Strawberry parfait recipe and more desserts for grown-ups

Shhh: The secret ingredient is goat cheese.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty
Layers of goat cheese mousse and strawberries make pretty, summery parfaits.


Serves 4

1½ pints strawberries, cored and quartered

½ cup sugar


1 cinnamon stick

1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1¼ teaspoons plain gelatin

1 cup heavy cream, cold

6 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chop 8 or 10 of the strawberries, toss with 1½ tablespoons sugar, and let macerate for an hour. Drain, reserve ¼ cup macerated berries, and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, toss the remaining berries, 3 tablespoons sugar, a pinch of salt, and the cinnamon stick and cook, covered, 10 minutes. Uncover and cook, mashing, 5 minutes longer. In a bowl, stir the lemon juice and gelatin and set aside to soften, about 5 minutes, then stir in the hot strawberry mixture. Cover and refrigerate until just set (not hard), about 90 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, stir in the larger quantity of macerated berries, and refrigerate.

Up to 3 hours before serving, in a bowl, whip the cream with 1 tablespoon sugar to soft peaks. In another bowl, beat the goat cheese, remaining sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until very thick and smooth. Beat in a third of the whipped cream, then fold in the rest. Cover and refrigerate mousse for about 15 minutes.


To assemble, in each of 4 parfait glasses, layer the strawberry and mousse mixtures, beginning with strawberries and ending with mousse. Top with the reserved macerated berries and serve.

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Makes 1 cake

Butter, goat cheese, eggs, and buttermilk should all be at room temperature.

Nonstick baking spray

3 cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda


4 large eggs, plus 2 large yolks

½ cup buttermilk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

2 sticks unsalted butter, in chunks

2¼ cups sugar

1 7-ounce package almond paste, grated

10 ounces fresh goat cheese

1/3 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted

With the rack in the middle position, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9½-by-4 inch (16-cup) tube pan with baking spray, line the bottom with parchment, and spray the parchment. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt and set aside. Whisk together the eggs and yolks, buttermilk, and extracts, and set aside.

With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the almond paste and goat cheese and beat at medium-high for 1 minute. With the mixer on medium, trickle in the egg mixture and beat (it’s OK if the mixture looks curdled). Add the flour mixture and beat on low until just combined (do not overmix). Fold the batter 3 or 4 times, then scoop into the pan. Smooth the top, sprinkle with the almonds, and, rotating pan halfway through, bake about 1 hour 20 minutes (edges should be just pulling away from the pan, and a toothpick inserted in cake should come out clean).

Place cake on a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan, cool to room temperature, remove tube insert, and serve.


Serves 6


 Eggs, cream cheese, goat cheese, and butter should all be at room temperature.

½ cup dried apricots

½ cup sherry

¼ cup pecan pieces

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon almond extract


1 tablespoon butter, for the souffle dish

4 large eggs, separated, plus 2 large egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

3 ounces cream cheese

6 ounces fresh goat cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Soak the apricots in sherry for 45 minutes. In a food processor, grind the pecans and 1 tablespoon sugar finely, and set aside. In the processor, puree apricots, almond extract, and a pinch of salt, and set aside.

Meanwhile, with the rack in the center position, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter a 2-quart souffle dish, coat with two-thirds of the pecan mixture, and set aside.

With a mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks and set aside. Beat the two cheeses, remaining sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt on medium-high until fluffy, then beat in the yolks. Stir one-fourth of the beaten whites into the yolk-cheese mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the remaining whites.

Layer about a third of the batter and half the apricot mixture in the prepared dish; repeat with layers of batter, apricot mixture, and batter, then gently swirl layers with a skewer to marble, sprinkle with the remaining pecan mixture, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and keep baking until puffed, brown on top, and a skewer poked into souffle is moist (not wet), about 40 minutes longer. Serve at once.

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