Tuesday, August 19, 2008

S'mores Parfaits

Although I may be a fruit pie/cobbler guy, I do enjoy my chocolate. Rich deep chocolate, not that wimpy milk chocolate stuff. We got invited to BBQ the other day and were left with the task of putting together a dessert for the host who dislikes fruit, especially if it is baked into something.

Chocolate to the rescue. Since it is summer and an outdoor BBQ the perfect thing would be something S'mores like. Since there wouldn't be a fire going I opted to go with duplicating the flavors and leave the fire part out.

The filling was inspired by the September 2008 Food & Wine "30 Best Fast Recipes Ever". I opted to go with the really dark chocolates and knew their recipe couldn't hold up to the intense Valrhona's I wanted to use. Therefore I swapped in half-and-half for the milk to compensate for the lower cocoa fats in an 85% cocoa solids bitter sweet chocolate. I increased the sugar as well as I was using a "Black Onyx" unsweetened baking chocolate from Surfas that is as the names suggests so rich in chocolate solids it looks almost black.

S’more Parfaits

  • 6 graham crackers – crushed fine
  • 2 T butter melted
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 c miniature marshmallows

Double Chocolate Pudding Filling

  • 2 ¼ c half and half
  • 1 c sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 3 T unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 5 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped
  • 2 T unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 1 t vanilla extract

Fine crush the graham crackers in food processor. Reserve 6 teaspoons for later. Add 1T sugar and melted butter. Whiz until incorporated. Divide the mixture evenly in to 6, 8 oz ramekins. Bake in 350 Oven 5 minutes. Let it cool while making the pudding filling.

In a medium non-stick sauce pan mix 2 cups half-and-half and sugar. Stir until smooth over medium heat until it boils and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in salt.

Mix corn starch, cocoa powder and remaining half-and-half and whisk until smooth. Whisk into hot mixture until smooth. Return to moderate heat and whisk constantly until the pudding is thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs until smooth. Whisk in briskly and constantly 1 cup of hot cocoa mixture until smooth. Return pan to medium low heat. Whisk in the egg mixture and whisk constantly until the mixture just comes to a boil about 2 minutes. Do not boil.

Pour chocolate mixture through strainer into mixing bowl. With beater attachment on stir add chopped chocolate and cubed butter. Stir until just incorporated.

Divide pudding mixture into each ramekin. Top with Marshmallows and reserved graham cracker crumbs. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 1-2 hours.

The marshmallows can be “toasted” with a kitchen torch just prior to serving

Use really good chocolate and cocoa

Whisk briskly to totally dissolve in the cocoa and corn starch mixture to avoid lumps
Lightly tap in the graham cracker bottom, don't press or it will be like a brick at the bottom you can't break loose to eat with the filling and stuff.
Slowly stir in butter and chopped chocolate until just smooth. Don't beat or you will have it full of bubbles and not have a smooth texture.
Divide the pudding filling and enjoy! Of course you can skip the entire parfait and just eat the pudding as it is an intensely rich and velvety chocolate pudding all by itself.

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