Japanese parfait recipes

Japanese parfait recipes

Next time you’re at home with some ice cream and pantry odds and ends, might I suggest that you take out a clear stemmed glass and assemble a Japanese parfait?

A Japanese parfait is similar in spirit to an American sundae, but they can take on whatever personality you like — from refreshing combinations of fruit, yogurt and jellies to richer combinations of cake and ice cream.

Parfaits have become increasingly prevalent on dessert menus outside of Japan – for example, you can find them at cafés like Nana’s in Seattle and Kettl in Brooklyn. The dessert’s name derives from the French word for ‘perfect,’ and it’s indeed a perfect dessert, especially during the summer when there’s a bounty of seasonal fruit to celebrate. Parfaits are also a perfect way to end a dinner party. Pick up a few pints of your favorite ice cream, plus cookies, cakes, cereal, and fruit, and marvel at the combinations that you and your friends will come up with.

Below are some suggestions to get you started. As long as the layers are clearly visible and you have included ice cream (or a frozen alternative), you are good to parfait.

– ice cream or frozen yogurt
– cornflakes, granola, Cinnamon Toast Crunch or other cereals
– crumbled graham crackers, Oreos, shortbread, Pocky or other cookies
– cubes of store-bought cake 
– sliced fruit, like raspberries, strawberries or bananas
– cut-up mochi
– jams or jellies
– toasted almonds
– chocolate sauce
– whipped cream

Which would you make?

Chihiro Tomioka has written about Japanese food and culture for Bon Appétit, Saveur and Food52. Sign up for her newsletter, if you’d like.

P.S. A quick dessert to bring to any party and three-ingredient butter cookies.

(Photo by @misat_s/Instagram.)