Sunday, November 9, 2014

Apple & plum parfait

In France, a parfait is lighter and softer than a gelato or rich ice cream and especially good with tangy fruits. It is best just softly frozen. In the United States, a parfait is a frozen layered dessert. This parfait is both types.

* Serves 4

  • 3 large, ripe sweet plums
  • 2 tbsp. demerara sugar
  • 4 tbsp. water
  • 2 sweet eating apples
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream

Pit and roughly chop the plums, and put them in a small saucepan with the demerara sugar and water. Simmer gently until the plums are soft but not falling apart. Set aside half the plums to chill, then add the peeled, cored, and grated apples to the saucepan. Continue cooking until the fruit is soft enough to blend or mash. Cool completely. Slowly heat the granulated sugar with the lemon juice in another small pan until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl until they have doubled in size. Then slowly whisk in the lemon sugar syrup and lemon zest, and continue whisking until thick and creamy. Cool completely.

When both the mashed fruit and the egg mixture are cool, whip the cream until it forms peaks. Carefully fold first the fruit mixture and then the whipped cream into the whisked egg yolks. Spoon into a small, deep freezer container and freeze until frozen around the sides. Beat with a fork until smooth, and then freeze until firm but not hard. To serve, put a spoonful of the reserved cooked plums into the base of chilled glasses, add a few scoops of parfait, and top with more plums. Serve immediately or chill briefly.

Variations:

  • Green apple & greengage parfait
Prepare the basic recipe, using unpeeled green-skinned apples and greengage plums.

  • Apple & mixed berries parfait
Replace the plums of the basic recipe with mixed berries.

  • Pear & plum parfait
Prepare the basic parfait recipe, but replace the apples with ripe pears. Serve the parfaits sprinkled with toasted nuts.

  • Apple & calvados parfait
Prepare the basic recipe, omitting the plums. Cook 3 grated apples with the sugar and water. Mix half the apples with 4 tablespoons Calvados, then chill. Continue as described, serving a little cooked apple and Calvados in the base of the glasses and a little on the top instead of plums. Serve with a glass of iced Calvados.