Sunday, September 14, 2014

Christmas Melon and Dragon Fruit Parfait with Añejo Tequila Honey Caramel and Thai Banana Coconut Crème Anglaise














     *This is the Thai Banana Coconut Ice Cream follow up recipe.  This simple Parfait Recipe features an interesting way to use the extra Thai Banana Coconut Crème Anglaise!

     Parfait
     The literal translation of the French word "Parfait" is "Perfect!"  The original late 1800's French definition of a "Parfait Dessert" was a chilled dessert, that was a hand stirred aerated ice cream.  Basically, the original French Parfait was crème anglaise that was stirred by hand in a freezer till it became a custard consistency.  Whisking the French Parfait made it light and airy.  Henceforth, this is how this dessert got the name "Perfect!"

     As time progressed, the definition of "Parfait" eventually became a layered dessert that is served in a tall parfait glass.  The layers usually consisted of custard, fresh or canned fruit, pudding, fruit compote, caramel, syrup, fruit aspic, crème patisserie, sabayon, chantilly or whipped cream.  

     As one can see, the modern definition of parfait is fairly loose.  To maintain a sense of integrity, when making a parfait, the ultimate goal is to make a layered dessert in a cup that is perfect!  What I mean by perfect, is that the ingredients should be light on the palate and the flavor should be angelic.  This is in keeping with the original French Parfait theme.  

     If there ever was a crème anglaise flavor that fits the French Parfait description, it is Thai Banana Crème Anglaise.  This thin egg custard dessert sauce seems to trigger some kind of taste sensation that causes an uncontrollable urge to eat one spoonful of this sauce after another.  The flavor is quite agreeable.  Perfect!  
     Crème Anglaise can easily be turned into a thick custard, by adding a few extra egg yolks and gently heating the sauce to 140º in a double boiler, while constantly stirring.  This is an option if a thick custard is desired.  As it is, a thin crème anglaise carries plenty of flavor and it easily clings to chilled fresh fruit in a parfait dessert.  

     Kah Añejo Tequila    
     Since I live in the Mojave desert, it was a natural to jazz the caramel sauce up with a touch of southwestern flavor.  This also made it possible to use a nifty looking green cactus stem margarita glass for the parfait presentation.  Ce est la vie!  
     
     Las Vegas has been one of the few test market cities for Kah Tequila.  Kah currently produces four types of tequila.  Every Kah Tequila comes in a hand painted Day Of The Dead skull shaped bottle.  The bottles literally works of fine art and they make great conversation pieces.  Kah is available in petite airline size bottles and 750ml bottles.  

     Three Kah Tequilas are pictured in the pictures above.  Kah Silver Tequila comes in a white skull bottle.  The Kah Reposado comes in a rusty tan colored bottle.  The bottle of Kah Reposado in the picture was a petite airline size bottle.  The black skull bottle is Kah Añejo and this 9 month aged tequila was used to flavor the caramel in today's recipe.

     Kah Tequilas are not cheap, but then again, few things are these days.  "If one wants the best, one has to be prepared to dish out some clams!"  
     Kah Tequilas are among the very best tequilas in the world.  The rule of thumb when shopping for tequila always seems to be, "the fancier the bottle, the better the tequila."  Kah Tequila certainly is packaged in a fancy bottle.  
     If Kah Tequila is not available in your area, then purchasing information can be found at the Kah Website.  This information is all that a good local liquor store manager needs to know, when a special order is placed by a customer.
     Kah Añejo Tequila ... Highly recommended!  
     Here is the Kah Website Link:  Kah Tequila 

     Thai Banana Coconut Crème Anglaise:
     This recipe was previously published in an ice cream recipe.  The recipe yield is about 4 cups, so if a small amount is all that is needed, the doing some Baker's Math will be necessary.
     Here is a link to the recipe that opens in a separate window:  

     Añejo Tequila Honey Caramel
     This recipe yields 2 small portions!
     Dark Amber Brown Desert Wildflower Honey was used in this recipe, because it has a very rich flavor.  This type of honey is common in the southwest.  Just about anywhere else, it has to be special ordered.  Any good local honey can be used in its place.
     Kah Añejo Tequila is a bit expensive, so using it in recipes is not really feasible.  I used Kah Añejo in this recipe, just so I could display the neat looking bottle to viewers of this website.  Using a cheaper añejo tequila for cooking does make sense.    
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.  
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar.
     Boil the ingredients, till the water evaporates and the sugar starts to bubble.
     Continue cooking the sugar, till it becomes an amber brown caramel color.
     Reduce the temperature to medium low heat. 
     Immediately add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of honey.  
     Add 4 ounces of Añejo Tequila. 
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a medium thick glacé (syrup) consistency.  
     Chill the Añejo Tequila Honey Caramel till it is just a bit cooler than room temperature.  

     Christmas Melon and Dragon Fruit Parfait with Añejo Tequila Honey Caramel and Thai Banana Coconut Crème Anglaise:
     Dragon Fruit actually is a cactus fruit that is native to Mexico.  The flavor is gentle and sweet.  About one half of a dragon fruit is enough for one large parfait style serving.
     Use a paring knife to peel a dragon fruit.  Try to retain as much of the pink color flesh as possible.
     Cut the dragon fruit into quarter wedges that are about 1/4" thick.
     Place the dragon fruit wedges in a tall stemmed margarita glass.
     Cut a portion of peeled seeded Christmas Melon into 6 thin spears that are about 4" long.
     Vertically insert the melon spears into the back half of the glass in a row.
     Chill the glass and fruit to about 40º to 45º.
     Spoon enough of the Añejo Tequila Honey Caramel over the dragon fruit in the glass so a thn layer forms on the bottom of the parfait.
     Spoon some Thai Banana Coconut Crème Anglaise over the center of the dragon fruit to complete the layered parfait.  Try to leave a couple of dragon fruit slices exposed, so they can be seen.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of lime zest over the crème anglaise.  
     Garnish with two thin lime wedges. 

     Viola!  Perfect!  Perfect is what French Parfait is all about.  Yum!

3 comments:

  1. Hi, I was wondering where do you get Christmas melon in Vegas? thanks.

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    1. Response to Jillian ... Christmas Melons were for sale in nearly every grocery store at the end of summer. I found the small Christmas Melon that was used in this recipe at Smith's in late August.

      There are 2 farmers markets in Vegas that will probably have some South American Christmas Melons. The Downtown Farmers Market and the Springs Preserve Farmers Market are good choices.

      The Whole Foods Market on Charleston has a produce manager that can order Christmas Melons on request.

      The North American local grown summer melons are all probably sold out. Christmas Melons are a summer crop in North America, but they are harvested in South America during our winter months.

      South American Christmas Melons should be stocked at Vegas grocery stores soon. Places like farmers markets or the Whole Food Market are usually the first to get seasonal harvested items, like winter season South American Christmas Melons.

      I hope this information helps you out. I am patiently awaiting the South American melon harvest too.

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    2. Oh by the way, Dragon Fruit is always stocked in Chinatown Asian Food Markets.

      Here is a good source for checking the availability of produce. This company sometimes refers to my recipes that require odd fruits and vegetables.

      Specialty Produce - Santa Claus Melon

      http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Santa_Claus_Melon_4682.php

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