We are pretty proud of this little dessert. We created it to be the dessert course on our Dinner For 2 menu this year. It’s light, grain-free, can be dairy-free and has only a small amount of added sugars throughout the recipe. We even snuck in some chocolate for those of you who are chocolate lovers and wouldn’t dream of letting Valentine’s Day (or any date-night-in) go by without some! Although cherries aren’t a winter fruit you can always find nice bags of frozen, organic, dark cherries to work with and those are what we used to test this recipe. The warm spices we added as well as the richness of the mascarpone cheese in the cream layer is what we think makes this dessert “winter.” Any dark frozen berries or blends will work in place of the cherries if you cannot find them or don’t like cherries.
For those of you on Phase 1 of VBHD who just don’t want to do sugar right now or those who have sensitivities to sugar you could substitute the coconut sugar and honey for stevia or Just Like Sugar (we’ve removed xylitol from the VBHD list of recommended sweeteners). Send us an email if you need any help with these swaps. You may also decide to just leave the dessert course off altogether. I do also want to say this that I also said over in another post: A special date-night-in on Valentine’s Day (which, at the time of this posting, is coming up in 2 weeks) or any other time it’s called for could be an occasion to set the table link and prepare a good, real-food meal with wine and dessert and the whole shebang! Get back to your usual the next day. I think if you’re here reading this you’ve decided your occasion calls for dessert! Read on.
This dessert can be made ahead…even the day before. If you’re preparing the entire Dinner For 2 we recommend this so that you can focus completely on your dinner preparations when the time comes to start cooking. You can assemble the parfaits at serving time if you like but we assembled them a few hours earlier and let them sit in the fridge until we were ready to eat them. While you can make all the parts of the dessert (the cake, cream & cherry sauce) the day before I would not assemble them until you’re a few hours out from serving them. They may get a little soggy if they’re in the fridge all day. The chocolate dipped strawberries should also be made beforehand as the chocolate needs time to get cold and set up. These can be fully prepared the day before and left in the fridge.
You can use a variety of glassware in which to build your parfait. A small low ball or stemless wine glass would work. A wine glass with a stem would be elegant. If you do want to run out and purchase just 2 special glasses World Market is a good place here in Lubbock to purchase open stock glassware of all kinds. Be creative!
Although these glasses look small they actually hold quite a bit of dessert. We didn’t take our dessert all the way to the rim of the glass for this reason. The recipe makes more than just what you see here in these 2 glasses so you may want to make a few extra parfaits for the kids or use the different components in other ways over the next few days such as on top of our Blender Waffles & Pancakes. You may toss a shortcake muffin into the kids lunch boxes or put a dollop of the cream in your coffee 😉 The cakes and cherry sauce would also freeze just fine if you want to save them for another time.
Details, details, details! – Garnish your parfaits with more orange zest, shaved dark or bitter chocolate and/or a mint sprig! Plate some chocolate dipped strawberries alongside (see below for the how-to). Make it pretty!
We hope you enjoy!
For the shortcakes: (makes 1 dozen)
1/3 C honey
1/3 C coconut oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest (we use a zester like this one)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ½ C almond flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 325.
- Line a standard muffin tin with baking cups or heavily grease each spot with butter or coconut oil.
- Combine honey, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla in a blender
- Blend on medium speed for 20 to 25 seconds. The mixture will be frothy and smooth.
- Add all other ingredients (the dry ingredients) and blend for another 40 seconds. You will need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides with a spatula once or twice. Your mixture will be very smooth with no lumps.
- Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups filling each about ¾ full.
- Bake for 21 – 23 minutes. In our oven 22 minutes was perfect. Insert a toothpick in the center of one cake and if it comes out clean, they’re done!
- Let cool, uncovered. *Note – grain-free baked goods do not need to be stored in an airtight container as they are very moist and covering them tightly, even in the first few days of storing them, can keep them very dense and moist. To freshen these muffins you can place them in your oven on 300 for a just a few minutes if you like.