Chai parfait with fig and whole spice syrup

Lusciously spiced and visually stunning, this dessert deserves a very special occasion on which to shine.

  • 1 hr cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print


Chai parfait with fig and whole spice syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup (375ml) milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon good-quality loose-leaf black tea
  • 2 star anise
  • 10 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 cardamon pods, bruised
  • 2 centimetre (3/4-inch) piece fresh ginger (10g), grated finely
  • 300 millilitre pouring cream
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 ginger nut biscuits (30g), crushed coarsely
  • 2 tablespoon pistachios, chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 cup (35g) glacé ginger, chopped coarsely
  • 1/2 cup (110g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 (125ml) water
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves
  • 6 allspice
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 100 gram (3 ounces) dried wild figs
  • 2 teaspoon freshly squeezed orange juice


Chai parfait with fig and whole spice syrup
  • 1
    Heat milk in a large heavy-based saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat; stir in tea, spices and ginger until combined. Stand for 15 minutes. Pour through a sieve; discard solids.
  • 2
    Return strained milk to pan, stir in cream; bring almost to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until pale. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into egg yolk mixture until combined. Return mixture to pan; stir continuously over low heat until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (do not allow to boil).
  • 3
    Pour custard into a medium stainless steel bowl, place bowl over a second larger bowl filled with ice; whisk custard for a few minutes to cool slightly. Cover surface with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled.
  • 4
    Churn chilled custard in an ice-cream machine, following manufacturer's directions. Five minutes before end of churning, add biscuits, nuts and glacé ginger; churn a further 5 minutes or until incorporated.
  • 5
    Pour ice-cream into a clean 1 litre (4 cup) cardboard milk carton; seal top. Freeze, standing carton upright, for 6 hours or overnight.
  • 6
    Make fig and whole spice syrup. Place ingredients, except juice, in a small heavy-based saucepan over low heat; stir for 1 minute until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 12 minutes or until figs have softened and syrup thickened slightly. Cool, then stir in juice. Cut half the figs in half.
  • 7
    To serve, remove parfait from freezer and tear away cardboard milk carton. Place on a platter with a lip; spoon over fig and whole spice syrup.


To crush ginger nuts, place in a metal or plastic bowl and use the end of a rolling pin to crush them; sift to remove any fine crumbs. Avoid eating whole spices as these are left in the syrup as a garnish only, the figs however will be delicious. Parfait can be made a day ahead. You can use an empty 1 litre cardboard milk carton or a 1 litre (4-cup) terrine tin to mould the parfait in.

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