Ah, summer. Nothing says it better than a bowl of berries. Unless it's a bowl of berries layered with sweet ricotta and topped with crunchy pistachios, that is!
These dessert parfaits are so pretty – they look fancier than they have a right to be, considering how easy they are to make. They are also not too sweet and make the perfect finish to a casual summer dinner party.
Start by beating cream cheese with honey and lemon until fluffy to add extra creaminess to the ricotta. Then add whole milk ricotta and beat to combine. Your work, if you want to call it that, is almost done.
Strain some strawberry jam into a bowl and mix it with lemon juice. Toss the berries to give them a glazed look. They will be shiny, a little sweet, and have that extra fruity flavor of the jam.
Now, have some fun! Layer the berries and ricotta into glasses — you could use tumblers, champagne glasses, or any clear dessert dish you have on hand.
You can make them up to a day in advance, but who can really wait that long to eat dessert?
Ricotta and Summer Berry Parfaits
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks and softened to room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 4 cups mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (for garnish)
- Mint leaves (for garnish)
Make the ricotta cream:
Combine the cream cheese, honey, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and vanilla in a mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Beat in the ricotta until smooth.
Glaze the berries:
Use a spatula to push the jam through a fine mesh strainer into a small mixing bowl; this will remove any tiny seeds in the jam. Add the remaining1 tablespoon of the lemon juice to the strained jam and mix until smooth. Add the berries and stir to coat them.
Assemble the parfaits:
Into four dessert glasses or bowls, layer 1 to 2 tablespoon of the berries and 2 to 3 tablespoons ricotta mixture. Repeat, ending with berries on top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, and garnish with mint leaves.
The fruit and ricotta can be layered into dishes and refrigerated for up to a day. Sprinkle with pistachios and mint until just before serving.