Aired July 23, 2012
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups Italian Custard Cream, chilled
2 teaspoons Frangelico, coffee liqueur, Grand Marnier, or Baileys Irish Cream
24 baked and cooled Cream Puff shells
2 ounces mild chocolate or semisweet chocolate, for shaving over the parfait
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream and sugar on medium speed until stiff, about 5 minutes. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl.
Transfer the custard cream to the mixer bowl and whip briefly to smooth out the cream and ensure there are no lumps. Pour in the Frangelico, then slowly add the whipped cream. Stop and scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula, then continue to whip until smooth and airy.
Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with the #5 plain tip. Use your pinkie to hollow out the puffs from the bottom and pipe cream into the puffs through the hole. Pipe the cream puffs full of cream.
Pipe circles of cream into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Arrange 5 or 6 cream puffs around the circumference of the bottom, and 1 in the center. Build a pyramid of cream puffs, piping cream on top of each layer and around each puff, and smoothing it with a rubber spatula.
Refrigerate the parfait at least 4 hours or overnight to set it and allow the flavors to develop. Just before serving, shave the chocolate over the parfait with a box grater.
To serve, use two spoons to transfer 1 cream puff to each of 24 plates. Spoon some more cream over the puff and serve.
You can also finish the parfait with a drizzle of melted chocolate (melt 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or 2 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler) piped from a parchment pencil (see page 185) and/or with a dusting of cocoa powder.