Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

Fresh berries, whipped mascarpone, bits of sweet and crispy almond crumble… this is what summer is all about. In my book, summer desserts should be simple (ingredients like these don’t need much) and that’s exactly what these parfaits are. Simple, and delicious.

It’s no secret that I’m a big baby when it comes to summer heat. We live without air conditioning, here, and you’ve undoubtedly heard me whining on numerous occasions about how hot it gets. There are a few things that make it bearable, though, and fresh fruits and berries are one of them. All the heat, humidity, and sweat-soaked days I complain about are what make perfectly sweet summer berries possible. I get sun burnt, and strawberries turn red. Seems like a decent trade-off, now that I think about it.

Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

These parfaits are a prime way to enjoy those fruits and berries, and keep cool while doing so. They come together in a pinch (all the components can be prepped in advance, so all you need to do is assemble and serve), making them perfect for serving a crowd, or just throwing together for a no-fuss dessert any day of the week. And if you have any fourth of July celebrations planned, they come in conveniently patriotic colors — bonus!

Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

I should probably warn you, the almond crumble portion of these is borderline dangerous. And when I say dangerous, I mean addictive. I stole the recipe straight from this Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream I made last year, because it deserves another moment in the spotlight. (The recipe intentionally makes more than you’ll need, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll be munching on it when no one is looking. Or maybe when they are looking. Or pretty much every chance you can get.)

Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

What’s your favorite way to use fresh summer berries? These parfaits are up there for me, right alongside making homemade sorbet (which is pretty much the best way to keep cool ever). Let me know in the comments how you like to use them, because I plan on going berry picking soon and bringing home as many pounds as I can!

 Yum

Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • For the almond crumble:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 TBSP unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract


  • For the parfaits:
  • 2-3 cups fresh berries (I used strawberries, blueberries, and rasperries, but you can use whatever is sweetest)
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 TBSP honey, to taste
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond crumble
  • Optional: lemon zest, or small sprigs of mint or basil, for garnish
Instructions
  1. For the crumble topping:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or sil-pat.
  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add the butter, and drizzle in the almond extract. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture starts to look like wet sand. Mix in the rolled oats and sliced almonds.
  4. Spread into an even layer on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden. Keep a close eye on it to keep it from burning. Remove from the oven and let cool, then break apart into bite-sized pieces. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature. Crumble can be made up to a week in advance.
  5. For the parfaits:
  6. Wash and dry the berries. If using strawberries, hull and slice them.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the mascarpone, cream, honey, and vanilla. (I suggest starting with just 1 TBSP honey, and adding more to taste.) Mix until smooth and fluffy -- be careful not to over-whip! I like to use a handheld whisk for this, instead of a mixer. If the cream looks lumpy or curdled, you've gone too far.
  8. In jars, layer the whipped macarpone, fruit, and almond crumble. Top with a dollop of the mascarpone cream, and (optionally) garnish with a little freshly grated lemon zest, or a small sprig of mint or basil.

 

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4 Responses to Summer Berry Parfaits with Almond Crumble and Whipped Mascarpone

  1. Jennie @onesweetmess June 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    I don’t think I could survive without my air conditioning. You are brave. These fresh berry parfaits are perfect for summer.

    • Willow Arlen June 25, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

      Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone survived before AC. I know there’s the whole adaptation thing we’re supposedly so good at, but me? Not so much. Berry parfaits and frozen desserts to the rescue!

  2. shannon @ a periodic table June 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

    okay, here’s what: you live in a house without air conditioning. Let’s explore that phrase for a minute. basically, you have zero respite from the heat and you are at the mercy of summer temperatures for months at a time.

    you complain all you want, girl.

    • Willow Arlen June 28, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

      Haha, thanks for the permission, Shannon! To be honest, we do have a small window unit in the bedroom, so we do have somewhere to escape to when the heat gets really unbearable. It isn’t all bad, but not having regular AC does prevent me from doing any cooking (or especially baking) through most of the summer, which to me is like torture. We finally broke down and bought a grill last year, though, with a side burner for boiling water or sauteeing things, so that’s going to be a huge help this year. (Really, I don’t have anything to complain about, I’m just a big summer-heat wuss. :P)

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