Deconstructed Lemon Cream Pie Parfait

Once again, I’m behind on blogging…The end of the year got a bit busy after I returned from vacation leaving little time for culinary prose in between 24 hour emergency room shifts.  But don’t worry! Despite a minor blog hiatus, I have made some time for baking and have a few delicious desserts to show off in the coming weeks.

This dessert was created after returning from my 5 day vacation in New Orleans.  My close friends and I, inspired by Top Chef, ventured to New Orleans solely to eat…and eat we did (with a little drinking and jazz along the way)! After 5 days of eating rich, heavy NOLA cuisine, my body needed a break.


Unfortunately/fortunately we had already planned a dinner when we got back and I was in charge of dessert.  In search of something lighter (or at least something that tasted lighter) my mind immediately turned to lemon.  There’s something about lemon that just lightens any dish or dessert it is added to.  I considered making Joanne Chang’s lemon bars but then had the brilliant idea for a deconstructed lemon cream pie using her lemon curd recipe.

This dessert layers delicious and tart lemon curd, with fluffy whipped mascarpone cream (I may have a slight obsession with mascarpone cream), and crumbled graham cracker crust.  For an added touch you can add candied lemon peel and/or fresh berries.  While the final product wasn’t exactly “light”, no one had any trouble finishing their parfait!

Deconstructed Lemon Cream Pie Parfait

(makes 8 parfaits with extra lemon curd…for snacking or other desserts)

Lemon Curd (from Joanne Chang’s Lemon Lust Bars)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (500 grams) fresh lemon juice (14 to 16 lemons)
1/2 cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter
½ cup (60 grams) heavy cream
8 eggs
4 egg yolks
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the lemon juice, butter, and cream. Place over medium-high heat and heat to just below a boil. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until blended. Slowly whisk in the granulated sugar until combined. Remove the lemon juice mixture fromheat and gradually whisk a little of it into the egg mixture. Continue whisking the hot liquid into the eggs, a little at a time, until all of it has been incorporated.

When all of the lemon juice mixture has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan, and return the saucepan to medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan frequently to prevent the eggs from scrambling, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon thickly. To test, draw your finger along the back of the spoon; the curd should hold the trail for a second or two before it fills.

Remove the lemon curd from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl or pitcher. Whisk in the salt and vanilla.  Chill for 4 hours until cool.

Whipped Mascarpone Cream

8 oz whipping cream, chilled
8 oz mascarpone cream
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Place the whipping cream in a stand mixer with a whip attachment and beat cream until just before soft peaks start to form.  Add in the mascarpone cream and beat together until stiff peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.  Chill for at least an hour.

Graham Cracker Crust

7 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with foil.  Blend graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar in processor until moist clumps form. Press crumb mixture over prepared baking sheet.   Bake crust until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.   Crumble again into crumbs to use for parfaits.

Candied Lemon Peel (optional)

click here for recipe from


Layer lemon curd, whipped mascarpone cream and graham cracker crumbs into 8 glasses.  You should be able to layer each ingredient twice.  You will have extra lemon curd and graham cracker crumbs.  Top with candied lemon peel and/or berries if desired.

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