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Praline & Tia Maria Parfait
A totally delicious rich ice cream, that needs no attention at all while freezing (because of the sugar and added alcohol). Good simply on its own, or for a special occasion with a Tuille (q.v.) or with warm Orange Bakewell Tart (q.v.).
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100gr/3 oz Shelled Almonds – the ones with natural brown skins are best, but white blanched are satisfactory
100gr/3 oz Cater Sugar
300ml/½ pint Double Cream
2 Egg Whites (if you've been saving them in the deep freeze use 50ml/2 fl oz
1 medium Sherry Glass (about 100ml/4 fl oz) Tia Maria
1. Set your deep freeze to fast freeze if possible.
2. Make the praline mixture, by combining the nuts and sugar in a heavy saucepan and heating gently until the sugar melts.
3. Resist stirring until the sugar starts to caramelise; once this begins, be careful of any spitting sugar.
4. When the sugar has completely melted and is caramelised, mix well to coat the nuts.
5. Pour on to a lightly-oiled or non-stick tray (a little sunflower or vegetable oil, not strong-tasting olive oil) and allow to cool and set. Do not be tempted to speed up the process, as this will make the praline soft.
6. When the mixture is cold and toffee-like, break it into manageable pieces and food process until the mixture resembles sawdust. THIS WILL MAKE AN ALARMING NOISE. If you don't have a food processor, put your roughly broken pieces into a strong plastic bag and attack them with a rolling pin - a combination of hammering and rolling will produce the same result.
7. The praline powder will keep for a few days at this stage, if held at larder temperature - but don't refrigerate.
8. Whip the cream with the Tia Maria until it is bulky and fairly stiff.
9. Whisk the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl until very stiff.
10. Add the praline to the cream mixture and mix it in thoroughly.
11. Fold, rather than mix, in the whipped egg whites - trying not to knock too much air out of them, but still incorporating them fully, so that not too many white flecks are visible.
12. Pour into a sterilised container (Milton baby sterilising solution is ideal for this), cover and freeze for 3 to 4 hours. Serve.