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…

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.

Lemon-Berry Cheesecake Parfaits

Serves 6 | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 3 hours

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.


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


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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  1. Donna

    An amazing sub for the cinnamon graham crackers is…speculoos….(Biscoff in the US?) crumbles….Try it!!

  2. Renee

    Love this!!! But one question- why low fat cream cheese? Would it work with full fat? Thanks much.

    • liren

      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 :)

  3. CJ at Food Stories

    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!

  4. Erika - The Teenage Taste

    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!

  5. Monet

    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!

  6. Simone

    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!

  7. Jamie

    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!

  8. Suzanne

    Love this simple yet elegant enough for company dessert. Glad you enjoyed your trip and are back in your groove.

  9. Sandra's Easy Cooking

    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!

  10. Susan

    So glad you’ve got your groove back! These parfaits are gorgeous! Can’t wait for strawberry season here in New England!

  11. Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings

    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!

  12. Rikki

    How amazing does this look!? The combination of berries, lemon and graham cracker crumbles is making me drool! Haha, love it! [:

  13. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    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.

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