These Strawberry Chocolate Crunch Parfaits are a simple, no heat dessert that is perfect for the hot summer months. Creamy and crunchy with fresh strawberries and chocolate, these parfaits can even be made the day ahead.
The glass in the picture originally belonged to Mike's grandmother. I love the delicacy of the flute and the green stem. It seemed like they were waiting for these parfaits.
The chocolate crunch can be made using any nut you wish. I chose almonds, but have used hazelnuts in the past. To avoid the oven, I put them in a dry skillet over medium heat. It is best to watch them, turning them often so they don't burn. You will notice I said "best to watch..... ." Since I don't always follow my own advice I have sometimes burned them using this method so I didn't wander too far away this time.
Besides the chocolate being good with strawberries, it adds a crunchy note to the parfaits. The one thing to be careful about, is breaking it into small pieces when they are added as a layer. I left some of them rather large and they are hard to cut through when eating. So think small here.
This is my favorite mascarpone filling and I have used it in the Peachy Keen and Tiramasu Parfaits. It is lighter than pastry cream even when lightened with whipped cream and there is no cooking with this filling. The original recipe called for granulated sugar but I found no matter how long I beat it, the sugar never dissolved so I changed it to powdered sugar. The filling is extremely creamy.
The components are layered together and that is all there is to it. I finish them with whipped cream, a shard of the chocolate almond crunch and a few more diced strawberries.
Like I said – a perfect do-ahead summer dessert.
Chocolate Almond Crunch
¼ cup slivered almonds (35 ounces or 1 ¼ ounces)
5 ounces semi sweet or milk chocolate (140 grams)
½ cup rice krispies or (17 grams or about ⅔ ounce)
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment. Set aside.
To keep from heating the oven, I simply put the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat. I watched them and stirred them several times until they were a golden brown. Cool completely. When cool, place them in a food processor and process them so they are fairly fine but not powdered. Admission: I forgot the pictures but you get the idea.
Nikki, a reader, also suggested toasting the nuts in a microwave which sounds interesting. Here is her comment, "Try toasting the nuts in the microwave. I have done this and it works well. I “zap” for about 30 seconds and toss them around and continue to “zap” This way there is little chance to burn them."
Melt the chocolate over hot water or in a microwave at half power. Add the almonds and rice krispies. Stir to combine everything and coat the nuts and rice krispies.
Pour the mixture onto the parchment paper and spread very thinly. Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the pafaits.
Mascarpone Filling2 cups diced strawberries
¾ cup 40% cream
2 cups sifted powdered sugar (180 grams or 7 ⅓ ounces)
4 egg yolks*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mascarpone cheese (225 grams or 8 ounces)
*Several people queried about the raw egg yolks. If that is a problem here is the method the Egg Board suggests to making them safe. I have not tried this and would be interested in knowing the results as this recipe uses powdered sugar which contains cornstarch.
Dice the strawberries no larger than ½ inch. Set aside.
Fit a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Whip the cream until stiff. Remove from the mxing bowl and set aside.Without cleaning the bowl, add the powdered sugar, egg yolks and vanilla. Beat 5 to 7 minutes until very light in color and the volume has increased by 3 times or more.Add ⅓ of the mascarpone to the bowl at a time. Beat until incorporated. Continue until all of the mascarpone is used. Scrape down often.Stir ⅓ of the cream into the mascarpone; fold in the remaining cream.Whipped Cream Topping
1 ¼ cups 40% cream
⅓ cup powdered sugar (40 grams or 1 ½ ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Beat until very stiff.Assembly
Chocolate Almond Crunch
Whipped Cream Topping
5 to 6 wine glasses
Place a small dollop of mascarpone filling in the bottom of the wine glasses.Layer with some of the strawberries. Add the chocolate almond crunch. Repeat once more and top the last layer of crunch with mascarpone.Place the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a #5 or 6 open star tip and pipe a large rosette to cover the top of the mascarpone.
Finish with a shard of chocolate almond crunch and a few diced strawberries.
Refrigerate until serving time.