Tomorrow is the last day of the final baking class I will be taking as requirement for this pastry certification I’ve been doing. As I mentioned at the end of my recent sock post, I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to the perfect parfait. Well, perfect to do with the ingredients I knew would be readily available to me in lab and also perfect as in the combination of flavors I wished to accomplish with what I did have on hand.
Oh, I was also inspired by this:
With this, I will share what I handed along with recipes and drawings to my professor as the final proposal that nabbed me the ONLY 100% in the class. 🙂
Parfaits have grown in popularity, in my estimation, within recent years. Traditionally, they were layered desserts made of ice cream and a variety of sauces and toppings. There is also a relation to healthier parfait options with yogurt, fruit and nuts or granola. It has since evolved into an individualized dessert in a see- through cup where the layering of flavors is most apparent. The basic concept remains the same. There are two or more layers alternated, where the layers themselves can be fruit, sauces, crumbled cookies or cakes. The options themselves are infinite and the combination of them is endless.
With this in mind, the art of a well created parfait is the vision of taking two or more separate elements and blending them together for a cohesive dessert.
That was the first page after the presentation page. The following was the final page, the reason supposedly behind the concoction I am to create.
With this parfait, the initial inspiration for layering came from the creamy lemon crumb square recipe. The clear layers of flavor already existed and would be a near cookie consistency with a lemon cream sandwiched between them. It is my hope to thicken the cream layer for it to be noticeable and perhaps tint it to bring out the yellow color of the lemon layer.
When choosing a complement for the rich creamy lemon flavor, I had to decide which direction to take it. Honey has always been one of my favorite combinations with lemon. A few classes ago we studied Russian desserts and I had been fascinated with the idea of a honey mousse recipe that I had come across. I knew that it would be the perfect layering addition to this parfait. I did not, however, wish for it to be just regular honey. The color would have been a pale cream and, from all reports of the mousse, would have been decidedly very sweet. It was because of this that I researched some honey flavoring techniques and knew that raspberry jam would add a slight color to the mousse as well as a tartness for the rich flavor of honey.
The decision to include a fine layer of cinnamon roasted pecans came from a recommendation for one of the honey mousse recipes I had come across. They suggested the option of folding chopped pecans for texture. However, due to the layering necessary to create a parfait, I wanted to separate the pecans from being integrated to the mousse. I also wanted to add an extra crunch by roasting them. The sugar and cinnamon give it a sweet crunchiness in the middle layer of the parfait as well as being a well suited garnish for the top of this dish.
As additional garnish in the parfait cup, I decided that I needed to play up the original lemon flavor that inspired the creation of this dessert. Hence the decision to make candied lemon peel curls for the top of the cup.
Outside of the actual composition of the cup, the entirety of which will be placed on a square plate, I opted for the use of a square plate to play on the different shapes of vessels used. On the plate will be a fan of sugared lemon slices as well as a design of either a honey sauce or a citrus sauce.
Oh yeah, I totally handed this load of bullshit drivel in! 😀
It almost sounds like I know what I’m doing, don’t it?