Thursday, July 4, 2013

Raspberry Mini Trifle Parfait

Two Raspberry Mini Trifle Parfaits
"Everybody Likes Parfait" --Donkey in Shrek

Recipe by Robin

According to Donkey in the first Shrek movie, “Parfait's gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!” With the hot summer upon us, I’ve been remembering childhood trips to the ice cream store for parfaits. The classic French parfait is a flavored frozen custard of cream, eggs, and sugar. Because of its fat content, French parfait can be made without an ice cream maker, as long as the cook stirs it several times during the freezing process. In the US, parfait is typically soft ice cream layered with fruit, fruit sauce, or even jello, and usually topped with whipped cream. In recent years puddings, custard, nuts, and even tapioca have found their way into parfaits. Inspired by my recent Trifle experiment, I made this parfait with crushed almond biscuits, berries, Bird’s custard and a splash of Grand Marnier or orange juice.

Four Parfaits in the Works, two each Strawberry and Raspberry
Use Sliced Strawberries or Whole Raspberries
For my crumbled cookie layer I used original flavor Almondinas, essentially a thin-sliced not-too-sweet biscotti made with almonds, whole wheat flour, and raisins, but without oil or shortening. These crispy biscuits, from Grandma Dina’s 1929 recipe, are easy to crumble, but you could substitute regular biscotti or any other crisp cookie that you like. Instead of Grand Marnier, you could use Cointreau, Triple Sec, sherry, rum, brandy, or whatever else you have on hand. Use orange juice for kids or alcohol-free folks. Raspberries (traditional for trifles) fit into parfait dishes best, but chopped strawberries or mixed berries, perhaps slightly sweetened, work well too.

Two Parfaits with Custard, Raspberries, Almond Cookies, Grand Marnier
Parfaits Ready to Chill
You’ll need some sort of parfait or sundae dishes to best showcase this dessert. They are hard to find in sets smaller than 12, and how many of us need (or can store) a dozen dishes? Here is a link for a set of four dishes, or try scouring your local second-hand stores like I did. Any sort of tall glass will work in a pinch, as long as it’s wide enough at the bottom to accommodate a spoon. This recipe takes only about 20 minutes to make, but allow about 3 – 8 hours for it to chill after constructing it. Happy summer!

Parfait topped with Whipped Cream, with Spoon, Ready to Eat
Best Thing on the Planet? You Decide!
Raspberry Mini Trifle Parfait
makes 4 servings (~1 cup each)

2 tbsp. Bird’s custard
1 tbsp. sugar or other sweetener
1 pint 2% fat milk
~ 3 cups raspberries
8 or more Almondina cookies, or 4 biscotti
~4 tbsp. Grand Marnier or orange juice
Whipped cream for serving

Rinse raspberries and let dry, reserving one perfect berry to top each parfait.

Make the Bird’s custard: Mix Bird’s custard with sugar or sweetener in heat-proof bowl. Mix in 1 – 2 tbsp. milk taken from 1 pint, and stir vigorously to make a smooth paste. Pour remaining milk from pint to heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until almost boiling (don’t scald).

Pour hot milk into custard paste in bowl a little at a time, stirring constantly. Stir until well combined; the success of your custard depends upon thorough mixing.

Return custard to saucepan, and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Scooping out a spoonful of Parfait
"Parfaits are Delicious" --Donkey
Assemble parfaits: Put about 4 Almondinas (or 2 biscotti) into a plastic bag and gently smash up with hammer or mallet. Divide smashed cookies into bottom of 4 parfait dishes.

Sprinkle each parfait cookie layer with about 1½ tsp. Grand Marnier, or more if you like.

Add half of the raspberries to the parfaits, distributing evenly between the 4 dishes.

Top each parfait with ¼ cup of custard.

Repeat layers for each parfait: crushed cookies, Grand Marnier, raspberries, and remaining custard.

Put parfaits in refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 3 and up to 8 hours. After about 8 hours the cookies will start to get soggy and custard watery, so eat them promptly.

To serve: Pipe prepared whipped cream onto parfaits (or used canned aerosol cream), mounding up a spiral of whipped cream on top of each parfait. Top each parfait with a reserved berry. Serve with a smile.

Scooping out a bite of perfect parfait
In French Parfait means Perfect


  1. Love this! I want to make it for my kids. Not sure I'll find time, but it's a great goal!

  2. Yes...I second that...would love to make this with my kiddos!

  3. I think kids will like making this, especially the crushing-the-cookies part! You can get Bird's custard at Cost Plus, or substitute any kind of pudding.