A mixture of halvah and the Lebanese cream cheese lebneh is the base for this exceptional sesame parfait. It’s great all by itself and even better with garnishes like the Sichuan peppercorn crumble and fig compote here.
Slideshow: More Parfait Recipes
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons lebneh
2 cups shredded halvah (5 ounces)
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons almond meal
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold salted butter, cubed
8 ounces pitted Medjool dates, chopped
3/4 cup ruby Port wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
12 fresh or dried Black Mission figs, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the parfait
In a small saucepan, bring the cream just to a simmer. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thickened and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Beating constantly, slowly drizzle in the hot cream until well blended. Continue beating until the mixture is lightened and lukewarm, about 8 minutes. Beat in the lebneh and halvah at low speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Evenly spread the mixture in a 9-inch-square metal pan lined with plastic wrap; freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Step 2 Make the crumble
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a spice grinder, finely grind the Sichuan peppercorns. Transfer to a bowl and mix in all of the remaining dry ingredients, then beat in the butter until the mixture forms small pebbles. Spread the peppercorn crumble on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring a few times, until golden. Let cool.
Step 3 Make the date puree
In a saucepan, combine the dates and Port and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the dates break down, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape into a bowl.
Step 4 Make the spiced figs
In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Add the figs cut side down and cook over moderately low heat, until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Add the honey, cardamom, ginger and coriander and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the liquid thickens, 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
Cut the halvah parfait into 6 or 8 squares or rounds. Spoon the date puree onto plates. Top with the halvah squares and spiced figs. Sprinkle with the crumble and serve with ice cream.
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