Introduction: Introduction: Grand Marnier Parfait

Whenever company’s coming for dinner and I want dessert to be the grand finale, my go-to recipe is Grand Marnier Parfait. It has layers – one is intensely chocolaty and the other is like orange push-up ice cream for grown-ups. It’s as easy to make as ice cream but there’s no need to freeze and mix, then refreeze and remix.

It shows off luscious layers served in classic soda-fountain ice cream glasses (If you still have them - mine went into a garage sale) or balloon-style wine goblets. The first spoonful makes you close your eyes to taste – and feel – the smooth custard with orange-flavored Grand Marnier and chocolate mousse melt in your mouth. Your guests fall silent, contemplating each bite. And every spoonful just gets better.

Don’t get me wrong – you don’t actually need company to enjoy this dessert, but be careful about those midnight cravings that lead you to your refrigerator!

In this Instructable I’m going to share my recipe for this frozen delight and show that while it takes some time to put it all together, it’s not hard to make. I use wine goblets but I only have six, so these make very generous portions. It's your choice - make eight portions or even more - your guests will still be impressed.

Step 1: Tools and Ingredients


  • hand mixer
  • two mixing bowls for the chocolate mousse and orange custard
  • bowl for whipping the cream
  • measuring spoons
  • measuring cups
  • rubber spatulas - be sure they're heat-proof
  • palette knife to fold egg whites into the mousse
  • double boiler (I use a metal or pyrex bowl that sits in a pan with an inch of simmering water)
  • container for saving egg whites
  • six tall clear glasses – any style you find in your kitchen cupboard


Orange custard

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier
  • 2 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled

Chocolate mousse

  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon rum - dark, white, spiced - whatever’s on hand

Step 2: Start With the Custard: Separate Egg Yolks and Whites

Separate 8 eggs - put the yolks in a mixing bowl and save the egg whites in a plastic container. I use the whites to make healthy and delicious brownies, but that’s a different Instructable.

Step 3: Mix Together the Ingredients in a Bowl

Add the two whole eggs, the cup of sugar and the half cup of wine to the 8 yolks. The fun part is breaking all those yolks you worked so hard to separate from the whites. Go ahead and pop them with the spatula.

Step 4: Blend With Hand Mixer

Beat ingredients together until smooth. The mixture will be foamy. Since the wine bottle is open, take a break and pour yourself a small glass while you review the rest of the instructions and let the foam subside. Or, if you’re keen to carry on, pour the mixture into the double boiler.

Step 5: Gently Heat the Custard Mixture

I say "Gently heat the custard" instead of "Cook the custard" because the alternative to a custard is a pan of sweet scrambled eggs. The stove should be on a low heat so the water barely simmers. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture and scrape the bottom often. Keep it up until it starts to thicken and leaves a ribbon when stirred.

Step 6: Add Grand Marnier and Whipped Cream

The custard must be cool before you carry on. While you're waiting, whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add the half cup of Grand Marnier to the custard and mix well. Then fold in the whipped cream and gently mix everything together. Voila! Pop this custard in the fridge while you make the chocolate mousse.

Step 7: Put the Chocolate Mousse Ingredients Together

Melt the chocolate. I use the same double boiler - it only needs a quick rinse - and set the pan over the still-warm water. The chocolate will melt while you separate the eggs but won't be hot enough to scramble them. This time, put the eggs whites in a bowl because you'll be using them. Add the yolks to the melted chocolate. Stir the mixture until it is smooth. Mix in the rum. You don't need the hand mixer - a rubber spatula will work fine.

Step 8: Fold in Egg Whites

The chocolate mixture will look glossy when you've mixed it enough. Beat the egg whites until they form a stiff peak. Then, using the palette knife, fold the egg whites into the chocolate. Be gentle - the air in the foamy egg whites is what makes this a mousse instead of cake batter.

Step 9: The Assembly Ceremony

Line up the goblets in a single line. Spooning in the custard with them clustered is asking for a disaster to happen - and you'll be concentrating on getting the custard into, as opposed to on the outside of, the glass. There's more custard than mousse, so be generous. Once you've apportioned the custard, pour in the mousse. If I'm still feeling creative I may try to do some layering, but the yellow topped with chocolate is just fine.

Step 10: Chill, Then Freeze

The parfaits need to chill overnight for the flavors to meld. I suppose you can eat them just chilled, but my big secret is to freeze them. Just remember to take the glasses out of the freezer about ten or fifteen minutes before serving. The texture will be a bit more firm than ice cream, but this just means it'll take longer for a bite to melt in your mouth. Go ahead - enjoy!

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