It’s the middle of winter here and the snow is coming in waves. One fall after the other it refuses to pack up and leave. The pillowy white stuff is overshadowed only by the relentless wind that snaps at my skin whenever I step outside. I battle the elements everyday as I try to clear my property, but it seems futile as the snow shifts across the banks and back onto my freshly cleared path. My spirit is temporarily crushed and my bones are cold.
There is one thing that keeps me company as I fight the losing fight. The fresh aroma of baked goods that come from the oven and kitchen and fill the house all the way to the entrance. When I finally step inside and shake the clumps of snow clutching my pants like fists, I’m instantly transported to a more comforting place. I can instantly pick up the notes and flavours that heighten with each passing minute. It’s almost as if the first spoonful has touched my tongue and warmed me from the inside out.
I could have rich desserts and afternoon tea snacks everyday. In the coldest months, which we occupy right now, I could argue the need for the oven working overtime and the kitchen utensils banging with delight. The perfect amount of sweetness and flavour to finish a meal you and set the mood for the night. Just thinking about it brings me to a better place, a better moment in time.
I love playing with flavours and ingredients in dessert. I can make the same thing differently every time. A bit more of one thing or another and the addition or subtraction of one ingredient. It doesn’t take much to change the entire canvas and the results are unique and familiar at the same time. In this case that applies to the lemon curd and berries that I used. Yesterday I worked those same two ingredients together in Blueberry-Lemon Tartlets and today I gave them new life. Maybe a better life.
The beauty in dessert starts well before the spoon touches your tongue. It begins in the oven when the aroma really takes hold of you. The granola making music on the sheet pan. The curd clamouring for inclusion while the the vanilla-infused whipped cream waits to be folded in. It’s like watching a symphony playing a sheet of music as it gains momentum. For me it’s about the process as much as the ending.
After a day like today and a week that carried on, it’s great to come home and make this. My Lemon Parfait with Berry Compote. Subtle, yet intense. The perfect Friday night finishing course, and if I’m lucky enough it’ll be the perfect Saturday afternoon snack as well! I like to call it the sweet hereafter.
Now I’m prepared for the next thing mother nature throws at me. I’ll have the thoughts of a well deserved treat waiting for me with opened arms.
The process is relatively painless. I fold my lemon curd with a batch of whipped cream until evenly distributed. This becomes my first layer. The next layer is my granola, which I had on hand from a batch made earlier this week. The berry compote is a mixture of blackberries and blueberries, some sugar and Limoncello. I mash up the berries and add them to some whole berries until nice and syrupy. This becomes the third layer. I repeat one more time and I have my parfait!
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!