Berry Cream Parfaits are quick and easy to prepare with only 6 ingredients – and are super delicious!
A Berry Cream Cheese Dessert
I remember loving parfait desserts as a kid. All those wonderful layers . . . they were so elegant and impressive to me – and oh, so pretty. Lovely to look at, delicious to eat! And I still love them today, for the same reasons. These Berry Cream Parfaits are a particular favorite of mine because they are so quick and easy to prepare. Only 10 minutes to put together a beautiful and scrumptious dessert.
I like to use a mixture of blueberries and raspberries, but any berry will work. If blackberries and strawberries are in season, by all means use them – in addition to the other berries, or on their own. Peaches and/or plums would be delicious, too! With only a handful of ingredients that you are likely to have in your pantry, Berry Cream Parfaits are perfect for last minute guests, or as a quick family treat.
What is a Parfait?
A parfait is a multi-layered dessert that traditionally is made with fruit, whipped cream and ice cream. In our version, the ice cream and whipped cream are replaced by a cream cheese and crème fraiche mixture.
What makes a parfait a parfait?
“Parfait” is a French word that literally means perfect! What makes a dessert a parfait is alternating layers of two or three ingredients, most often fresh fruit and some creamy concoction (ice cream, whipped cream, etc.). And, they tend to be served in a tall glass. As you can see in my photos, I like to assemble my cream cheese parfaits in a medium-sized glass, as I find the taller ones to be too large a portion. But, you can certainly put our recipe in a taller glass if you like!
What do parfaits taste like?
I love the combination of flavors in these parfaits. Fresh, juicy blueberry, raspberry and strawberry flavors are enhanced by the lemony, sweet essence of the cream cheese and crème fraiche combination.
How to Make Parfait Cream
Preparing the cream mixture for these parfaits is super easy:
- Prep cream cheese and lemon.
Bring the cream cheese to room temperature. (I set it out on the kitchen counter for around 45 minutes or more.) When soft, cut the cream cheese in half lengthwise, then cut across to form 1-inch cubes. Juice 1/2 lemon; measure out 1 tablespoon.
- Blend ingredients.
Using an electric mixer or food processor, blend together the cream cheese, crème fraiche, powdered sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon until light and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
How to Layer a Berry Parfait
Here’s how to layer the fruit and cream cheese mixture in to the glasses (there’s a step-by-step video in the recipe card below):
- Start with fruit.
Sprinkle a mixture of berries in a single layer in the bottom of each glass.
- Add cream mixture.
Spoon dollops of the cream cheese mixture on top of the fruit, to cover. Make sure the cream shows on the side of the glass.
- Add a second layer of berries.
Sprinkle another layer of berries on top of the cream. Make sure you can see the berries from the side of the glass.
- Add a second layer of cream mixture.
Spoon another layer of cream cheese mixture on top of the berries.
- Add a third layer of berries.
Sprinkle a final layer of mixed berries over the top.
- Add a third layer of cream mixture.
Spoon dollops of cream cheese mixture to cover the top of the parfaits.
Toppings and Add-ins for This Cream Cheese Berry Dessert
I like to garnish these parfaits with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few mint leaves. Here are a few ideas for other toppings:
- Toasted Nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)
- Crushed Ginger Snap Cookies (Serve these Berry Cream Parfaits with our Ginger Spice Cookies (in my cookbook Fresh Tastes, p. 258) or purchased ginger snaps.)
- Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
Berry Parfaits FAQs
I like to serve these cream cheese parfaits the day they are prepared, but they will keep for up to 2 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
These parfaits can definitely be well wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month. To serve, take out of the freezer around 15 minutes before serving and let sit at room temperature. The texture will be different, and the fruit may release some of its juice, but the parfaits will still be delicious!
I prefer to use fresh berries in this dessert. If you can’t find any, my first choice would be to substitute some other fresh fruit that’s available – peaches, plums, nectarines would all work. In a pinch, you could use thawed and drained frozen berries.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche – see Note
- 3 tablespoons powdered (confectioners’) sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
- 12 to 14 ounces fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries, or a mixture
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
- Using an electric mixer or food processor, blend together the cream cheese, crème fraiche, powdered sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon until light and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Layer the berries and cream cheese mixture alternately in 4 wine, martini or short (single old fashioned size) glasses, ending with the cheese mixture on the top.
- Garnish with additional cinnamon and fresh mint leaves (and maybe a berry or two).
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Crème fraiche: is available in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, often in the deli section. Can substitute sour cream.
Make ahead: can be made earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated.
- Category: Dessert, quick and easy
- Method: mixing, no bake
- Serving Size: 4
- Calories: 298
- Sugar: 16.4 g
- Sodium: 181.6 mg
- Fat: 22.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 13.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 21.8 g
- Fiber: 2.2 g
- Protein: 4.4 g
- Cholesterol: 67.3 mg