White chocolate parfait, blackberry soup and buttery biscuits

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This recipe originates from my father’s propensity to invite many a dear colleague to dinner parties at the Conroy Chateau and, to give creative control of the menu, in its entirety, to my sister and me. This is actually not a part we play willingly and is more an expected duty after 23 years of eating him out of house and home ourselves.

I find when cooking for the academic elite, or so they like to think, it is always best to be prepared so that you maximise those wonderful moments when the whole table’s attention focuses on your future. This dish can be made completely ahead of schedule and assembled really easily at the last minute to great affect and many a nod of approval.

White chocolate and blackberry will forever be one of my favourite combinations. Blackberries because I was born in Scotland and they bring with them memories of long days lying in fields with my siblings and friends eating most of our harvest before they made it home to make a pie from. White chocolate because I don’t and won’t order a dessert unless it contains chocolate, white is the preferable variety.

There is a lot more I could tell you about this recipe, like I designed it to use up some of the egg whites as well the egg yolks, and then that opens up room for the free-range egg championing etc etc etc but lucky for you I will leave it here. I hope you enjoy!

For the langue de chat
60 g plain flour
60 g caster sugar
125 g butter
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
A pinch of salt

For the blackberry soup
2 small punnets of blackberries
1 oz caster sugar
A good splash of crème de cassis

For the white chocolate parfait
8 egg yolks
3 oz caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
200g white chocolate
250 ml cream

To make the parfait.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl over a bain marie so the mixture warms but the base of the bowl doesn’t get too hot. Whisk for 5-10 minutes until thick, pale and creamy looking. Remove from the heat and place in a larger bowl of iced water to cool the mixture, whisking all the time.
Melt the chocolate slowly over a bain marie. Remove from the heat. When cooled slightly whisk it and the vanilla quickly into the egg mixture.
In a separate bowl whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks.
Thoroughly mix in a third of the cream to the egg mixture to loosen it. Add the remaining two thirds and gently fold it in carefully till fully combined.
Pour into a suitable container and freeze over night.

For the langue de chat
Whisk the butter and sugar till soft and fluffy. Add the four gradually, followed by the egg whites, salt and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth. The mixture should be thick enough to pipe and hold its shape at this stage.
Use a piping bag with a 1cm nozzle (or cut a tiny corner off a freezer bag) to pipe long thin lines onto a lined baking tray. Pop the baking tray into the fridge for ten minutes till the biscuit dough is hard to the touch.
Put into a hot oven and cook for 7 minutes or so till slightly brown round the edges.
Once baked work quickly to roll each length into a scroll shape and leave to harden on a wire rack.

For the blackberry soup
Gently heat the blackberries, alcohol and sugar for a few minutes on a medium heat.
Blitz in a blender and sieve to make a smooth sauce.

To assemble
Remove the parfait from the freezer five minutes before serving. Heat a round cutter on your hob. Cut out a circle of parfait using a lot of force and your cutter.
Pour blackberry soup into the bottom of a soup plate. Place your parfait on top of that, followed by your biscuit scroll on top of that. Arrange blackberries around the edge.