Velvet heart shaped boxes filled with decadent chocolates may be the treat du jour on Valentine’s Day, but I prefer something I can dig a spoon into. Something rich, creamy and a little hedonistic (minus the sugar bomb that would put me in a coma negating the rest of the evening’s plans). Something beyond a raspberry creme filled Russell Stover’s or a dish of vanilla. A confection complimented by a glass of bubbly. Perhaps a Amaretto Chocolate Mousse or Chantilly Berry Parfait, anyone?
This parfait meets all of those criteria — and then some. And it’s not really cooking, it’s more like assembling. BONUS! To start, use really ripe strawberries and sprinkle them with just a tablespoon of sugar to macerate. The berries give off a luscious syrup which will be critical later in the recipe.
Next, whip together some mascarpone and greek yogurt (for a slight tang) with powdered sugar and almond extract (you can use vanilla if you don’t have almond). This makes the smoothest, most indulgent chantilly-esque cream you’ve ever had and frankly, I prefer it to a regular chantilly cream (made from whipping cream and powdered sugar) because this has staying power. It won’t wilt or deflate and therefore can be made in advance which is a selling point to me. Because mascarpone tends to be on the stiffer side when chilled, take the parfaits out of the fridge at least half an hour before serving to yield that soft creamy texture.
Back to the parfait — place some chocolate wafer cookies in a sandwich baggie and give it a few whacks with a meat mallet or rolling pin to make cookie crumbs. Begin the assembly.
Start with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs, followed by several spoons of strawberry and a bit of mascarpone cream.
And then do it all again. The syrup seeps into the cookie, creating a fudgy, creamy, and very spoonable bite. Lordy! Your Valentine won’t be disappointed and neither will you. Promise!
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Chantilly Berry Parfait
- 1 cup strawberries hulled and diced + 4 strawberries for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract can substitute vanilla
- 12 chocolate wafer cookies
- 1/4 cup almonds sliced
- special equipment: pastry bag and star tip - optional
- In a small bowl combine the strawberries and regular sugar. Toss to combine and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, greek yogurt, powdered sugar and almond extract. Use a hand mixer on medium high speed to combine and whip the ingredients together. Continue to whip until light and fluffy. Set aside.
- Place 10 cookies in a zip top sandwich baggie and seal it. Reserve the other two cookies for garnish. Use a rolling pin or the flat side of a meat tenderizer to crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and lay the almonds out on a cookie sheet. Cook until lightly toasted and golden, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
Assemble the parfaits
- In a clear parfait glass or wine glass with a wide mouth, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the crushed cookies. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of the berries and pipe about 1" of mascarpone cream on top of the berries. Repeat with cookies, berries and cream. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted almonds, strawberry and a chocolate wafer.
- Cover and refrigerate. Remove parfaits from the refrigerator 30 minutes to an hour before serving so the cream softens a bit.
The parfaits can be made several hours in advance or even the night before.
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