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.
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!
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.)
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!
- 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
- For the crumble topping:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or sil-pat.
- 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.
- 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.
- For the parfaits:
- Wash and dry the berries. If using strawberries, hull and slice them.
- 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.
- 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.