Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Avocado Parfait

Avocados are more versatile than one might expect. Their creamy, buttery goodness adapts well for desserts as well as savory dishes. In other words, they're not just for guacamole anymore.

I used the very adaptable avocado in a dessert recipe. "What?" you say, "in dessert?" Why certainly. I've seen recipes for avocado ice cream, so I thought - why not avocado pudding?  So I whipped up a lovely green pudding (bet you've never seen those three words typed together before) and decided to layer it with graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream to make a parfait.

So what does sweet avocado taste like? Hmmm...hard to describe. It's rich, certainly, with a flavor that is The small bits of citrus juice and vanilla I used did not assert themselves, allowing the avocado to shine. It was pretty darn good, actually, and I would do it again.

Avocado Parfait 

Avocado pudding:
2-1/4 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe avocados from Mexico (divided use)
2 Tablespoons lime juice (divided use)
2 Tablespoons sour cream
about 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon confectioner's sugar

2 graham crackers, crushed into crumbs

1/2 lime, cut into round slices about 4mm thick
Sliced almonds, toasted

Make avocado pudding: In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of milk to a near boil. In the meantime, in a large bowl, beat egg yolks, sugar and 1/4 cup milk, whisking until smooth. Add cornstarch and flour and combine well. When milk has barely started to boil, gradually whisk it into the egg mixture. Return egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until it comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes longer, continually whisking. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour custard into bowl and cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for half an hour.

While custard is chilling, place the flesh of one avocado in a blender with the sour cream and one tablespoon of the lime juice. Puree, adding dribbles of heavy cream if necessary, to facilitate blending.

Remove slightly chilled custard from refrigerator and whisk in the avocado mixture. If it has set too much or seems lumpy, give it a whiz through the blender or food processor with a dribble of heavy cream to help smooth it out. You should have a nice pale green pudding at the end of this process. Cut remaining two avocados into a medium dice. Toss with remaining tablespoon of lime juice. Fold into pudding. Place in refrigerator to cool completely, 2 hours.

To assemble: Whip cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Alternate layers of avocado pudding, whipped cream, and graham crackers, ending with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with toasted almonds and a circle of lime cut on one side and twisted.

6 servings