Looking for something a little different from the traditional Christmas pudding this year? How about a Christmas parfait.
The quintessential flavours of Christmas with spiced fruit mince, cherries and toasted almonds in a rich, custard-based ice cream cake, without the heaviness of a pudding.
You can serve this alongside a slice of pandoro, a pile of chouquettes or just on its own.
I used golden syrup, but maple would work as well, and if you don’t have fruit mince to hand, toss some dried fruits with cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cloves, then soak them in rum or brandy.
Makes about 12 servings
Preparation about 30 minutes
Chilling about 2 hours
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
300ml (1 1/4 cups) whole cream
90ml (6 Tbsp) golden (or maple) syrup, divided
seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
35g (4 Tbsp) slivered almonds
50g (1/4 cup, lightly packed) light brown (demerara) sugar
200g (4/5 cup) fruit mince
75g (1/2 cup) glacé cherries, diced
Whisk together the egg yolks with the cream, 45ml (3 Tbsp) of the golden syrup, and the vanilla seeds/paste/extract in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil slowly over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. When the mixture thickens sufficiently that it coats the bottom of the pan when you tilt it (a few minutes, depending on heat), remove from heat and pour into a stainless steel or ceramic bowl, cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface and set aside until cool. Refrigerate until chilled, about an hour.
Heat a small skillet over a medium-low flame and lightly toast the almonds, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, until golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool completely, then roughly chop.
Completely line an 18cm (7″) round cake tin or 25cm (10″) loaf tin with plastic wrap, with plenty overhang to cover the top.
Using an electric whisk and a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat the egg whites to firm peaks.
Combine the sugar and remaining golden syrup in a small saucepan and heat to boiling, ideally to 112°C (234°F or soft ball stage). Slowly pour into egg whites while beating on low speed, then increase the speed to high and beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is cool and thick.
Fold the fruit mince, cherries and almonds through the chilled egg yolk custard in a large bowl.
Add the meringue and fold together until there are no obvious traces of meringue.
Pour into the tin, smooth the top, cover tightly with the plastic wrap overhang and freeze for at least eight hours, preferably overnight.
Open the top of the plastic wrap, turn out of the tin onto a plate, remove the plastic wrap and cut into wedges or slices to serve.
The parfait will keep for at least a month in the freezer.