Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Parfaits

Our return to food reality was a little rough. After a weekend with a wine glass that seemed to be permanently affixed to my right hand, delivering a constant iv drip of various elixirs, and meticulously prepared dishes in dainty small plate form, we came home to a house with no foie gras, no pork belly, and a refrigerator with a jug full of apple juice.

What should we do for lunch? my husband and I asked one another.

We found ourselves eating leftover cold pizza that we permitted the children to enjoy with the babysitter. And then we laughed at the disparity in food experiences.

It took me a little while to get back in my cooking groove. I have to admit, after Pebble Beach Food & Wine, I found it a bit defeating. How would my cooking ever compare? So I started off slowly. I believe omelets were my first dish to reentry.

But desserts were easier.

Many of the sweet offerings at the tastings were transformed into more portable form – easier for both creator and eater. Mini parfaits, if you will. So while I was not feeling up to baking that hunk of a cheesecake my husband has been craving, I realized I would do it Iuzzini style (well, sort of) and make Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Parfaits.

Sweet macerated berries topped a velutinous whipped cream with cream cheese laced with fresh lemon curd. Crumbled cinnamon graham cracker cookies. Oh, you’ve got to dig your spoon into this.

Don’t worry, I’ve got my cooking groove back. After a spoonful of this, I will be just fine.

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Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Parfaits

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes (including berry prep)

There's nothing better than sinking your spoon into layers of sweet berries, smooth cream and crunchy graham cracker crumbs laced with lemon curd. If you have a little extra time, try my easy recipe for homemade lemon curd.

Ingredients:

1 cup sliced strawberries
1 cup raspberries (frozen will work, too)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 oz 1/3 Less Fat "Neufchâtel" Philly Cream Cheese
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd
10-12 cinnamon graham crackers, crushed into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions:

In a glass bowl, combine the strawberries, raspberries, sugar and lemon juice and stir well. Gently press the berries with a masher to release some juices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 2 hours (or overnight).

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a wire whisk, beat the heavy cream, cream cheese and confectioners sugar until it turns to stiff peaks. Transfer to an airtight container and chill until ready to assemble.

When the berries have softened and released their juices, place about 3 tablespoons of berries and some juice in the bottom of 6 8-oz serving cups. Add 1/4 cup of whipped cream mixture to each and smooth the tops. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon curd and spread over top to the edges. Place about 2 tablespoons of crushed graham crackers on top. Repeat with another whipped cream, lemon curd and graham cracker layer. Top with one more layer of whipped cream mixture. If making ahead, cover each parfait glass with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator. This can be done up to one day ahead.

Before serving, drizzle remaining berry sauce on top of each parfait.

Adapted from Blackberry, Lemon and Gingersnap Cheesecake Pudding, Bon Appetit, August 2010, via Epicurious.

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by Liren Baker on April 19, 2012

26 Responses to “Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Parfaits”

  1. Brenda (Kookt!) April 19, 2012 @ 7:45 am (#
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    This recipee I will save! The pictures are great too, wanna eat it!

  2. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com April 19, 2012 @ 7:45 am (#
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    That looks mega delish!! I love strawberry cheesecakes & parfait anyways ;)

  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 19, 2012 @ 8:22 am (#
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    Oh yum, I’d like a spoonful for breakfast, please!

  4. Katie @ Epicurean Mom April 19, 2012 @ 1:25 pm (#
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    Lemon and Berries are the absolute best combo! I can see why your cooking groove is back! I think this just jump started mine! :)

  5. Denise April 19, 2012 @ 1:28 pm (#
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    Gorgeous! Wish I could come over, because I would like one immediately!

  6. Jennifer (Delicieux) April 19, 2012 @ 2:18 pm (#
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    Oh Liren, your parfaits look amazing. Especially those strawberries, I could eat a big bowl of them. I’m not so patiently waiting for strawberry season to start here properly as I just adore strawberries, especially when they are perfectly ripe.

  7. Rikki April 19, 2012 @ 4:52 pm (#
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    How amazing does this look!? The combination of berries, lemon and graham cracker crumbles is making me drool! Haha, love it! [:

  8. Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings April 19, 2012 @ 7:32 pm (#
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    i kinda know what you are saying about getting your groove back after a weekend of gourmandizing. Sometimes, after reading others’ food blogs, I feel that way – a bit defeated (how can my cooking compare?).

    Anyway, I’d love to have a glass of this parfait, please!

  9. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts April 19, 2012 @ 8:54 pm (#
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    What a gorgeous treat! Glad to see you are back in the grove. It can be hard after a few days of indulging!

  10. Priscilla - She's Cookin' April 19, 2012 @ 9:38 pm (#
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    haha, yes, were do you start when there’s no foie gras or pork belly! I’ll take one of these beauties – an excellent start IMO :)

  11. Susan April 20, 2012 @ 5:22 am (#
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    So glad you’ve got your groove back! These parfaits are gorgeous! Can’t wait for strawberry season here in New England!

  12. Sandra's Easy Cooking April 20, 2012 @ 5:23 pm (#
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    I already commented..this laptop getting slower and slower!:))
    Glad you are back especially with this beautiful dessert..my kids of dessert!
    Got to try it!

  13. Suzanne April 21, 2012 @ 6:14 am (#
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    Love this simple yet elegant enough for company dessert. Glad you enjoyed your trip and are back in your groove.

  14. Jamie April 22, 2012 @ 1:28 am (#
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    I find it harder and harder to cook, period. But preparing dessert is always easy and I have, in fact, been dreaming of something similar (maybe not so pretty, though). What a wonderful, summery cool dessert and so elegant. The flavors are fabulous! You have inspired me!

  15. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious April 22, 2012 @ 1:57 am (#
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    What a beautiful looking dessert. And just in time for spring! Or summer I should say. It was hitting 98 in LA the other day.

  16. Simone April 22, 2012 @ 5:49 am (#
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    I can see how these desserts would get your cooking groove back! I almost feel like running into the kitchen to make this! Looks amazing!

  17. Monet April 22, 2012 @ 3:58 pm (#
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    Just stunning! Thank you for sharing. Your post has whetted my appetite for dessert, and now I need to get creative and make dinner. I hope you have a wonderful start to your week!

  18. Erika - The Teenage Taste April 24, 2012 @ 4:08 am (#
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    I wish I had the patience to make parfaits – I’d probably end up tossing all of the “layers” into a bowl and going to town!

    These parfaits really do look delicious though! Love the cheesecake filling idea!

  19. Erin April 25, 2012 @ 7:35 am (#
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    This looks divine! Also, I love your plaid spoons…where did you get them??

  20. Platanos, Mangoes and Me! April 25, 2012 @ 9:52 am (#
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    Truly and elegant desert….

  21. Kristi Rimkus April 25, 2012 @ 7:23 pm (#
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    I can see this sweet treat will be my next go-to dessert!

  22. CJ at Food Stories May 4, 2012 @ 7:41 am (#
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    I found your site on foodblogs.com and thought I’d stop by and check it out. Just subscribed to your feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

  23. Renee May 12, 2012 @ 5:52 am (#
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    Love this!!! But one question- why low fat cream cheese? Would it work with full fat? Thanks much.

    • liren replied: — May 12th, 2012 @ 10:16 am

      Hi Renee, I used the low fat cream cheese for two reasons – (1) I figure that if I could save total fat content without compromising flavor, that is always a plus and (2) I do like the texture of the Neufchâtel by Philly Cream Cheese – it blends easily and I don’t have to wait long for it to soften. But, of course, if you want to use full fat, that will work. It will be richer and definitely delicious! Hope you enjoy it :)

  24. Donna September 10, 2012 @ 5:54 am (#
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    An amazing sub for the cinnamon graham crackers is…speculoos….(Biscoff in the US?) crumbles….Try it!!

    • liren replied: — September 12th, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      Perfect substitute, Donna! I will definitely try it!

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