roasted white chocolate parfait

Today, fancyfoodfancy turns one. I can’t believe how fast a year goes by! When I started this blog, I was looking for a place for my food photography to reside. I don’t think I really understood what I had signed up for. I’ve never really been one to commit to long term engagements and I have a tendency to leave projects unfinished. But here we are, 365 days and 30 posts later. Thanks to all of you for stopping by and for all of your kind words and support and for putting up with my silly stories about my life and my trials in this crazy kitchen of mine. It has been the most gratifying project I have ever taken on.

Since I’m always looking for an excuse to celebrate, I thought we should have a little party. So on the eve of our birthday, I spent the evening with a few close friends at St. George Spirits, sampling cocktails and snacks and toasting to the blog (and watching my sister hula-hoop in the corner). The distillery looks like a scene out of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but a grown up version that produces alcohol. I cannot wait to go back.

Of course, when you have a birthday party, there needs to be dessert. I had had my mind set on a cake, but then I had dinner at Plum last week. And my mind was made up. We had the fortune of sitting at the foot of the bar that evening and watched as one of the chefs assembled plate after plate of gorgeous desserts. It was definitely the best seat in the house. Since we had eaten so much, we only had room for one dessert. And we chose very wisely: a roasted chocolate parfait served with huckleberries and fennel. It was insane. It was sort of like ice cream, but lighter and silkier. It had this perfect, thin and crispy crust that kept my wheels turning; there was something very familiar about it, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. And I typically don’t care for white chocolate (it’s not real chocolate!), but this was fabulous. The secret is roasting the chocolate; who even knew there was such a thing? The whole thing was really incredible. I had to figure out how to make it.

I went home and searched the internet, with no luck. Though I was able to find the technique for roasting chocolate. And then I started looking through my cookbooks and there it was, a white chocolate parfait right under my nose all this time. Tartine to the rescue, again. I had to do a little experimenting with the crust (which was not part of the Tartine recipe), and while it’s not quite the same as the original, it definitely does not detract from the perfection of the parfait, which actually is the French word for perfect.

At the end of the night, we made our way back to Edwin’s for dessert. I managed to get the parfait on all of the plates, along with the huckleberries and fennel. It was a perfect ending to a perfect celebration. And a perfect way to begin year two. Cheers!

roasted white chocolate parfait

inspired by Plum and adapted from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

serves 6-8

for the crust (not adapted from Tartine) :

3 cups cornflakes

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine cornflakes and sugar. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour into a a mixing bowl and add the butter. Stir until combined. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch round cake pan or spring form pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

for the huckleberry syrup:

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons huckleberries

Place all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half. Cool completely before using.

for the parfait:

8 large egg yolks

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup water

2-1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place the white chocolate on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir the melted chocolate. Put the chocolate back in the oven a bake for another 5 minutes. Stir the chocolate and put back in the oven for another 3 minutes. The chocolate will turn a golden color at this point. Remove from the over and stir until the chocolate is smooth and an even caramel color throughout (it will look like peanut butter). Transfer the chocolate to a heat proof bowl and place over a pot of simmering water. Keep the chocolate warm until ready to use.

Prepare an ice-water bath in a large bowl large enough to accommodate your mixing bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment,  beat the egg yolks on high speed until they are a light yellow, about 4 minutes.

While the mixer is running, combine the sugar, salt and water in a deep, heavy saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Stir gently from time to time to ensure that the sugar is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar registers 230°F on a thermometer, approximately 5 minutes.

Remove the sugar syrup from the heat. With the mixer on, slowly pour the syrup in a thin stream to the egg yolks, between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Continue to beat on high for a few minutes until the volume increases and the mixture is thick and pale yellow.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and slowly pour in the warm roasted chocolate. Gently fold the chocolate into the egg yolk mixture with a large spatula until incorporated. Place the bowl in the water bath.

In another mixing bowl, whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the egg yolk mixture. Mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into the the pan with the prepared crust. Fill to the top of the pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Pour remaining mixture into a large container or individual serving bowls. Cover and place in the freezer.

to serve:

huckleberry syrup

1/2 cup huckleberries for serving

1/2  anjou pear, peeled, cored and diced (about the same size as the huckleberries)

1/3 cup fennel fronds

Carefully run a thin metal spatula along the edge of the cake pan, making sure you reach the bottom to loosen the crust. Invert onto a flat, parchment lined surface (i.e. baking sheet), then re-invert the parfait onto your serving plate so that the crust is on the bottom. Place in the freezer until ready to serve.

In a small bowl, combine the huckleberries, pear and syrup. Toss gently to coat. Just before serving, remove the parfait from the freezer and cut into wedges. Plate each wedge with a few dollops of the huckleberry mixture and garnish with the fennel. Serve immediately.