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Posted by on Aug 17, 2012 in Guest Blog, Melting Pot | 0 comments

Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits with Graham Cracker Crunch

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melting pot adventures in food

This will be Elizabeth from Savory Salty Sweet‘s last guest post on Indie Fixx. It’s been an absolute pleasure having Elizabeth and I will certainly miss her wonderful recipes and stunning food porn photos! Thank you for sharing with us, Elizabeth.  xoxo, jen

There is something to be said for the fancy dessert. The real show-stopping sort—the kind that induces people to quite literally gasp when they see it. On the other hand, there is also really something to be said for the simple dessert, the kind that you can whip together in less than thirty minutes, or perhaps even assemble in stages, leaving you the opportunity to leisurely construct it at your convenience. In a perfect world, you could make a dessert that encompassed both worlds: a beautiful, elegant dessert that was a cinch to make from scratch, and could be thrown together on a near whim. Well, as it happens,  I have good news for you. This is that dessert.

It’s simple, really. A light, yet supremely chocolaty, pudding base, a slip of freshly whipped cream, a sprinkling of berries, and a surprise element of lacy, crisp graham crunch. The presentation is gorgeous, the flavors satisfyingly classic, and the combination of dark chocolate, fresh cream, ripe raspberries, and buttery snap is just spot on. All of it homemade, and all of it in under half an hour. It’s like a dessert miracle.

 If you’re the type of person who has matching dessert bowls or sundae glasses, this dessert would be a natural fit for them. I do not have either, but I do happen to be the type of person who owns a surprisingly large variety of beer glasses. I mixed and matched glasses when I assembled these desserts, and, I have to admit, I was rather fond of the presentation. It seemed fitting to nestle such a lovely, yet simple, dessert into a beer glass, illustrating the point that sometimes the most elegant of things can, in actuality, be rather humble at their roots.

Chocolate Raspberry Parfaits with Graham Cracker Crunch

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup fresh raspberries

Pudding

1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of sea salt
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Graham Cracker Crunch

4 graham crackers, about 1 ounce total
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt

To make pudding, in a medium saucepan, combine cocoa powder, sugar, cornstarch, and pinch of salt. Whisk together, turn heat under pan to medium-high, and slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk everything together until the dry ingredients have dissolved into the milk, then cook, stirring constantly until the mixture has thickened and is just starting to boil, about 5 to 7 minutes (the thickening process will seem to happen very suddenly, so watch your pudding carefully—after about 5 or 6 minutes it will go from thin to thick in what seems like an instant). Remove the pudding from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

Pour the pudding into a large bowl, using a spatula to scrape up all the last drops. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming, then place the pudding in the refrigerator to cool. If you are planning on eating the pudding sooner rather than later, you can also place the bowl of pudding in the freezer to cool a bit faster. No harm will come of it if the pudding sits in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so, but I would not leave it in any longer, for fear it might begin to freeze at the edges.

While the pudding is cooling, make the graham cracker crunch. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In an 8” by 8” square pan, crumble the graham crackers with your hands until they have been crushed into a mixture of crumbs and small, pea-sized pieces. Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingertips, pinch and blend the mixture together until it has become smooth and uniformly combined. Arrange the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan in little dollops (the mixture will melt and flatten as it cooks) then bake in the center of the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until it is bubbly and dark golden brown. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.

While the praline is baking, whip the cream with just a drop or two of vanilla extract. Set aside.

At this point, you can either leave the pudding and whipped cream in the refrigerator, and the crunch in its pan, until you want to assemble your desserts, or you can assemble everything straightaway for immediate serving.

To arrange a parfait, spoon ¼ of the cooled pudding into a bowl, a sundae glass, or simply any tall glass you can find. Spoon ¼ of the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Top the whipped cream with ¼ of the raspberries. Break up the graham cracker crunch into small and medium-sized pieces, then arrange over the top of the berries and cream. You can also just serve the crunchy pieces on the side, as an added bonus to the creamy parfait.

Makes 4 parfaits.

About the contributor:

Elizabeth Miller is a freelance writer who runs Savory Salty Sweet, a food and kitchen appreciation website. She also writes the Melting Pot column here on Indie Fixx, which appears bimonthly on Fridays. Read more about her on the contributors’ page.

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