Cherry Pie Parfaits
Elegant and delicious, these cherry pie parfaits are layered with homemade vanilla pudding, cherries, pie crust, and whipped cream.
Servings: 10 parfaits Print Recipe
For the pudding:
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
- 2 ounces cream cheese
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
For the cherries:
- 16 ounces cherries, frozen
- ½ Tbsp corn starch
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ salt
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the pie crust:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup cold butter, or vegan butter, cubed
- ¼ cup cold shortening, cubed
- ¼ cup very cold almond milk, or milk of choice
For the whipped cream:
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the sugar, milk, and salt
In a medium size saucepan, heat the sugar, milk and salt over medium heat, whisking continuously. Take off the heat just before the milk comes to a boil, about 5-6 minutes.
Now add half of the hot milk mixture to the mixing bowl with the egg yolks, cream, and corn starch. Whisk continuously until the two mixtures have incorporated.
Transfer back to the saucepan
Now transfer the mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining half of the hot milk, and whisk to combine.
Bring the mixture to boil over medium heat, whisking continuously.
Boil for 30-45 seconds, then bring the heat down to medium-low, whisking continuously the whole time. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes (yep, you're still whisking!), until it thickens to a pudding consistency.
Add the vanilla and cream cheese
Take the pudding off the heat, and add the vanilla paste and cream cheese. Stir to incorporate.
Transfer the pudding to a large bowl, and let cool in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
A Note on the “skin”
A “skin” will form on the top of the pudding. Personally, I don’t mind the skin. If I don’t want to eat it, I just peel it off the top of the pudding.
If you don’t like the skin, you can help prevent one from forming by pressing saran wrap directly atop the pudding at the start of cooling.
Make the cherries
While the pudding cools, make the cherries.
Add the cherries, corn starch, sugar, maple syrup, and salt to a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the cherries defrost and the cherry juice starts to thicken.
Now turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very warm and has thickened further.
Take the cherries off the heat, and stir in the lemon juice and zest. The cherries are done, set aside.
Make the crust
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and salt with a fork.
Now add in the cold butter and shortening. With a pastry cutter or your hands, cut the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients. (I always use my hands.) Basically, just work the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until you end up with a crumb topping-like mixture, with little balls the size of peas.
Add in the cold milk, and mix until the pie dough comes together. If it feels a little dry, add an additional tsp or two of cold milk.
At this point, you can form the dough into a disk, and refrigerate the dough for later use, or preheat the oven and bake it now.
Bake the pie crust
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a standard-sized baking sheet with cooking spray, and place the pie dough disk on top. Lightly flour a rolling pin, and roll the pie dough out. It should be about ⅛ inch thick, and cover the majority of the baking sheet.
Bake the pie crust for 9-12 minutes at 375 degrees, until lightly browned. Let the pie crust cool.
Make the whipped cream
Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract to a large, clean mixing bowl.
With a handheld mixer over medium-low speed, whip the cream until it thickens and becomes whipped cream, about 10-14 minutes.
A note on the whipped cream
If you will be piping the whipped cream on top of the parfaits, I recommend whipping the cream to stiff peaks. This will help the whipped cream retain structure both as you are piping, and afterwards. If you will just be dolloping a spoonful of cream over the top of each parfait, you can stop whipping when soft peaks form, if you prefer.
Refrigerate the whipped cream until you’re ready to compile the parfaits. If piping the whipped cream, it’s best to make the whipped cream within 30 minutes of compiling the parfaits. The whipped cream will have the most structure and be easiest to pipe within 30 minutes of whipping.
Compile the parfaits
Once all the parfait ingredients are prepared and have cooled, compile the parfaits.
I prefer using 5-6 ounce cups for serving, and this recipe will make 10-12 parfaits of that size. If you use larger or smaller cups, adjust the ratios of each parfait component to preference.
Start by layering about ¼ cup of the pudding in the bottom of the cup.
Break the pie crust, and layer a few pieces over the pudding.
Now add about 2-3 Tbsps of the cherry filling over the pie crust.
Finally, dollop or pipe whipped cream over the top as the final layer.
Repeat the layers in the rest of your serving cups.
This recipe makes 10-12 parfaits if compiled with 5-6 ounce cups. I prefer to use a cupcake injector to pipe the whipped cream, but you can also just dollop it on top of each parfait. You will definitely have extra whipped cream if you choose to dollop rather than pipe the whipped cream. But how is that a bad thing? 😃 If you plan to dollop the whipped cream and don’t want a lot of extra, you can take the recipe down to 2 cups of cream, 2 Tbsps of sugar, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. These parfaits can easily be made gluten-free by subbing gluten-free pie crust, or gluten-free graham crackers, in place of my pie crust recipe.