Sunday, August 23, 2009 both have Lay-Ers (Parfait)

When the challenge was announced, I knew right away what I was going to make. I was inspired by one of my favorite movies:

Shrek: "Ogres have layers, onions have layers, ogres have layers!"
Donkey: " both have layers. Not everybody likes onions...You know what everybody likes? Parfaits. Have you ever met a person, you say, 'Hey lets get some parfaits' and they say 'Hell no, I don't like no parfaits!' Parfaits are delicious...Parfaits may be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet."

So, I decided to make parfait for my layer challenge. I have always thought parfaits were yogurt, granola, and fruit layered, but Stef pointed out that there is a fattier version involving cream, fruit, and custard. However, I am sticking with my original understanding and here present my "Yogurt Parfait"

First, the yogurt is made. I got a yogurt maker for Christmas and try to use it often. I buy milk from a local dairy (Mauthe's) at our farmer's market, and if they're out we can get the other local dairy, Smith Creamery, at most of the grocery stores around here. So the recipe for yogurt (adapted from the EuroCuisine Yoger Maker Operating Instructions) is as follows:

42 oz. fresh, pasturized milk
6 oz. plain yogurt (starter cultures)

Here are the two kinds of milk I usually use to make yogurt: full-on-fat for Sedge and skim for me. **The type of yogurt you use as starter matters (found out the hard way). Cheap WalMart brand must not have the same levels of active cultures as slightly more expensive brands. You wind up with more liquid-like yogurt if the cultures aren't fresh/good.**

Step 1: bring the 42 oz. of milk just to a boil (starts to climb the sides of the sauce pan).

Step 2: Cool the boiled milk down to 'room temperature' (= 37 deg. C/ 95 deg. F). To speed this process up, you can put the sauce pan in a bowl of cool water. I usually have to replace the water 2-3 times (and I put ice cubes in the bottom too).

Step 3: When the milk has cooled to 37 deg. C, you then mix the 6 oz. yogurt and about 1 cup of the milk until smooth. Add that to the rest of the milk, and whisk thoroughly. Then pour the mixture into the provided 7 - 6oz. jars and place in the fancy-schmancy yogurt maker (basically just keeps the yogurt at 37 C for how-ever long it takes to solidify). For whole milk culture the yogurt for 8 hrs, for skim milk, at least 10 hours.

Sedge loves his yogurt and usually eats some every day!

Now, on to the granola! This is a recipe I have attempted at least 4 times, each time wasting lots of money because I burn the crap out of it. So, this time I changed a few things and bought a new pan. Unfortunately, they apparently do not sell "jelly roll" pans that don't have some kind of non-stick crap on them (and, irrational though it may be, I do not like to cook with non-stick), so I got a non-sided pan. It made a mess, but I think it might have also contributed to a successful granola-making experience!

This is the granola I grew up eating. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom rushing to the oven to stir the granola! Now I know why!

4 c of quick oats
1/2 c sesame seeds (raw and hulled)
1/2 c wheat germ (recipe called for raw, but I had roasted and it worked out fine)
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c wheat bran
1/2 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c shredded coconut (I prefer unsweetened)
1 Tbs + 1 tsp honey
1/4 c veg. oil
1 c raisins

Mix all ingredients, EXCEPT the raisins (learned this the hard way in one of my attempts). I tried to blend the honey and oil by warming the oil and stirring in the honey - not sure it worked and not sure it's necessary. Once you've mixed everything up, it's time to lay it out on a lightly greased sheet, and put into the oven. This recipe calls for a 400 Deg. oven, but my oven must have been calibrated in Hell, because there is no way the granola would have lasted 2 minutes in my 400 deg oven. So, if you have a gas range that runs hot, 350 is plenty warm. I also found that the 10 minute stir-interval was WAY too long. I took the granola out and stirred it every 5 minutes for 20 minutes.

Then, when you've stirred the granola about 4 times, and most of it is looking golden and delicious, you can add the raisins and put it back in the oven for the last 5 minutes (total of 25 minutes).

Then, I let it cool and put it in a baggie in the fridge. It worked this time!

But, the mess. Whew! Anyone know where I can get a jelly roll pan without stupid non-stick coating?!?!
O.K., so now that I have all the basics made (yogurt and granola), it is time to assemble my parfaits! I had a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer, and thawed them. When I tasted them, they were rather tart, so I added 1 1/2 tsp of sugar, and began layering.

Final product:

So, on this lovely August Sunday morning (69 degrees on our porch!), we had our parfaits outside.
Sedge is really quite a great little food-tester! He tries anything.

Stef was a bit more reluctant, but he ate it too!

And I am a huge fan of granola and yogurt, so needless to say, mine was gone in a flash!

What's the verdict? Would I agree with Donkey or would I say "Hell no, I don't like no parfaits"? Well...I really like it, but the raspberries were still VERY tart. Probably should have used a different fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas). It was a bit much for both Stef and I, but Sedge ate every bit of his - however, this is a kid who happily sucks on lemons and limes. I now have plenty of yogurt and granola to have this for breakfast every morning this week (sans the raspberries) and I am rather happy about that!


  1. Absolutely lovely... and kudos on making your own yogurt! And the granola looks tasty good, if messy... :)

  2. I love the tiny Trifle bowls. Some of my early childhood memories revolve around my mother NOT stirring the granola...charred oats and honey mmmmm mmmmmm.

  3. I soooo want a yogurt maker now! Beautiful and tasty!

  4. Nicely done! Emma has grown tired of yogurt, so I am definitely going to try getting her attention with a parfait.