What is parfait exactly? Parfait is one of those desserts that is most often either misunderstood or underutilized. Parfait is defined as a) a dessert made with cream, eggs, sugar and flavoring frozen together and served in a tall glass or b) a dessert made of several layers of different flavors of ice cream or ices, variously garnished and served in a tall glass.
We also see yogurt with granola and fruit being labeled as “parfait” as a lighter alternative to the ice cream version. I have always loved parfait, so when I received some Snøfrisk containers from my friends over at Jarlsberg USA I instantly had the urge to make some using this wonderful product.
Snøfrisk is a Norwegian white, unripened spreadable cream cheese that is made with 80% goat’s milk and 20% cow’s cream. Mild in flavor, but still with a delicious tangy taste, it is suitable in everything from desserts to savory foods such as sauces and dips. The cheese is especially great when spread on our popular flatbread “lefse” along with smoked salmon or charcuterie, and rolled up. The cheese was launched during the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994, and has been very popular both in Norway and abroad ever since.
With midsummer approaching and days getting warmer, I felt like making a seasonal dessert that would go along with the lighter meals we tend to it this time of year. Norwegians love their strawberries, as we have the tastiest berries in the world, and many agree with me! Super flavorful and very pretty to look at, what could be better than macerating some fresh berries I picked up at the market with a little lemon juice and sugar to use as a sauce to spoon over the parfait? I almost felt bad slicing into these beauties:
Norwegian strawberry farmers produce around 9,000 tons of strawberries yearly and half of this is sold to farmer’s markets and farms. The season in Norway is from May until August and the reason the berries are particularly tasty in this part of the world is the dry sun it gets during the day, which helps ripen the berries, coupled with the cool nights which preserves the acidity. The days do not get too hot and ensures a long ripening period, helping the berries to mature properly and develop great depth of flavor. When I say Norway may have the world’s best strawberries, I invite you to try for yourself when you’re there to prove that I’m right!
On to our dessert…. this is so simple even a 2-year old could make it. You don’t even need an ice cream machine and it takes about 2 minutes to put together, and about 2 hours to freeze it. By pulling the parfait out of the freezer about 15 minutes or so before serving, it ensures a creamy texture without any of the crystal formations often seen in other home made ice creams and sorbets. My husband was skeptical at best when I served him his portion last night, as he is not a fan of desserts, but don’t you know he asked for a second serving shortly thereafter? The Snøfrisk adds a really nice, refreshing tanginess to the parfait, coupled with the sweet berries spooned over it. This light dessert will not make you feel weighted down after dinner; quite the opposite; I felt rejuvenated and happy and ready to make this again later this week!
SNØFRISK PARFAIT WITH MACERATED STRAWBERRIES
Serves about 4
75 grams (2 1/2 oz) Snøfrisk cheese
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tsp vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
Whisk the heavy cream lightly with the granulated sugar, and fold in the Snøfrisk cheese. Add the lemon juice and vanilla sugar/extract. Taste the mixture to make sure it’s right – adjust with more sugar/lemon juice if necessary. Pour into a bowl and place in freezer for at least 2-3 hours. Remove from freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the parfait to slightly soften before scooping. Serve in tall glass with fresh strawberries (or berries of your choice). Now this is the taste of a Norwegian summer!
1 container fresh strawberries (preferably from your local farmer market)
Juice from 1 lemon
about 1/2 cup sugar
Clean the strawberries and slice them thin – place in a bowl with lemon juice and sugar, and stir for a minute or so. Let sit for about 30 min-1 hour before serving. So simple and beats any pre-packaged sauce by a million times!!