I have to go to the doctor today, and it's going to be hotter than Hades out there. I needed something to reward myself with when I get back. These lovely treats will be waiting for me in the fridge. I may eat more than one!
This recipe started out as a Citrus-y Parfait but I absolutely HAD to include my favorite cherries -- tis the season for rainier cherries - plump, pretty and perfectly delicious -- and I'm so glad I did because the citrus bite is nicely mellowed by the soft cherry flavor.
Parfait is a French word meaning, literally, PERFECT. In France, it usually means a frozen dessert made of sugar syrup, egg, and cream. Here in the U.S. we use the term to mean a glass or bowl filled with layered stuff. Not necessarily pudding or fruit or gelatin. Not necessarily cold. We're really good at co-opting food and turning it into something else. :)
There are tons of parfait recipes out there, but I opted to just make up my own using all my favorite flavors.
As I've said MANY times, I'm a lazy git, and I usually go for the one-dot recipes. For the layers of citrus in my parfait, I used lime and lemon filling from Private Selection. But if you want to make your own, I've included an easy recipe below.
There are several layers in this parfait, all made separately:
- the graham cracker crust, similar to pie crust but with my own flavor addition
- diced fruit
- cream cheese whipped cream layers
- pudding / curd layers
Don't be put off by that, this is a really easy dessert. The hardest part is not licking the spoon.
PERFECT SUMMER CITRUS PARFAIT
Makes 4-6 parfait depending on the size of the container
Graham Cracker crumb layer:
I think this is the best part. You can mash up your own graham crackers, or buy them already crushed. Stir together with a spoon:
* 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
* 1/3 cup melted butter or margarine
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 3 tbsp almond pie filling or almond paste. Substitute almond extract if need be.
Cream cheese / whipped topping:
Mix together in a bowl (mine still had tiny lumps but I didn't care!)
* 4 oz. cream cheese
* 1 cup whipped topping
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 1 tsp orange extract
* 2 tbsp syrup / juice from mandarin oranges
Lemon and Key Lime filling:
As I said above, I like to take the easy way. I found jars of Private Selection Key Lime and Lemon fillings at my grocery store. I highly recommend them, but if you can't find them, or just prefer to make your own, this recipe was given to me by my friend Linda:
Mix together well
* 4 Lg egg yolks
* 1/2 lime juice or lemon juice
* 1 tsp grated lime or lemond zest
* 3/4 cup heavy cream
* 14 oz Eagle condensed milk
Since this is for key lime pie, the instructions are to bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. You could then pour this mixture into a jar and refrigerate. There's also my SiL's recipe for Microwave Lemon Curd that would work nicely here.
Dice 6-8 ounces mandarin oranges, cherries, or other fruit of your choice.
Ready, Set, Layer!
Spoon layers of all ingredients into glasses or cups. Graham cracker mixture can be used on the bottom, but also layered throughout.
Top with a layer of the cream cheese/whipped topping, and a few slices of fruit. Serve immediately or set in refrigerator until ready to eat.
I used champagne glasses for my parfait. I recommend a glass or cup that's not too tall and not too narrow. Too narrow and you'll have trouble getting your layers in. Too tall and you won't be able to finish eating all this sooper rich stuff. :)