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Red, White and Blue Parfaits

Posted by Denise on July 4, 2013

red white and blue parfaits single
Cool and creamy with layers of fresh fruit, our Red, White and Blue Parfaits are perfect for Independence Day or anytime during hot summer days!

When I was thinking about a patriotic dessert to make for America’s Independence Day celebration, I considered a number of different types of desserts. I really wanted something cool and refreshing since it’s been so incredibly hot and sticky lately. And it has to be light, not super sweet and did I say cool? Given all of these parameters, what better to make than a fresh fruit parfait?

I could use yogurt for the layers, but I decided to go the extra step and make a custard for the filling. It has more body and sweetness than yogurt, a soft bed for our luscious fruit layers. I used a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for the custard, modifying it very slightly so it wasn’t as thick.  The berries were simply macerated with a little sugar, but we relied mostly on their natural sweetness to offset the sweet custard. The combination turned out to be great together. The cool and creamy custard and the lightly sweetened crushed fresh fruit. Oh, so perfect!

Alternate the layers, starting with some of the custard, then adding a layer of fruit, another layer of custard, another layer of fruit, ending with a layer of custard. You can decorate the top of the parfait with whatever you want. I chose to use whole fruit. The parfaits were a huge hit with our testers.


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Red, White and Blue Parfaits


 red white and blue parfaits ingredients

 Red, White and Blue Parfaits ingredients



Makes enough for 6-8 medium parfaits



3 ½

cups whole milk or 2 cups 2% milk and 1 ½ cups regular cream


cup white sugar


tablespoons cornstarch




large egg yolks


tablespoons butter, cut into ½” slices, chilled


teaspoons vanilla extract



1.  In a heavy pan over medium heat, warm 3 cups of the milk (or milk and cream, whichever you are using) until just simmering. While the milk is heating, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together into a medium bowl.  

2.  Whisk the remaining ½ cup of milk/cream and the egg yolks into the sugar mixture until it is smooth. Remove the milk from the heat and dip out 1 cup of the hot milk. While whisking constantly, slowly add the hot milk to the egg/sugar mixture to temper the eggs. Then, whisking constantly, pour the milk/egg/sugar mixture back into the rest of the hot milk in the pan.

rwb parfaits adding eggs raw custard

3.  Return the pan to the stove and cook, stirring constantly (still!), until milk mixture is very thick and bubbling, about 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract until the butter is completely melted and mixed in completely. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer. Lightly press it through where needed to get a smooth. Press a lightly greased parchment paper on top of the custard to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

 cooking custard rwb parfaits adding butter

parchment paper on custard surface


4.  While the custard is cooling and about an hour before putting the parfaits together, add 2 tablespoons to the blueberries (more if you like them sweeter) and lightly mash them. Do the same thing with the strawberries and set them aside until needed. When ready to put the parfaits together, start with a small dollop of custard in the bottom of a clear glass. Add a layer of the prepared blueberries, then add another layer of custard. The glass should be approximately 2/3 to ¾ of the way full. Add a layer of prepared strawberries and top the glass with another layer of custard, mounding it well. Add whatever garnish you want. Repeat with the other glasses. Chill and serve cold.


 macerating strawberries

 trio of rwb parfaits 


red white and blue parfaits trio


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