Monday, June 25, 2012

Key Lime Parfaits

This particular recipe requires special equipment as well as special ingredients.  The recipe comes from a pastry chef and was quite challenging.  However, this does prove that with the proper instructions from a book, a person without any culinary training can create an incredible dessert.

This dessert is a very special spin on key lime pie.  The base is a graham cookie that is crispy and subtly sweet. That frozen layer is a mixture of dairy and tart key lime juice.  It is also garnished with sliced plums and surrounded with a unique sauce flavored with ginger, lime leaves and lemongrass.

This serves ten and requires that you have 10 ring molds, measuring 2X2.  Also, a scale is required to measure out the italian meringue.  Items with an asterisk are linked back to another post, which is the detail of dessert components that need to be created in advance of preparing this recipe.

I did find that the cookie stayed crisp as expected.  The custard topping really does have that unmistakable tart flavor of key lime that citrus lovers look for in a lime dessert.  It also has a silky smooth mouth feel, so I would say that the invert sugar ingredient was an asset.  The juicy plum slices on top compliment the custard nicely with their fleshy sweet interior and tart skin.  Also, I really liked the flavor notes in the sauce, so I am storing it for future use on fruit desserts.

Key Lime Parfait
adapted from Dessert Fourplay by Johnny Iuzzini

Ingredients/Italian Meringue
pinch of cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs water

Take 1 tsp of sugar out of the 1/4 cup and put into bowl of a stand mixer.  Add the 2 egg whites and beat at low speed.

In a small saucepan, add the water and the rest of the sugar.  Mix until all there is no dry sugar.  Place over medium high heat until the syrup reaches 250 degrees.  I used a microwave and checked the temperature after 30 second intervals.  It took about a minute and 1/2 to reach the temperature.

Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until the consistency barely makes soft peaks.  Then, continue to beat and pour the water/sugar mixture into the egg whites.  Try to avoid getting it on the inside edge of the bowl and on the beater.  Turn the speed up to high and continue beating.  Once the outside of the bowl has cooled, the meringue has reached the correct consistency.  Set aside. There will be some excess left over after completing recipe.

Ingredients/Lime Parfait
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
2/3 cup fresh key lime juice
1 split/scraped vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla extract or paste
1 cup milk
9 egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
1 tbs invert sugar*

Place 10 ring molds (2X2) on top of a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  Put baking sheet in freezer.  Prepare a double boiler by filling bottom with water and heating until water comes to a simmer.  Also, fill a big bowl with ice and some water for a water bath to cool the parfait mixture after it cooks.

Fill the top of the double boiler with key lime juice, milk, vanilla, granulated sugar,yolks and invert sugar and mix together until all is blended.  Place over the bottom of the double boiler with simmering water.  Let the mixture cook, stirring and scraping sides occasionally.  Mixture will need to thicken and cook up to a temperature of 181 degrees.  Once it reaches that point, transfer the saucepan to water bath to cool off.  Mix often to help cool down to lukewarm then transfer to a large bowl.

At the lukewarm state, take out another bowl and fill with the whipped cream. Beat cream until it reaches the soft peak stage. Set aside.

Go back to the Italian meringue and measure out 50 grams and fold it into the lime custard.  Then add all of the whipped cream and gently fold it into the batter until no streaks remain.

Take the baking sheet of molds out of the freezer.  Using an ice cream scoop or pastry bag without a tip, fill the molds.  Cover the molds with plastic wrap and freeze for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 3 days.

1/2 ounce chopped lime leaves
1 lemongrass stalk crushed and chopped
1/2 oz or 1 tbs fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
1 1/4 cup simple syrup*
1/2 cup verjus

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Continue to cook for 25 minutes or until mixture is reduced by 1/2. I measured 2 cups initially and cooked down to 1 cup.  Pour mixture into a strainer set over a heatproof bowl.  Let cool for 15 minutes and cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of one hour or maximum of 3 days.

Ingredients/Assembly layers
3 or 4 ripe plums
10 graham cracker cookies*
Split plums and remove pits. Cut each half into thin slices and put on a plate. The task of cutting takes a very sharp knife and some dexterity.  Also, the ripeness of the plums will be a factor as well.

To assemble, place 1 graham cracker cookie on each serving plate. Remove baking sheet of frozen ring molds.  Using your hands, rub around the outside ring to help warm the interior.  Push the inner parfait out on top of the center of the graham cracker cookie.  Arrange the plum slices in a circle, starting with the outside going in.  Then drizzle a little of the sauce around the dessert.  Enjoy!
                            **LAST YEAR: Sweet Lemon Nut Bread**