"Parfait" means "perfect" in French. To me, a parfait is the perfect dessert! Our strawberry cheesecake mousse parfait is no exception. The delicious light layers of strawberry cheesecake mousse alternating with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs and strawberries have elements of magic.
Parfait, the perfect dessert
The first recipe I ever wrote on a recipe card was “pudding parfait” when I was ten years old. As a teen I loved to order the “Matinee Idol” (layered ice cream parfait) at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour. The pretty layer’s shining though a glass dish are lovely! Whipped cream and neatly laid portions of cookie crumbs and ice cream, fruit or pudding are so enticing!
This strawberry cheesecake mousse parfait offers that same sweet magic. It’s like your own personal trifle for dessert. I love putting it in small mason jars for a more rustic look. Dessert jars make a great addition to a shower or other celebration. If you're looking for elegance, try a wine glass.
It's fun to add the layers one by one and watch the magic take form right before your eyes! And . . . voila -- le parfait!
You can make this dessert low sugar and low fat by substituting sugar-free Jello and low fat vanilla yogurt instead of whipping cream. Low fat (not fat free) cream cheese also works and try leaving out the sugar and butter in the graham cracker crumbs. Either way you make it, you'll have dessert magic!
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Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse Parfait
For Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse
- 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries (about 2 cups)
- 1 package 3 ounce Jell-O strawberry flavor gelatin
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- 1 cup ice cubes
- ½ cup cold water
- 8 ounce carton whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 ounce packages cream cheese
For graham cracker crumb layer
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup butter melted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Rinse strawberries and chop into small pieces. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, boil ⅔ cup water.Add gelatin mix and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add ice cubes and stir until melted and gelatin is slightly thickened.
- Whip cream until it begins to thicken. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whip until soft peaks form. Divide in half and refrigerate.
- Whip cream cheese with electric mixer until softened. Whip in thickened gelatin mixture and 1 cup chopped strawberries. (Save remaining strawberries for garnish.)
- Gently fold in HALF of whipped cream (reserve half for garnish at end.)
- Gently toss together crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Stir until combined.
To assemble parfaits-- In 8 oz. mason jars or parfait glasses add:
- Layer the jars with 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (pat down), then ¼ cup strawberry cheesecake mixture, then 1-2 tablespoons whipped cream.
- Then layer 2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup strawberry cheesecake mixture, 2 tablespoons whipped cream (swirled on top), 1 tablespoon chopped strawberries. Refrigerate 1-2 hours to set.
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originally published September 14, 2018