I’m rather confident you’ll agree that vine-ripe strawberries are as scrumptious as they are pretty — plump, juicy, vibrant red beauties bursting with tangy, yet sweet aroma and flavor. But did you know that strawberries are packed with nutritional value as well? They’re low in calories, and an excellent source for Vitamins A, C and E, as well as B-Complex vitamins. Scientific studies have found that berries may have health benefits against cancer, neurological disease, inflammation, and aging. AGING?? Ohhh baby – you’re speaking my language!
In a happy coincidence, the ubiquitous food gods have designated today, June 25th, National Strawberry Parfait Day. (Française 101: “parfait” translates to “perfect” in French — Oui!) So, in honor of this national observance, I humbly offer a felicitous tribute to strawberry perfection:
Strawberry-Cream Cheese Parfait with Meyer Lemon Essence
- 2 cups of sliced ripe strawberries
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar
- 4 ounces low-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 ounces low-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup almond or honey nut granola
- 3-4 lemon shortbread or wafer cookies, crumbled to breadcrumb consistency with a mortar & pestle
- Whipped cream topping for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds for garnish
- 1 tablespoon shaved milk or dark chocolate for garnish
Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of sugar over the sliced strawberries. Toss gently to coat, then set the mixture aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Add the sliced almonds to a small skillet, and lightly toast them over medium-low heat, tossing frequently to prevent burning. Remove the almonds to a small bowl to cool.
Combine the cream cheese, sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until the mixture is very smooth, 2-3 minutes.
Divide half of the cream cheese mixture between two parfait glasses. Divide half of the strawberries between the glasses, topping the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of granola over each parfait.
Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of lemon wafer crumbs over the granola in each parfait. Divide the remaining cream cheese and strawberries between the parfaits, then place them in the refrigerator to cool for 30 minutes to an hour.
Prior to serving, divide the remaining granola between the parfaits, and top each with a teaspoon of crushed lemon wafer cookies. Garnish the parfaits with a dollop of whipped cream, 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds, and the shaved chocolate, then grab a spoon and prepare to revel in strawberry perfection! ♥