- Course: Dessert
- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 44 Times
As easy as they are attractive, these creamy, crunchy parfaits can be assembled a couple of hours ahead of serving and refrigerated. Don’t apply the caramelized banana garnish, however, until just before serving. Mascarpone is an Italian double or triple cream cheese, available in many well-stocked supermarkets and “gourmet” food shops. Its thick, luscious texture makes it a great partner to pureed ripe bananas. As individual servings go, these are quite generous. So, if you use smaller parfait glasses, you’ll have some of the individual components left over. But don’t throw them away! Use any leftover berries or banana mascarpone in a smoothie. And save the extra cookie crumbs to top ice cream or to sprinkle on a frosted cake.
- 2 dry pints fresh ripe strawberries, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons seedless raspberry or strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, Framboise, or Crème de Banana liqueur
- 3 large or 4 medium very ripe bananas, chilled
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 generous cups mascarpone (2-pound, 2-ounce tub), well chilled
- One 9-ounce box Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies, crushed into small pieces
- 2 extra-large ripe but firm bananas for garnish
- Mint sprigs for garnish
Pick out six strawberries with the most pointed tips and slice the tips off, in 1/3-inch pieces, reserving them for the garnish. Place the rest of the berries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and add the jam and the liqueur. Pulse the berries until they are chopped but not pureed and the jam is mixed throughout. Pour the berry mixture into a non-reactive bowl and set it aside, covered.
To make the banana mascarpone, puree the cold bananas in the blender or simply mash them well using a wide blending fork. Measure out 1 1/3 cups puree and discard the rest. Pour the puree into the blender (or in a bowl) and blend in the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and the vanilla. Place the cold mascarpone in a bowl and whisk in the flavored banana puree to make things homogenous. Cover the bowl and keep it chilled until ready to assemble the parfaits.
To serve, take out a small handheld blowtorch or preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible to the heating element. Spoon some of the berries on the bottom of a parfait dish, then top them with some banana mascarpone and then with some cookie crumbs. Repeat this until you reach the top of the dish, finishing the top layer with a dollop of banana cream.
Slice the two remaining cold bananas on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices and place them flat, side by side, on a wire rack within a shallow baking sheet. Sprinkle the bananas lightly but evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and either torch them or run them under the broiler until the sugar is caramelized. Plant a few slices of the bananas decoratively in the dollop of banana mascarpone and stick one of the reserved strawberry tips at the base of the bananas. Position a mint sprig decoratively on top, and serve.
Timing is Everything
• The berries and the banana mascarpone can be prepared early in the day of serving and kept refrigerated separately, well covered.
• The parfaits can be assembled 2 hours before serving and kept covered in the refrigerator. Don’t peel or caramelize the bananas, however, until just before serving.
© 2004 by Lauren Groveman