Spring is officially here! And in the spirit of spring cleaning I’ve started going through my packed freezer to finally use up the last of the fruit that I froze last year. I got a ton of blueberries and blackberries from my CSA and have been using them in muffins all winter but after last week’s Pop Tart adventure I didn’t really want muffins or anything too carb-y. I’ve been craving a lemon dessert lately and lemons always pair well with berries so this was the perfect opportunity to finally make something.
Even though lemons are technically a summer fruit, there’s really nothing else that evokes Spring to me as much as a lemon. It’s just so fresh and bright, like the colorful blooms that are popping up all around my neighborhood these days. It’s the perfect thing to help transition between the stark coldness of winter and the hot sunniness of summer.
I had bookmarked a recipe for lemon cream a while ago so I finally decided to give it a try. The recipe turned out to be so simple and tasty that I immediately made another batch using limes and then put them both together in this parfait. The cream is made by whipping together yogurt, cream cheese and little bit of honey, then you stir in citrus juice and zest to add flavor. The yogurt and cream cheese combine to make a dessert that is light and fluffy like whipped cream, but with a thicker consistency like a mousse. This is just about the easiest dessert to make and it’s healthy to boot.
The parfait has blackberries sandwiched between a layer of lemon cream and a layer of lime cream. Since it’s a tart dessert with not much sweetener, I made a simple blackberry syrup to drizzle on top which added just the right amount of sweetness for me. I really liked the combination of the lemon and lime together but this parfait would work just as well with one or the other. And blueberries would work great instead of the blackberries.
My only complaint was that the berries were a bit mushy and definitely not at their best flavor due to being in my freezer for many months. Fresh berries are the way to go with this recipe, but since they’re not in season yet (or if you’ve got tons of berries in your freezer like me), I think it’ll be better to make frozen berries into a simple compote. That should help to intensify their flavor. Plus, the compote adds a bit more sugar for anyone wanting a sweeter dessert.
Lemon and Lime Cream Parfaits with Blackberries
Dessert, Snack | Servings: 3 to 4
Prep time: 20 min | Total time: 20 min
- 3 cups fresh* blackberries (or blueberries), divided
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat or non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 lemon
- 1 lime
- Place 1 cup of blackberries in a small saucepan and sprinkle with sugar. Place on medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries start giving off juice. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring and crushing the berries, until the liquid has thickened a little, about 5 to 8 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a small bowl. Set aside to cool.
- Combine cream cheese, yogurt and honey in a mixer bowl and beat on high speed until light and creamy. Transfer half the cream to another bowl.
- Finely grate the lemon rind and add it the first bowl of cream. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice from one half (about a teaspoon or so) into the bowl. Stir well.
- Finely grate the lime rind and add it to the second bowl. Cut the lime in half and squeeze lime juice from one half (about a teaspoon or so) into the bowl. Stir well.
- Divide the lemon cream between 3 or 4 glasses or small bowls. Top with the remaining blackberries. (Note: if you want to make this sweeter roll the blackberries in sugar first.) Divide the lime cream between the dishes. Drizzle blackberry syrup on top. Add more blackberries if desired. Serve immediately.
The lemon and lime cream can be stored separately in sealed containers in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
*Fresh is always preferable for the best flavor and texture but using frozen blackberries is ok. Thaw the frozen berries and drain on a paper towel before using. Alternately, to get more flavor out of your frozen blackberries, make them into a compote first. Here’s a simple blackberry compote recipe. (I would omit the allspice for this particular dessert.)