Food & Drink: Weekend Cook 11: Harriet's Chocolate Parfait

Serves six. Total time: 25 minutes
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The Independent Culture
AT A recent celebration of a friend's fortieth in Northum-berland, the birthday boy's other half Harriet Warde-Aldam had sensibly farmed out the pudding for 120 guests, the instruction being to "bring your favourite chocolate pudding". This was her creation, which she modestly claims was "based on what I had in the cupboard." It's part mousse, part parfait, part biscuit. All the usual decorations apply: chocolate swirls and curls and a dusting of cocoa.

250g/9oz Bournville

chocolate, broken up

250g/9oz unsalted butter,

softened

100g/31/2 oz icing sugar,

sifted

1 tbsp cocoa, sifted

3 medium eggs, separated

3 tbsp Camp coffee

(diluted), or strong cold

fresh coffee

200g/7oz digestive biscuits

2-3 tbsp Calvados

Place the chocolate in the top half of a double boiler with simmering water in the lower half (or else in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water) and gently melt it, then remove and leave it to cool.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until they are pale and creamy. Whisk in the cocoa, and then the egg yolks. Stir the coffee into the cooled chocolate which will thicken, then blend it with the butter mixture.

In another bowl whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and fold them, a third at a time, into the chocolate base.

Crush the biscuits into small nibs (the size you find in a Yorkie Bar). Scatter half of these over the base of a shallow pudding dish or bowl (I use a 23cm/9in square one), sprinkle over half the Calvados and spread over half the chocolate mixture using a palette knife. Repeat with the remaining ingredients then cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for several hours. Remove it 30-60 minutes before serving.

It should be the consistency of a rich mousse when you come to eat it.

ANNIE BELL

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