Summer – a great time to buy or pick your own fresh produce. There is a farm I’ve been visiting for the past few years to pick berries. In June, they have strawberries. In July, they have black raspberries. Because I moved away and no longer live in the area, I was really hoping the raspberries would be ready for the Fourth of July weekend. I missed strawberries because I came home a weekend too early. Fortunately, it was the first weekend to berry pick, so I didn’t miss it. Hooray!
I knew I was going to make something raspberry for our mini family cookout. Originally, I was going to do an apricot and berry pie. Apricots were moldy. Cupcakes? The gas pilot on my parent’s oven only works when it wants to. Cheesecake parfaits? Works for me. Besides, who really wants to turn on the oven in the summer?
The recipe called for lemon curd. However, I made homemade raspberry curd. It also calls for cookie crumbs in the bottom. I didn’t have any, so I thought about graham crackers. But wouldn’t they get soggy because you chill the parfaits overnight? Plus I’m not a fan of crust. I was going to sprinkle some on top before serving, but I forgot. It didn’t help that I was serving these right before making the two-hour trip back to my place before the holiday traffic.
If any of you have made homemade cheesecake, you know it takes some time. Time to beat. Time to cook. Time to set. Time to chill. These parfaits cut down on all that time by using sweetened condensed milk. At first I was concerned because just like any passionate baker, I had a taste of the batter. It didn’t taste that great, so I was worried it wouldn’t turn out like it should. Well I followed the recipe as directed and knew the flavor would develop more overnight, so I went with it. Hopefully the raspberry curd would cover it up if it wasn’t good.
Letting it sit made a huge difference. The texture turned into the thick, smooth cheesecake filling that you’d expect, much better than the batter I tasted. Pair that with the layer of raspberry curd, and you have yourself a nice cool summer treat.
Berry Cheesecake Parfait
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sour cream
4 Tbsp your favorite curd, store bought or homemade
1/2 cup amaretti or graham cracker crumbs (optional)
1/3 cup fresh berries
1 1/3 cup black raspberries (red will work too)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1. Curd: In a saucepan, heat together berries, sugar, eggs, water, pepper and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon. When berries start to break and the mixture bubbles, add butter. Stir until melted.
2. Increase heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. The back of the spoon should be coated.
3. Optional: Push the mixture into a sieve over a clean bowl. Discard seeds.
4. Let the curd cool while making the cheesecake: In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, lemon peel, and vanilla 60 seconds or until smooth. Beat in cream for 2 minutes or until thickened. Fold in sour cream.
5. In a container of your choice (I used wine glasses), place crumbs into each bottom if using. Add some of the cheesecake mixture. Add curd. Finish with another cheesecake layer. Do this for each container until all of the cheesecake mixture is gone. Be sure to refrigerate any leftover curd for future use.
6. Cover each container and refrigerate overnight to set the flavors. Serve with fresh berries on top.
Cheesecake: Cooking Club magazine Summer 2011, p. 28
Raspberry curd: French Cooking for Dummies