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Make This Holiday Parfait the Centerpiece of Your Dessert Table

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Adobe Stock | Photo by Svetlana Kolpakova

Think outside the box this season with a colorful, flavorful, and surprisingly easy dessert recipe from a top Hudson Valley chef.

Pumpkin and chocolate aren’t frequently paired together, but their flavors actually complement each other quite nicely. Boosted by creamy mascarpone and spiked with the aromatic flavor of amaretto, this parfait is a non-traditional dessert that tastes just as good as it looks. Make it during the holiday season to impress your guests after the main meal wraps.

Holiday Parfait

Serves 8-10 people

Candied Orange Peel

3 blood oranges, sliced into thin 1/8” rounds (discard seeds)
bowl of ice water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
1 Tbsp vanilla

Method:

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add orange slices. Boil for 1 minute then place in the bowl of ice water until cooled. Drain.

In a large skillet set over medium heat, bring 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, and vanilla to a boil and cook until sugar dissolves.

Turn heat to medium-low and place orange slices in the sugar-water in a single layer. Simmer the orange slices 30 minutes or until rinds are slightly translucent, turning every few minutes.

Place orange slices on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely, (approximately 1 hour). Use immediately, or keep refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

Parfait Filling:

6 eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
One 16-oz container of mascarpone cheese, at room temperature, divided
2 cups canned pumpkin (from one, 15- or 16-oz can)
¼ tsp ground star anise
¼ tsp ground clove, divided
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
10 oz of Amaretti cookies (about 20 small cookies)1 pint heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup Amaretto liqueur
8 oz of chocolate wafer cookies, crushed
½ cup pomegranate seeds
8-10 parfait glasses, large opening wine glasses, or stemless goblets

Method:

Separate egg whites from yolks. Put whites in a medium bowl and yolks in a large, heatproof bowl.

Add ¼ cup sugar to whites and ¼ cup to yolks. Place bowl of egg yolks over a double boiler or saucepan filled with boiling water. Cook over boiling water for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until yolks are lightened in color and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Blend pumpkin, star anise, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, and pinch of clove with 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese until well combined.

Add to bowl of yolks and mix well. Beat whites until stiff peaks form.

Working with small amounts at a time, incorporate beaten whites into pumpkin mixture, folding in gently until combined. Repeat until whites are completely incorporated. Whip cream until medium peaks are formed and fold remaining mascarpone into whipped cream. Add Amaretto liqueur to mixture, folding gently.

Place each mixture in plastic piping bags that have been fitted with a wide pastry tip. Keep pumpkin puree and whipped mascarpone chilled until ready to assemble. Crush Amaretti and chocolate wafer cookies in food processor, or place inside Ziplock bag and crush with rolling pin.

Line up parfait glasses and place a few teaspoons of the chocolate crumbs on the bottom. Sprinkle some Amaretti crumbs on top.

Pipe a small amount of pumpkin puree over crumbs, covering them completely. Sprinkle some more chocolate and Amaretti crumbs over the pumpkin mixture. Pipe whipped mascarpone over previous layer. Repeat all layers once more.

Finish parfait with a dusting of the chocolate and Amaretti crumbs, pomegranate seeds, and garnish with candied orange peel.

Courtesy of Chef Jodi Cummings, CIA graduate and owner of the former Caffe Macchiato in Newburgh.

Related: Where to Get Your Pumpkin Spice Fix in the Hudson Valley

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