And the berry madness continued. 8.25 kg of strawberries required active searching for uses for them. A nice change, considering I'm usually I'm trying to hold back from devouring a whole punnet at once. The first thing that came to mind was this dessert. It's extremely berry hungry so it fit the bill nicely. It's something I've made a few times before, and posted the first time I tried it, but I've since been playing and perfecting this recipe so it was time to revisit it.
The beauty of this recipe is that it works with any berry you like. If the effort involved seems too much, you don't even have to make it chequered. You could marble it, or only make one flavour and freeze it inside a bar tin. It's completely open to interpretation.
First we need to gather our berries and remove any unpalatable bits.
My life was made a thousand times easier by my lovely Christmas present: a blender. Whoo! Now I can stop complaining and avoiding recipes that took far too long. This baby is my new best friend.
This next step is a matter of preference, and for some berries purely aesthetics. But I like to sieve the seeds out through a fine mesh sieve. If you don't mind the look or the texture, then don't worry about it.
Next we heat the cream on the stove, then add the chocolate and then the egg yolks.
After it cools a little, pour the whole lot into your berry mixture and stir to combine.
Next we beat the cream and the egg whites to soft peaks. This stage is really important, so take your time and make sure you get it right. Over-whipping either will make it impossible to fold through the berry mixture without deflating, and will ruin the set of your parfait. It will melt as soon as it is out of the freezer, making it impossible to get a checkered pattern. I've made this mistake before with one of my layers and ended up serving the dessert in a tumbler. I had cubes of one flavour of frozen parfait swimming through the melty other flavour: tastes fine, but ain't pretty.
You want it so the little peaks are firm enough to stand up, but will still fold over on itself. That's characteristic of a perfect soft peak.
When you achieve this, folding the mixture together is a breeze. When it's over-beaten, you instead get clumps of egg white floating through the mixture which won't combine well. You'll be able to feel this as soon as you do it. Folding through the cream and the egg whites a third at a time helps lighten the mixture and aids easy folding,
Once that's done we pour it into a lamington tin and leave it to set.
Once your bottom layer is set, you can grab your next lot of berries and repeat the process.
I didn't catch any photos of the next process because Aussie summer + no air-con means working fast is an absolute must. But after a bunch of slicing, stacking, brushing and offering my first born to the goddess Ambrosia, I managed to end up with something that wasn't a puddle. If heat is also an issue for you, working on top of a marble/granite tile (or even a large metal tray) that's been in the freezer for a little while helps.
I served these with a plethora of berries hanging out in my freezer: strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. We rejoiced our berry heaven.
One of my own home grown berries even got to star in the show. The last few years I've been trying to grow as much herbs and fruit and veggies as I can in my yard (a feat that it heavily orientated around finding space my husky won't dig up). This summer I took home a strawberry plant. It's still growing up so my yield was tiny, but the little tiny strawberry in the foreground was the first berry to come from my garden.It was also the most flavoursome berry I'd eaten in my life.
The parfait is served with a berry sauce of your choice. I chose strawberry because they're not only my favourite, but I had so many to burn. This recipe will provide more than you will need, but it stores really well in the fridge and can be used for any dessert you like.
You could even use it to top off a simple fruit salad, icecream, or to dress up a smoothie like this one.
What are we waiting for? Let's dig in!
If fresh berries are out of season or budget, feel free to substitute with frozen berries.
Checkered Berry Parfait
1 egg white, extra
You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.