As a father, and general advocate of healthy living I appreciate the need to eat healthier, but we all know Christmas is the one time of year we like to indulge. With so many alternative ingredients available today, you can easily make healthy tweaks to recipes without noticing any difference in taste and texture though and this parfait is a brilliant example. Made with double cream it’s still very indulgent, but without any added sugar (although there are natural sugars in the pears), means the post-Christmas guilt doesn’t have to be quite as bad!
The spiced pears themselves are super delicious and very festive, so if you are looking to be super healthy over the festive period, try them spooned over a low-fat Greek yoghurt for a super healthy Christmas dessert.
- For the Parfait
- 3 medium egg whites (100g) at room temperature (Red Lion stamped)
- pinch cream of tartar
- 130g Xylitol
- 4 level tsp mixed spice
- 600mls double cream, lightly whipped
- For the Warm Pears with Vanilla
- 3 level tbsp olive oil
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla pod, or ½ tsp vanilla paste
- 3 ripe pears, I use Williams or Bartlett
- 20g Xylitol
For the Parfait
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: none
Freezing time: best overnight
- Place the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl and add the cream of tartar.
- Place the whisk on the machine and whisk at high speed, until thick and foamy, probably 1-2 minutes.
- Slow the machine down and sprinkle over the Xylitol, then re whisk for 3-4 minutes until thick and glossy.
- Add the mixed spice to the lightly whipped double cream and fold in.
- Add the finished meringue to the lightly whipped cream and gently fold in.
- Spoon into a container or bowl, cover with cling film and freeze until firm, for the best consistency I reckon about 6 hours. If left overnight you may need to remove from the freezer and pop in the fridge for 1 hour to soften slightly before eating.
- When serving you may need to remove the parfait from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften slightly (this is because Xylitol in its raw state does not freeze the same way as normal sugar)
- Using a ice cream scoop, scoop into balls or open curls and serve in bowls with poached fruits and a little syrup over.
For the Warm Pears with Vanilla
Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Cooking time: 6-8 minutes, if pears are ripe
- Top and tail the pears.
- Peel carefully with a peeler or sharp paring knife.
- Cut each pear into quarters lengthways.
- Remove any stalk and core with a sharp knife, then cut each quarter in two, lengthways.
- Once the pears are prepared you should have 24 pieces of pear.
- Heat the oil and butter until foaming, and then add the vanilla, pears and Xylitol, and gently sauté for 3-4 minutes, maybe longer if the pears are not fully ripe.
- Turn the pears occasionally to coat in the buttery juices. Do not overcook or the pears will become mushy.
- Once cooked serve warm with the parfait.