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Orange Blossom Parfait with Lime Granita and Hazelnut Tuiles

Created by Moroccan-born chef Mourad Lahlou, this dessert is a light and refreshing way to end a rich meal. The bright acidity of the lime granita is the perfect foil to the creamy orange blossom parfait, while the hazelnut tuiles add rich nuttiness and texture. To make a simple syrup for the granita, combine 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool before using. If you can’t find hazelnut meal, substitute almond meal.

Ingredients:

For the lime granita:

  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. lime zest
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup, plus more as needed (see note above)

For the orange blossom parfait:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. plus 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from 2 to 3 eggs)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbs. orange blossom water

For the hazelnut tuiles:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. hazelnut meal
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

To make the lime granita, in a bowl, combine the lime juice, lime zest and water. Add the 1/4 cup simple syrup, plus more as needed (the mixture should be tart). Pour the mixture into a 9-inch square pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. When the granita begins to set, after about 1 hour, remove the pan from the freezer and scrape with the tines of a fork, breaking up any large pieces of ice by mashing with the fork. Stir together the ice flakes and any remaining liquid and return the pan to the freezer. Repeat the process every 30 to 45 minutes until the granita is completely frozen.

Meanwhile, make the orange blossom parfait: Line a 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap, leaving extra wrap over the edges.

Put the 1 1/2 tsp. cold water in a very small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top. Gently swirl the bowl to hydrate all of the gelatin powder and allow the gelatin to completely set, about 5 minutes. Cut the solidified gelatin into 1/4-inch squares and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream on medium-high speed until it thickens just shy of soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to another bowl and refrigerate. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisk.

Put the 1/4 cup cold water in a small saucepan and sprinkle the sugar over the top. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to simmer until the temperature reaches 235ºF, 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the mixer bowl. Once the sugar mixture begins to simmer, beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes, then reduce the speed to low and continue beating until the sugar mixture reaches 235ºF. Increase the speed to medium-low and slowly add the sugar mixture to the egg whites, pouring very slowly down the side of the mixer bowl. Add the gelatin and beat for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat until the bottom of the bowl is cool to the touch, 5 to 10 minutes. Beat in the orange blossom water.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream in 3 additions. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the parfait is set, about 3 hours.

To prepare the hazelnut tuiles, in a small bowl, combine the hazelnut meal, almond meal, flour and salt. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, sugar and milk, stirring until the butter is about halfway melted. Stir in the hazelnut meal mixture, then continue stirring until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. 

Pour the batter into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Position 1 rack in the top third and 1 rack in the bottom third of an oven. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners.

Using a teaspoon, drop 6 mounds of tuile batter onto each prepared baking sheet, leaving ample space between them. Using a small offset spatula, spread the batter into thin rounds. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the tuiles cool until they have hardened. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with the remaining batter. This recipe makes about 8 dozen tuiles; you will have quite a few left over after garnishing the desserts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To assemble, using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut the frozen parfait into 9 rounds and place 1 round in the center of each individual plate. Place the cutter over one parfait and spoon in a 1/2-inch layer of granita, then gently tap the granita down with a spoon. Lift off the cutter and repeat with the remaining parfaits. Alternatively, cut the parfait into nine 3-inch squares and spoon the granita on top. Place the hazelnut tuiles alongside. Serve immediately. Serves 9.

Adapted from Mourad: New Moroccan, by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan, 2011).