18 June 2012

Swedish Parfait

I don't make dessert that often.  But every once in a while I entertain guests so special that a normal dessert just won't make do.
Sometimes you have to go all out.  Sometimes you need to decorate the plate, layer your dessert, and garnish with mint.

Recipe here.  Since this recipe is all lovely and Swedish, all the measurements are in grams and ounces, which really don't mean too much to me.  And, lacking a kitchen scale, things might have gone awry.  I'll never know.  I'm not complaining about the result.
"Place egg yolks in a bowl, add sugar and beat vigorously over boiling water to a fluffy, sabayon-like consistency."  Ah, yes.  Sabayon.  A culinary creation I am so familiar with (sarcasm).  This part was not nearly as daunting as I first pictured.  Let me break it down for ya.  When it says to beat over boiling water, it does NOT mean double-boiler style.  It means hold the bowl in the steam to lightly warm the egg mixture (supposedly shouldn't exceed 98*F).  And you'll know when it reaches the fluffy, sabayon-like consistency, because it becomes thick and a nice creamy yellow color.
Instead of strawberry jam, I took some berries and processed them in the manual food processor for a sec.
I also added a splash of watermelon liqueur.  Cheap watermelon liqueur.  Don't be like me.  Spring for some top-shelf stuff.
I mixed the berries with the sabayon.  In the meantime, I hand-whipped some heavy cream.
I folded that into my sabayon mixture, then poured that into a 9x13 dish prepared with wax paper.
The whole thing went into the freezer overnight.  The next day, I started putting together the nut bottom for this parfait.  I am sadly lacking photos for this part because I was a little pressed for time.
This is the part that might have gone a little awry due to measurement discrepancies.  However, it still tasted great.
In the meantime, I used a wine-glass to mark circles in the frozen parfaits, then cut out as many circles as I could fit.
The parfaits went back in the freezer to wait until after dinner.
Then, disaster struck.  Whilst making dinner, I started preheating the oven.  Suddenly I caught of whiff of smoke...and remembered:  I had put the nut bottoms back in the oven so that I had more counterspace.  I opened the oven and smoke poured out.  Small blessing:  the parchment paper didn't catch fire!  So I had to quick whip out another nut bottom.  Crisis averted.  And I even had time to air out the house so it wasn't smoky when guests arrived.
So those are the components.  I cut out circles in the nut bottoms right before serving.
My dinner guests appreciated the extra effort - and I'm counting this meal as a success!

I halved the parfait recipe but made the entire nut bottom recipe.  I skipped the sauce in favor of a strawberry sauce and chocolate syrup.  The original recipe calls for cloudberries, which aren't so common here in northern Michigan, so I opted for strawberries.  Here is the recipe, as printed on sweden.se:

Ingredients (conversions)
8–10 servings
8 egg yolks
200 ml (1 cup) strained cloudberry jam
100 ml (½ cup) cloudberry liqueur
100 g (3½ oz) sugar
600 ml (3 cups) heavy whipping cream

Nut bottom:
50 g (2 oz) ground hazelnuts
50 g (2 oz) ground blanched almonds
25 g (1 oz) flour
160 g (5 oz) sugar
2 egg whites
50 g (2 oz) melted butter

2 egg yolks
40 g (1½ oz) sugar
50 ml (¼ cup) cloudberry liqueur
200 ml (1 cup) heavy whipping cream

 Place egg yolks in a bowl, add sugar and beat vigorously over boiling water to a fluffy, sabayon-like consistency. Remove from the heat, continue to beat until cooled and blend in the cloudberry jam (first put through a strainer to remove the seeds) and liqueur. Whip the cream into a foam that is not too hard, then carefully pour onto the egg batter. Divide the parfait into two low, round molds. Place the molds in the freezer for at least 3 hours or until the parfait has become completely hard.

Mix all the dry ingredients for the nut bottoms. Beat the egg whites a little, blending them with the butter and with the dry ingredients into an even batter. Spread out in three circles (equivalent in size to the parfait molds) on a greased baking sheet or baking paper. Bake in the oven (200oC/400oF) to a golden brown color. Take out and remove from the surface before they completely harden.

To make the sauce, beat the egg yolks, sugar and liqueur into a fluffy sabayon over low heat. Remove from the heat and continue to beat until cooled. Whip the cream and carefully add to the sauce.

Place the parfait bottoms between the nut bottoms and sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top. Serve with the cloudberry liqueur sauce.