Nothing beats a freshly churned ice cream, but these Parfaits come pretty damn close. The best thing is that they can be done and dusted a couple of hours earlier, or even a day or two before the event, so you don't have to worry about anything at all during the meal, or after main course has been served. 

We make them in little conical ramekins of anodised aluminium (~100ml). These take a nice portion size each and are easy to manage both in terms of portioning, freezing and getting out. 

The sweet parfaits are all made in the same manner, but you need to decide which flavour to add. We love a Hazelnut or Pistacho Praline. Crushed and sugared Poppy Seeds were pretty popular, and I guess a generous helping of Orange Oil, maybe with tiny dice of crystalized Orange, would also work nicely. 

To make a praline, shell the nuts. Toast them if you want. Prepare a caramel from 100g sugar, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water, on moderate heat (and while not stirring). When the caramel turns into the appropriate colour, remove from the heat, add the nuts, then spread the lot thinly on a sheet of baking paper or slilicon. Let cool down completely, then crush in a blender to the desired consistency.

For the parfaits, beat 1 medium-sized free range egg yolk per portion. This takes some while, so it is best to use a kitchen machine rather than a hand mixer. Beat the yolks until they turn very pale from the trapped air. Meanwhile, dissolve one tablespoon of castor sugar with a tiny splash of water and put on moderatee heat just as if you were cooking a caramel. This time, you're done just before the mix gets a colour. 

While the egg yolks are still being beaten, slowly pour in the hot sugar sirup. This will cook the eggs. Keep beating the mix to prevent lumbs and allow the yolks to be cooked evenly.

In a seperate bowl, beat 50ml double cream with 1/2 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 vanilla pod per portion.

Add your flavouring to the egg yolk mix (still beating!), then stop beating and fold in the whipped cream. Distribute into the ramekins and freeze for a couple of hours.

To serve, remove the ramekins from the freezer and very briefly and very gently re-heat. I hold and turn each portion for 15s in my hands, t'is all. Then turn out onto a plate (a cake fork comes handy when pulling the parfait cone from the ramekin), decorate as you will (e.g. more praline dust, fruit or fruit coulis, etc), and serve immediately.