Therefore, I was extremely happy when I Googled “Black Bottom Parfait” and found not a mention of it on the World Wide Web! This recipe is from my trusted New York Times cookbook – another fantastic retro recipe from Mr. Craig Claiborne. I have found so many classic gems in this book that are completely timeless.
This parfait is simple, but oh so good. The semi sweet chocolate foundation is intensely flavored without being overly sweet. The meringue style vanilla top is light, sweet and the perfect complement to the decadent base.
I did debate the use of raw egg whites in the vanilla mousse topping. However, I did my research and felt very confidant using just purchased, fresh eggs. If we were to never eat raw eggs there would be no Hollandaise, no Béarnaise, no chocolate mousse, no Caesar Salad dressing, no Baked Alaska, no homemade eggnog, etc., etc. — This would be too much for many people and many cookbook authors to bear. As well, most of salmonella poisoning (which is very rare) comes from fruit, vegetables and cheeses.
Cookbook author Alice Medrich has devised a method for taking egg whites to the safe temperature of 160°F (70°C) before beating them into a meringue. It appears in her well-respected book, Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts (Canada, UK). Here’s the link to this method - http://www.ochef.com/728.htm.
Black Bottom Parfait
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups milk, scalded
- 4 eggs separated
- 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- bittersweet chocolate, grated
- In the top part of a double boiler mix one-half cup of the sugar and the cornstarch. Add the milk, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Beat the egg yokes and add to the milk while stirring. Place over hot water and cook, stirring for two minutes.
- Add one cup of this custard into a small bowl, add the chocolate and stir until blended. Add one half teaspoon of the vanilla. Divide among six parfait glasses.
- Soften the gelatin in cold water, add to the white custard, and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining one-half teaspoon of vanilla. Cool until mixture is beginning to thicken.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy with salt and cream of tartar. Gradually add the remaining one half cup of sugar and whip until stiff. Fold into the white custard. pour over the chocolate custard in the glasses and cover. Chill until firm. Garnish with grated bittersweet chocolate.