Parfait is a posh frozen desert and comes from the French word ‘perfect’ (I suppose because it’s like ice cream with booze in!). Also it’s light, you don’t need any specialist equipment and you can make it in advance and just keep it in the freezer. For non-coffee lovers you can customize your pud with pretty much anything (nuts, dried fruits, berries etc). Beats Ben & Jerry’s every day of the week.

Serves 8

4 free-range egg yolks
50g caster sugar
125ml Muscat sweet wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
150ml whipped cream
75ml strong coffee

Pistachio nuts
2 tbsp sugar
A small knob of butter
A pinch of sea salt

70ml water
150g caster sugar
½ tsp corn flour

For the Parfait
The first stage in making a parfait is to make a Sabayon. This is a technique where egg yolks, sugar and wine are whisked in a bowl over simmering water to create a light fluffy mixture. When whisked the yolks trap billions of tiny air bubbles, causing the mixture to double in size. This can then be used as the base to mousses, gratins and like in this recipe parfaits.

Start by separating the egg yolks, weighing the sugar and the wine and adding the lemon juice to a stainless steel bowl. Whick together until pale and place over a pan of simmering water, making sure that there is no contact between the bowl and water. (Allowing only the steam to cook the sabayon allows a more gentle cooking of the eggs giving the best results.) Whisk continuously for 7-8 minutes until you have a light, fluffy, pale sabayon, you will know when the sabayon is ready because it will thicken and fall as a ribbon when lifting the whisk for the bowl. Once you’ve achieved this stage place over cold water and continue to whisk until cold. In a separate bowl lightly whip the cream to soft peaks and gently fold this into the sabayon. Add your strong coffee making sure it’s cold and fold in. Pour the mixture into a cling-film lined terrine mould and freeze.

For the nuts
Using a non-stick pan place over a medium heat and add two tablespoons of sugar. Wait until this begins to go transparent and add a small knob of butter, moving the pan around to incorporate the butter and sugar to make a light caramel. Let froth for a few seconds before adding the nuts and tossing them in the caramel. Crush a pinch of sea salt over the nuts and pour out onto a plate to cool. This gives you a nice sweet and salty caramel. Wait a few minutes to let cool and using your hands separate the nuts to form nice shapes as seen in the picture above.

For the caramel sauce
Put 20ml of water and the sugar in a small saucepan. Over a medium heat dissolve the sugar and cook to a dark brown caramel. Add the remaining 50ml of water to stop the cooking and mix in the corn flour, mixed to a paste with a little water. Leave to cool.

To serve
Pull the cling film surrounding the terrine to remove the parfait. Using a knife dipped in boiling water cut slices from the terrine. Place on a plate with a drizzled of caramel sauce and lay the nuts over the top. Serve with good quality coffee.


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