Happy National Strawberry Parfait Day!

In case you didn’t notice, strawberry season is NOW. We sell strawberries all year long, but there’s nothing like the just-picked, sweeter-than-candy goodness that is in season for but a flash right now in Long Island and nearby. These strawberries are so ethereal and otherworldly and perfect that it feels almost sacrilege to do anything besides eat them slowly, in giant quantities.

But if, like me, you feel it necessary to bring home a ridiculous abundance of strawberries, you might make good use of them in a trusty strawberry parfait.

Parfait is French for “perfect.” It was in 19th century France that chefs began layering coffee, sugar syrup, eggs, and cream. They assembled their new desserts in tall, clear glasses so that the layers would create a lovely, striped visual effect, and a great textural experience for the lucky diner dipping their spoon into the tasty depths.  Thus was the parfait born.

The composition of your parfait is an adventure—a blank culinary canvas upon which to unleash awesome flavors. Choose ingredients that make you smile, layer them up, repeat, and serve. Your breakfast, snack, or dessert just got simultaneously more fun and more elegant.

Keep in mind that a parfait need not resemble that soggy cup for sale by the checkout at the coffee shop. Fill it with goodness. Make it sing. Here are some ideas, but they offer just a beginning; with little practice, you’ll be coming  up with something a whole lot better.

Good morning, sunshine! parfait: Make strata of sliced strawberries, your favorite yogurt (I’m currently digging Siggi’s Icelandic Yogurt),  granola, and preserves (La Trinquelinette Strawberry Jam from Burgundy is unquestionably incredible). Sprinkle with almond slivers.

Medi’ strawberry parfait (pictured): Make a tower of tangy Greek yogurt, honey, pistachio bits, and strawberry halves; garnish with a mint sprig for good measure.

Strawberry shortcake parfait: Layer biscuits (made from a mix, or pick up some from Fairway’s bakery), fresh strawberries, and whipped cream; repeat. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Pie parfait: Have some leftover strawberry rhubarb pie? (Ha!) Layer it in parfait glasses with strawberry ice cream and crumbled graham cracker; whipped cream is optional, but highly recommended.

Strawberry chocolate pudding parfait: Layer white and dark chocolate pudding and quartered strawberries. Serve dusted with cocoa.

Strawberry peanut magic: Mix Fairway fresh-ground peanut butter with cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar.  Add the peanut butter mixture to a parfait glass with ribbons of chopped peanuts, crumbled peanut butter cookies, vanilla or chocolate pudding, and sliced strawberries.

Strawberry trifle parfait: Make ribbons of cake (angel food is perfect), sliced strawberries, clotted cream. To with a big heap of whipped cream. Refrigerate overnight. Serve this chilly treat on a hot day.

 

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