Layered with a creamy maple syrup custard and crunchy oat, apple, pecan, and cinnamon granola, this parfait is a nice alternative to classic autumn pies, cakes, and other baked goods. It’s served cold (perfect for those occasional autumn heatwaves) and the oven is only involved to bake the granola. I borrowed elements from two different seasonal recipes I came across online: a maple tart in the New York Times, and Fresh Fit Kitchen’s apple cinnamon pecan granola, which features a secret ingredient: uncooked quinoa. There will be plenty of delicious granola leftover to sprinkle on yogurt or eat as a snack.
Maple Custard Parfait with Apple Pecan Granola
Custard, adapted from the New York Times
3/4 cup (180 ml) maple syrup
1 3/4 cups (420 ml) whole milk
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Granola, adapted from Fresh Fit Kitchen
1 medium to large apple
2 cups oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
Pinch of sea salt
Note: This recipe yields a lot of granola, but only enough custard for a few large parfaits, and possibly a handful of small ones. If you are planning to make this dessert for a larger crowd, double the custard recipe.
Prepare the custard:
In a small saucepan, cook maple syrup over medium heat for around 8 minutes, until reduced to around 1/2 cup. Remove from heat and set aside. Place a mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl, and set aside.
In a medium bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks. Place cornstarch in a medium saucepan and then slowly whisk in milk mixture until thoroughly combined. Add maple syrup.
Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until mixtures begins to bubble up and thicken; this should take around 7 minutes. Once mixture just begins to boil, cook for another minute, stirring nonstop. Remove from heat, and pour into sieve. Push through using a rubber spatula. Let cool directly in the bowl, or to speed up cooling time, transfer to a shallow glass container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled.
Prepare the granola: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thinly slice and then chop the apple into small pieces. Arrange on a parchment-lined or very lightly greased cookie sheet or shallow pan, and bake for around 10-12 minutes, until apple pieces are fairly dry and the edges of some of the pieces begin to turn golden. Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining granola ingredients and stir thoroughly. Add apple pieces. Transfer to a large, shallow baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Stir, then bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown; make sure to check on the granola frequently, as it can burn quickly. Let granola cool directly in the pan.
Assemble: Scoop alternating layers of custard and granola into glass jars or bowls, making sure to finish with a layer of granola on top. (You can make several parfaits, or a giant one in a large jar.) Serve right away, or store in the refrigerator. Store remaining granola at room temperature in an airtight container or ziplock bag.