It's Sugar High Friday!
Elise of Simply Recipes is this month's host for Sugar High Fridays. For this month's theme, Elise has chosen: Cooking up Custard. Ack! The dessert I chose to make for my first SHF attempt, "A Handful (or Two) of Coffee," hosted by Ronald at Love Sicily was an espresso pot de crème -- cooked custard! However: custard happens to be one of my favorite dessert bases so for SHF #12, I made Lemon Basil Parfait.
This is essentially a frozen custard. It was created by Chef Gary Scarborough of The Food Studio, in Atlanta. He calls it a "Lemon Basil Bombe," but ... I've found the correct name induces far more headaches than it's worth (I swear I do not make it a habit to change the names of other people's desserts). But, case in point:
"Bombe! With an 'e'!"
Some days, words fail me. Oh yeah, I also live in a pseudo-military town and you kinda don't want to be saying anything that sounds incendiary if you can help it.
This is one of my all time favorite desserts. I love it so much I used to drive to Atlanta just to have it. In fact, the servers at the restaurant stopped asking me if I was there for dinner when I showed up; they would just put in an order for the dessert.
I meant to make this much earlier in the week -- but I was seduced by the notion of finding a pyramid mold, a triangle mold or even a plain ring mold to create a lovely, sculptured dessert. Alas, none were to be found (at one point I seriously thought about using PVC as a mold), so I used a loaf pan. The recipe only sounds complicated; it's actually quite easy. It took about 30 minutes to make. The real time drain is letting it harden in the freezer overnight.
Though the recipe calls for graham cracker crumbs or coconut coating, the restaurant uses a sweet puffed rice they call "croquant." Someone said these were actually Japanese puffed rice. I have no idea but would love to find out: so if anyone knows what this croquant is actually called, I’d appreciate your telling me. I've never been able to find it for sale anywhere, but the restaurant keeps me well stocked: the last time I came in and asked if I could place an order of croquant, the manager came back and handed me a huge tupperware container of the stuff.
It's really hard to take pictures of ice cream. You have about 2 minutes before things start to melt and wobble. So I had to cut three different slices of the parfait to take pictures. I felt so guilty after dumping the first two slices (I told Greg this and he was speechless with despair -- but this could be the residual effect of sending him the complete lyrics to "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music to commemorate Robert Wise's passing) that I decided to eat the last 2-inch slice. At 7 am. My sugar high crashed about 3 hours ago and I am ill. But oh how delicious it was to eat ice cream for breakfast!
Check out these incredible desserts that were submitted for SHF #12: Cooking Up Custard (roundup).
Lemon Basil Parfait
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/2 ounce fresh basil
2 cups heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Lemon zest from 2 lemons
Toasted coconut or graham cracker crumbs
Vanilla ice cream, softened (you can make your own or buy ready made. I was lazy and got Haagen Dazs)
In a small saucepan, combine 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, water and sugar. Bring to a boil until the syrup reads 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. In a mixer, whip the egg yolks until thick and foamy. With the mixer still on, slowly add the lemon simple syrup down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing until the bowl is cool - this will take about 8-10 minutes. The batter will get pale and very thick.
In a food processor, combine the basil, the 1/4 cup of lemon juice and a few drops of water. Purée until smooth. I find it's easier to add in a spoonful of the whipped cream to get the puree nice and fine.
Fold the basil purée, the whipped cream and the lemon zest into the egg-syrup batter. Refrigerate.
Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and make sure there are no air pockets. With a spatula, spread the softened ice cream on the bottom of the pan. I wrapped a smaller loaf pan with plastic wrapped and pressed down on the ice cream to flatten it out. Place in the freezer to harden, about 1 hour. Once the vanilla ice cream has hardened, fill the mold with the lemon basil mixture. Cover the top with plastic, smoothing out any air bubbles, and place back in the freezer to harden overnight.
To serve, turn the loaf pan upside down and remove the plastic. Coat the top and sides with the coconut or graham crackers. Slice and serve.
Wrap any leftovers in the plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.