Quick, no-bake, and cool
Ready for retro cool? Back in the day, parfaits were the “company” dessert. And why not? They look fancy, taste great, and are easy to make.
Best of all, you can serve them straight from the fridge, so they make the perfect end to a summer meal.
No need to worry about dessert for your next dinner party. Just chill out.
Recipe: Blueberry-Lemon Parfait
“Parfait” is French for “perfect.” Which this dessert is, in the summer heat.
In France, cooks often make parfaits with a custard-like mixture of cooked cream, eggs, and sugar. In the US, parfaits are usually a simpler, no-cook preparation. They typically feature layers of fruit, whipped cream or ice cream, and something crunchy like crumbled cookies, nuts, or granola. They resemble a trifle or fool (see our recipe for a Fruit Fool here).
We’re going with whipped cream, which we flavor with lemon. That creates the perfect (parfait?) background for blueberries, which get along famously with lemons. Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the dessert maven in our household, and this recipe is her creation.
Prep time for this dish is about 20 minutes. You can prepare the individual parfaits ahead of time, or assemble them right before serving. (The latter option is our preference – and it’s a necessity if you use ice cream). Assembly time is about 5 minutes.
This recipe yields 4 servings. You won’t have leftovers, but any spare bits will keep for about a day if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- 12 ounces ginger snaps
- 16 ounces fresh blueberries
- 16 ounces heavy cream
- 1 to 2 lemons (zest and juice; see Notes)
- ¼ teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- ~8 tablespoons granulated sugar (or to taste; see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- lemon twists for garnish (optional)
- Crumble the ginger snaps into a bowl or grind them in a mini food processor. (We like to use a mix of ground and crumbled.) Set aside.
- Wash and stem the blueberries. Then let them drain while you whip the cream. (We like to place the washed berries in a large colander placed over the sink.)
- In a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, begin whipping the cream. Once the cream has begun to form soft peaks, gradually add the lemon juice and zest, the lemon extract (if using), the granulated sugar, and the vanilla extract. Whip briefly, then taste. Adjust the amount of lemon juice and/or sugar if necessary. Continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks (but don’t overwhip).
- Layer the ingredients into serving glasses: You can use one or more layers of each ingredient. For the pictures in this post, we started by spooning an inch or so of whipped cream into each serving glass, then added a mixed layer of blueberries and ginger snaps. Then we spooned in another layer of whipped cream, and topped it all off with more blueberries.
- You can garnish each glass with a lemon twist, if desired. Then serve and enjoy!
- You can use homemade ginger snaps if you have them on hand. Otherwise, packaged ones work fine.
- One or two lemons? That depends on your taste. We like to use the zest and juice from two – because we like fairly intense lemon flavor. If you prefer something a bit more understated, use just one.
- Same thing with the lemon extract. It enhances the lemon flavor, which you may or may not like.
- Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. Eight tablespoons will yield a flavor that’s sweetish, but not too sweet. You may prefer to go with more sugar, especially if you use 2 lemons.
- Don’t feel like whipping cream? You can substitute ice cream if you prefer. Or maybe sorbet (we haven’t tried that, but it sounds like a fun idea).
- If you use ice cream, you could of course top the whole deal off with whipped cream.
- Or top the dessert with liqueur.
- Instead of whipped or ice cream, you could use yogurt. If you serve that with granola and fruit, it sounds like breakfast to us (a breakfast with about as many calories as dessert – not that there’s anything wrong with that).
- We really like the taste of ginger snaps in this dish. But you could substitute nuts, such as toasted walnuts or pecans. Or use another type of cookie. Or granola.
- Blueberries are our favorite in this dish, but any fruit works.
- Bottom-line: This is a dessert you can play with. If something sounds good to you, it probably will be.
Cool, Calm, and Confected
“This dessert sends a cold chill down my spine,” I said. “In a good way.”
“Thanks berry much,” said Mrs K R. “You’re the parfait gentleman.”
“Not to mention a cool guy,” I said. “Which isn’t easy in this heat.”
“When life hands you lemons,” said Mrs K R. “Make dessert.”
That’s my Mrs K R. She keeps a cool head.
You may also enjoy reading about:
No-Cook Fruit Fool
No-Churn Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate
Root Beer Floats
Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Cdrust
Blueberry Flaugnarde (flan)
Or check out the index for more