This recipe is not simply a great dessert in itself, it’s also a way of thinking about cakes and desserts generally. The idea is to take all the components you’d use for this final course and then build the dessert in a serving glass: soft, moist cake; sweet cream (here, pastry cream whipped with buttercream, technically called a mousseline) along with more acidic creme fraiche for balance; fresh fruit; and a little jam. Any composed dish like this is great for entertaining—it’s impressive to serve, and you can make most of the components in advance. If you want to assemble the parfaits ahead of time, use the strawberries whole or replace them with raspberries, as the cut berries could bleed into the cream.
We use Kendall Farms creme fraiche, which is slightly looser than most, for this dessert. If your creme fraiche is very firm, you can loosen it with a little regular cream or milk.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- ¾ cup + 2½ tablespoons (200 grams) Pastry Cream, cold
- 10.33 cup (200 grams) Basic Buttercream, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (90 grams) Raspberry Jam at room temperature
- Olive Oil Cake, frozen
- 18 medium-large (about 1½ inches long) strawberries, halved lengthwise
- 1¼ cups (300 grams) Creme fraiche
- Strawberry powder (optional)
For the mousseline
- Place the pastry cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until smooth. Add the buttercream and whip until well combined and smooth. Set aside. To assemble the parfait
- The jam should flow more like a puree than a jam; if it is too thick, stir in a little water to thin it. Spoon 15 grams (3/8 inch) of jam into to bottom of six clear glasses (about 12 ounces each)
- Cut 6 rounds of cake large enough to cover the layer of jam and carefully place one in each glass. Lean 5 strawberry halves, cut side out, tips pointing up, against the side of each glass. Cut the remaining pieces into a small dice, and arrange a few pieces in the center of the glass.
- Spoon the mousseline into the pastiy bag. Hold the bag vertically in the center of each ring of berries and pipe in enough mousseline to fill the gaps around the berries. Pipe a spiral over the top that extends a bit above the berries.
- Gut 6 more pieces of cake to fit over the mousseline, and place one in each glass.
- Gently stir the creme fraiche until it holds a soft shape. Spoon it over the shortcakes, sprinkle with strawberry powder, if desired, and the remaining diced strawberries, and serve.