait is quite simply ice-cream that doesn't need churning. So this recipe is ideal for those of us who don't have a sophisticated ice-cream machine to hand.

It's not difficult to make and it will keep in the freezer for up to three weeks. So, if you have a dinner party and want an easy dessert, you can just serve them up without having the hassle of making them on the day.

The silky, smooth richness of the parfait seems to lend itself to the intense flavours of alcohol, and especially liqueurs.

I like to use kirsch, which is a pungent clear brandy made from cherry-stones to flavour. However, you could pretty much chose whatever your favourite after-dinner tipple is. Whisky, cointreau and grand marnier all work really well.

If you've got a hungry young brood or you have guests who don't drink, you'll not want to flavour the dessert with alcohol. This is when coffee parfait goes down a treat.

Speaking of alcohol, it's worth remembering that it won't evaporate because cooking isn't required. And as these pots are fairly small, the finished result can be quite potent. Have a taste and you'll see what I mean.

Parfait is richer than ice- cream and if you're serving it in little cups, like the ones pictured, there is no need for too fancy a garnish.

However, if you did want to do something extra special, you could make a base of crumbled amaretti biscuits in each cup.

Amaretti have an exotic almond flavour which would complement the kirsch in the parfait, which almost has a bitter almond flavour itself.

Essentially, what you're making is a frozen custard. The only difference is that you're not cooking the cream and the yolks until they start to thicken, you're using whipped cream instead. This means that the mixture is light and fluffy.

It also means that the yolks are still effectively raw when the parfait is ready for eating which takes them off the menu if you're pregnant.

Parfait is a pleasant way to end any meal, but for some guests, one cup just might not be enough...


8 egg yolks

450ml double cream

75ml kirsch

100g caster sugar, dissolved in 4 tablespoons of water

12 x 125ml (5 fl oz) little espresso cups or dariole moulds

Strawberries to garnish (optional)


TO make the parfait, whisk the egg yolks in an electric mixer until very pale and well-risen in volume.

Boil the caster sugar in three tablespoons of water until it reaches the "softball" stage - this is when you dip a cold teaspoon in the mixture and coat it, then dip it into cold water to set and pinch a little between finger and thumb. You know it's ready when it can be rolled into a soft ball.

Mix the kirsch with double cream until the cream just holds a soft peak, then leave it in the same bowl in the fridge until you're ready to use it. If you don't want to use kirsch, then use whisky or whatever alcohol you fancy.

With the mixer running on full speed, slowly pour the softball sugar on to the yolks. Reduce the speed by half and whisk for a further five minutes.

Fold together the yolk mix and the whipped cream and pour into small espresso cups, dariole moulds or even into an old ice-cream tub. Freeze immediately until it sets.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Nairn, Nick
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 12, 2000
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