Strawberry Parfait with Mascarpone Cream features layers of chopped ripe strawberries, lightly sweetened mascarpone cream, and gingery biscoff cookies.
Strawberry season! Is there anything cheerier than walking by the outdoor fruit and vegetable vendors and seeing baskets of red juicy strawberries stacked in rows? In my opinion, strawberries are second only to tomatoes in the difference between a perfectly ripe, just-picked variety versus the off-season grocery store offerings. So eat them straight out of hand or try a recipe that shows them off like this Strawberry Parfait.
Why Make This Recipe
- So Easy to Make: Just prep a few ingredients and then layer them in whatever pretty clear glasses you have lying around.
- Highlights Fresh Strawberries: With only 3 ingredients, perfectly ripe strawberries really shine!
- Versatile: Once you have the technique down, you can make ingredient substitutions depending on what’s in season or what you have on-hand. Read on for more.
- Strawberries: Feel free to replace strawberries with whatever fruit you have that is in season. Make Blueberry Parfaits or Blackberry Parfaits or even Peach or Apricot Parfaits. For another take on the parfait idea using mangoes, check out my Mango Coconut Yogurt Parfait recipe.
- Biscoff cookies: Find these in the cookie or graham cracker section of your grocery store. If you love these as much as we do, make sure to check out our Biscoff Truffles and Biscoff Cheesecake recipe as well. And see the Expert Tips section for substitution ideas.
- Mascarpone: Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cream cheese that is a bit more delicate, mild, and softer than American-style cream cheese. If you want to substitute cream cheese in this recipe, add a bit more heavy cream to the mixture and another tablespoon of sugar as well.
- Heavy cream: If you don’t have heavy cream, you can leave it out and just use more mascarpone. Make sure to whip the mascarpone quite well in that case, and perhaps add a bit more sugar, so that it is not super dense.
- Granulated Sugar: Feel free to substitute another kind of sugar if you’d like. Powdered sugar would work very well. Light brown sugar would also be ok, though it might turn your mascarpone cream a little bit off-white. You could also try sugar substitutes like agave syrup or coconut sugar. Or use a touch of honey instead.
🥣 Step-by-Step Instructions
First, rinse, trim, and finely chop 8 ounces of fresh strawberries.
Put 5 ounces of biscoff cookies into a ziplock bag, then crush with the back of a measuring cup or a wooden spoon or meat mallet, until you have small chunks and crumbs. (Up to you how fine you want the crumbs to be.)
Using a mixer, whip 8.8 ounces of mascarpone cheese until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add ½ cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, and whip for another 2 minutes until light and creamy.
Assemble strawberry mascarpone parfaits by layering first a couple of spoonfuls of biscoff crumbs, followed by a couple of spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture, followed by a sprinkling of strawberry pieces.
You really don’t need to measure out exactly, just roughly eyeball the amount of the ingredients you have and make sure you have enough for 2 layers in each serving dish or glass. Repeat with the second layer, ending with strawberries. Serve immediately.
🧐 Recipe FAQs for Strawberry Parfaits
The word parfait actually has a couple of different meanings. One version of a parfait is a layered dessert like this one, usually including layers of cream or yogurt or ice cream interspersed with fruit.
The other type of parfait is a traditional French frozen dessert made from cream, eggs, sugar, and sometimes fruit. This advantage of this French dessert is that you can make it without an ice cream maker, because the combination of ingredients prevent the forming of ice crystals. It’s generally made in a loaf pan and then sliced to serve.
Sadly, no, this is not a great make-ahead recipe. You really want to taste the difference in the textures between the creamy mascarpone and the crunchy biscoff cookies.
Refrigerating the strawberry biscoff parfaits will result in the cookies becoming a bit soggy, and the strawberries will begin to break down as well. But, you can prep each of the ingredients in advance and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.
This recipe really shines with in-season, sweet strawberries. The strawberries that you find year-round in the grocery store are often artificially ripened, and sometimes more sour than sweet.
If you do have strawberries that are not perfectly sweet, toss them with a tablespoon of sugar after you have chopped them up. Let them sit for 15 minutes, absorbing the sugar, then drain before using. They will be a little more syrupy than plain chopped strawberries, but will still be delicious in a parfait.
You can, though they just won’t have the same texture as fresh chopped strawberries, and they won’t look as pretty. But if looks are not an issue for you, the flavor should be fine.
Sometimes frozen strawberries are actually sweeter than off-season strawberries, as they’ve been picked at their freshness peak. You could also chop and cook down frozen strawberries, then add them as more of a jam between the layers rather than fresh chopped berries.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
This strawberry parfait recipe is super versatile and lends itself to lots of substitution. Use any of the following to break up your parfait layers: graham crackers, granola, pound cake or angel food cake, biscotti, vanilla wafers, Oreos, chopped brownie bites, or even chopped oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies.
Try vanilla ice cream or vanilla pudding rather than the mascarpone cream. Or use Vanilla Pastry Cream, lightened with a little whipped cream if you prefer. And of course, replace strawberries with another in-season fruit.
Want to make a healthier version? Try replacing the mascarpone cream with Greek yogurt and replacing the biscoff cookies with granola. In fact, if you do that, you’ll have an excellent breakfast parfait.
We highly recommend buying organic strawberries whenever you can. Strawberries regularly rank #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list. This is the list that ranks fruits and vegetables based on pesticide contamination.
And EWG tests produce samples AFTER they have been washed and peeled (if necessary), so unfortunately washing your strawberries before eating will not eliminate pesticides.
Got extra mascarpone cream? Try it in all sorts of recipes like these:
- Frost or fill cakes or cupcakes with it. For a lighter, fluffier version, whip the cream separately into stiff peaks, then gently mix in mascarpone whipped in a separate bowl (or if not pre-whipped, at least softened a bit by leaving out on the counter for 15-20 minutes before using). You can also whip in powdered sugar to thicken and stabilize the frosting.
- Use as a filling for a fresh fruit tart—to do that, just use a prebaked tart shell (graham cracker, puff pastry, or a regular pie shell) or pre-bake your own pie dough recipe. Then add a layer of mascarpone cream, and let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Top with fresh fruit to serve.
- Mascarpone cream is delicious in the layers of a strawberry shortcake or on a pavlova. Mascarpone and strawberries go so well together!
- Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert combining mascarpone cream with espresso-dipped lady fingers
- Mascarpone makes a delicious cheesecake filling or filling for cream puffs
- Fill sweet crepes with mascarpone cream—spread on one side of a crepe, add fresh fruit, and fold over. Top with another sprinkling of fresh fruit and serve! This Mango Crêpes recipe will show you how to make sweet crêpes.
- Use it as a dip next to a bowl of fresh fruit or berries
What about extra fresh strawberries? So many uses! Here are some of our favorites.
- Use them in fresh fruit tarts like this Tarte aux Fraises or this Easy Strawberry Galette
- Make strawberry shortcake or strawberry cobbler
- Bake a strawberry cheesecake
- Use strawberries in cocktails and sangrias like my White Wine Sangria with Strawberries or this Strawberry Mimosa
- Make these easy Strawberry Lemonade Frozen Pops, perfect for summer!
- Freeze extra strawberries (rinse and trim them first, then pat carefully dry before storing in a freezer bag), then use them in a smoothie like this Strawberry Blueberry Banana Smoothie or a strawberry milkshake.
- Blend fresh strawberries with yogurt and then freeze in popsicle molds.
- And of course, should you find yourself at the end of strawberry season with a pallet of very ripe strawberries, make jam!
More Fruit-Forward Desserts
Need any more dessert inspiration? We've got a whole Dessert archive for you. But here are some favorites featuring fruits and berries!
If you try this Strawberry Parfait recipe, we would love to hear from you! Please rate this recipe and leave a comment below—your feedback is invaluable to us.
- 8 ounces fresh strawberries
- 5 ounces biscoff cookies
- 8.8 ounces (250 g) mascarpone cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Rinse, trim, and finely chop strawberries.
- Put biscoff cookies into a ziplock bag, then crush with the back of a measuring cup or a wooden spoon or meat mallet, until you have small chunks and crumbs. (Up to you how fine you want the crumbs to be.)
- Whip mascarpone until smooth with mixer, about 1 minute.
- Add heavy cream and sugar, and whip for another 2 minutes until light and creamy.
- Assemble parfaits by layering first a couple of spoonfuls of biscoff crumbs, followed by a couple of spoonfuls of the mascarpone mixture, followed by a sprinkling of strawberry pieces. You really don’t need to measure out exactly, just roughly eyeball the amount of the ingredients you have and make sure you have enough for 2 layers in each serving dish or glass.
- Repeat with the second layer, ending with strawberries.
- Serve immediately.
Use a clear glass or clear plastic dish to serve so that you can see all the layers. Smaller glasses are better than bigger since the mascarpone cream is quite rich, and a more narrow glass will make it easier to see the beautiful layers.
- Strawberries: Feel free to replace strawberries with whatever fruit you have that is in season. Make Blueberry Parfaits or Blackberry Parfaits or even Peach or Apricot Parfaits.
- Biscoff cookies: Try using any of the following to break up your parfait layers: graham crackers, granola, pound cake or angel food cake, biscotti, vanilla wafers, Oreos, chopped brownie bites, or even chopped oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies
- Mascarpone: Substitute regular cream cheese. If you do that, add a bit more heavy cream to the mixture and another tablespoon of sugar as well. You can also substitute yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt. Or substitute vanilla ice cream or vanilla pudding!
- Heavy cream: If you don’t have heavy cream, you can leave it out and just use more mascarpone. Make sure to whip the mascarpone quite well in that case, and perhaps add a bit more sugar, so that it is not super dense in your parfaits.
- Sugar: Feel free to substitute a sugar replacement if you’d like. Powdered sugar would work very well. Light brown sugar should also be ok, though it might turn your mascarpone cream a little bit off-white. You could also try sugar substitutes like agave syrup or coconut sugar. Or use a touch of honey instead.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 567Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 521mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 22gProtein: 17g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.