We celebrated regular ol’ National Parfait Day back on the day after Thanksgiving and so it seems that parfaits have locked up the days for celebration that fall after particularly big days of celebration. That’s kind of what today was because we were both recovering from the frivolity of Lola’s birthday celebration yesterday and, sad to say, even the soreness from our hard core Laser Tag battles. Some celebrations resonate for a few days after they are over and that’s what Lola’s birthday was. It was one for the books. But the quest must go on, so today in the the midst of our recovery, we were charged with celebrating chocolate parfaits. That would be easy enough.
As I mentioned in my original parfait post, parfaits are essentially layers of ice cream, pudding or yogurt mixed in with layers of chocolate, nuts, or fruit and usually served in a tall thin glass. Pretty broad definition. A chocolate parfait would rely heavily on a dose of chocolate. I feel it’s kind of odd that chocolate parfaits have their own day only because I can’t think of serving a parfait that doesn’t have some element of chocolate in its make up. If you are layering sweet things, you kind of need a layer of chocolate in there somewhere. But I don’t make the holidays, I just observe them, so chocolate parfaits it would be. I was trying to think about what to make and I cam across a recipe from a blog called Homemade Hooplah for something called Baileys Cookies and Cream Parfait. It was layered with a chocolate mousse, some crumbled Oreos and a whipped cream made out of Baileys Irish Liqueur. That sounded delightful and easy to make too.
I needed to get to the store to get the cream so I could whip it and then fold it into melted chocolate to create the mousse and I was waiting to go because we had a repairman coming. We had a valve on our boiler that had worn out and it has been leaking, so he was coming at some point during the day to take a look. That kind of kept me homebound. He arrived at about 1 PM and when he looked at it, he realized he had to go back to the shop to get a part, so I was left waiting for him to get back. While I was in that no man’s land of waiting, I peeked around the kitchen to see if could do anything else. That’s when I saw a box of chocolate pudding in the cupboard. I figured that would be easy enough to make and I could substitute the chocolate pudding for the mousse. I grabbed the box and read the instructions. I have actually never made pudding from the box before. I was never a fan growing up and when I started liking it, it was just easy enough to buy in the readymade cups. I figured it would be as easy as making Jell-O, but to my surprise, it was actually easier. All you had to do was add two cups of cold milk to the package and then whisk it for two minutes. Then it just had to set in the fridge. I couldn’t believe how easy that was. I feel I was let in on a little secret. You learn something new every day.
When I was cleaning up, I looked a bit closer at the box. I do most of the grocery shopping in our house and I can’t remember ever buying instant pudding (at least the chocolate kind). I don’t think Lola would have purchased it either. I then realized that this box of Jell-O pudding may have been a holdover from a shopping trip that Lola’s mom had made to Clements Market (as a reminder, Lola’s mom passed away almost seven years ago). I looked at the box and there was a “Best when purchased by” date on it. It was December 2016. I let that tidbit of info soak in and when it did, it didn’t bother me. Those expiration dates are somewhat arbitrary. I had the actual thought that if I was going to die from eating a food, it wasn’t going to be a chocolate pudding that brought me down. I actually have that thought a lot, especially when I eat things that are on the sketchy side. I’m not sure if that is just naive, morose or just silly, but it’s a rationalization that passes through my brain too frequently before I take a bite of something a clear mind might not bite into.
The dilemma was should I serve it to Lola? I was kind of feeling like Claus von Bülow now. I thought when I served her the parfait later, I should serve it with an evil laugh (perhaps I could conjure up a loud clap of thunder in the background for dramatic effect). I decided to not let her know about the expired pudding. Lola doesn’t always get to reading this blog on the day I write them. She kind of lets them build up so she will read three or four at a time. I should say that whenever I talk to people and they apologize for not reading this blog every day, I have to be clear that I have no expectations of that. I’m happy if you read one or two a month. I am grateful for what you do read, but please know that there are no expectations that you have to keep pace with my output. With Lola, because she reads them every few days, she won’t know about the expired pudding until it’s all over and through her digestive system. It’s the perfect plan (he said in his Jeremy Irons accent).
The pudding was made in five minutes so it was the perfect break as I waited for the repair guy. He came back with his new part (actually our new part) and he was none the wiser that there was a pudding making party while he was gone and that I may have been plotting to poison my wife. He was quick and it was all fixed. Shout out to the folks at Valcourt Heating for always being there when you need them. I then went on with my day which meant working on the lawn. I ended coming inside at about six and I realized I had to finish my parfaits, so I made a quick trip to Cumberland Farms for Oreos and Heavy Cream. A Cumberland Farms shopping tip for you: the full package of Oreos was about $5.49. That seemed a bit steep. However, if you looked in the snack section with the cookies and crackers, they have the individual packs with 10 Oreos in them which were only about $1.49 each. I only needed about 15 Oreos, so I picked up two packages and saved some cash. When I got home, I crushed up the Oreos in our processor, then I whipped up the cream along with some sugar and the Baileys. When it was all ready, I pieced the parfaits together in wine glasses just to make them look fancy. I went chocolate pudding, whipped cream, Oreos and then repeated. They came out looking pretty good.
Lola was in our bedroom for most of the day writing. She retreated there when the repair guy was coming to kind of hide and keep in her zone, and then because it was so cozy up there, she stayed and continued working. She was up there to about 8 pm and when she came down, we were both in different places. I was starving and trying to push my dinner agenda on her and she was in her head needing some time to unwind from having been writing all day. This led to some hanger-induced arguing. I ended up eating a leftover sandwich and then fed Lola some leftover bean dip. However she wasn’t that hungry. I woofed down my sandwich and was ready for dessert, but Lola was still not all that hungry, so she was skipping dessert. My plan had been foiled.
I did eat it and I am still alive. It was actually really good. You can’t go wrong with this combo. It’s when pudding is the best – when it’s good and chocolaty and it has some texture mixed in provided by the crushed Oreos. The star however was the Baileys whipped cream. It gave it that slightly boozy taste, but was really the rich creaminess of the Baileys that came out. It swirled right into the chocolate goodness of the pudding. I essentially just ate a pudding cup topped with whipped cream and Oreos, but it was delicious and because it was in the glass as a parfait, seemed more fancy and adult.
Today’s celebration was in honor of the vehicle of parfaits which is actually a pretty neat way to serve up your favorites. The chocolate part of today was kind of a no brainer, but starting with a creamy chocolate pudding really gave the parfait the right start. It also looked good in the glass with the contrast of the dark chocolate Oreo color and the light cream color of the Baileys. I was a fan and I appreciated how simple it was to make. I also got to make Jell-O pudding for the first time and I learned how easy it is. I feel like I just woke up in the 1950’s to the joy of instant pudding – housewives are going to love this! Turns out that the pudding I used may have also been from the 1950s and the fact that I was willing to serve it to my lovely wife says something about my character. I shouldn’t say that – it was fine. In fact, I still have another parfait all made in the fridge that I hope Lola will find today and eat. She’ll love it. Now does anyone have the number for Alan Dershowitz?
Next up: National Truffle Day