Caramel parfait

This recipe was developed while I was pastry chef at Hotel du Vin and has since become one of my favourite desserts so I chose to show it off at a recent wine dinner, with the leftovers going to some very grateful friends at a bbq later. One of the guests enjoyed it so much that she booked me to cook for her birthday dinner, with caramel parfait as the dessert. The secret lies in its simplicity, it’s easy and quick to make and as it’s frozen, can be made well in advance. Be warned: it is so tasty I’ve had friends beg and plead (and threaten kidnapping/enslavement) for more and I can’t keep up with the demand, use with caution!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes enough for about 8-10 portions

100g egg yolk (pasteurised if you can get it)

100g caster sugar

150g salt caramel sauce (see below to make your own)

400ml double cream

Heat the sugar in a pan with a little water until soft ball stage (120c).

Whisk egg yolks until pale and fluffy. Drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the yolks, while continuing to whisk until the mixture becomes thick and foamy and has cooled down a bit. The hot syrup will partially cook the egg yolks so thicken, and whisking traps air which gives it the lovely texture, similar to a sabayon. This is called a pâtè á bombe and is a base for many moussey desserts.

Fold in the caramel sauce (use a fruit purèe or other flavourings for different flavoured parfaits), then fold in the semi-whipped cream. Leave semi-encorporated for a rippled appearance if you like. Try adding strawberry purèe, a tbsp rose water, and replace half the cream for Greek yoghurt, I call this strawberry, rose and yogurt dèlice.

For a bit of texture, fold in some fruit, honeycomb, praline or nuts as I did here for a white chocolate and praline version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line a terrine with cling film and pour the mixture in, or pour into rings or moulds before setting, covered, in the freezer for about 2-3 hours. Remove from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving otherwise it will be too hard. Slice into portions, or de-mould, and serve with caramel sauce, honeycomb and roast cashews. This will keep for over a month in the freezer, just keep it covered to avoid a skin forming.

Roast cashews

Lay cashews on a lined baking tray, sprinkle with light brown sugar and drizzle with maple syrup, golden syrup or honey. Bake at 180c for 10 mins or until golden brown. These are seriously moreish and also make a tasty snack.

Honeycomb

200g caster sugar

25g honey

25g golden syrup

30ml water

7g bicarbonate of soda

Heat sugar, water, honey and golden syrup in a pan and boil to a light caramel.

Whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and quickly pour onto a lined baking tray.

Be careful, the mixture will be incredible hot!

It should puff up as soon as you add the bicarb, the caramel traps the air bubbles it creates as it cools.

Top tip – honeycomb has a tendency to lose crunch and go sticky when exposed to the air, keep covered in the freezer and it will keep for weeks!

Salt caramel sauce

22ml water

140g caster sugar

30g butter

1 tsp sea salt

Heat the water and sugar in a pan and boil until it reaches a rich toffee colour. Remove from the heat and pour in the double cream. Add the butter and salt and stir in. This is also great served hot on sticky toffee pudding, or on ice cream.

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