Want an easy dessert that'll leave you fighting over the leftovers? Look no further than these strawberry shortcake and lemon curd parfaits a.k.a. blissful bursts of sunshine and sweetness in a glass.
I made a pared-down version of this recipe right as strawberries were coming into season three months ago with whipped cream, broken up pieces of buttery scone, and juicy sliced organic strawberries (see it here on Instagram) and I've been daydreaming about it ever since.
That is, until yesterday, when I concluded I could make an even better version without a ton of work. So I ran to the grocery store to grab the simple ingredients for the parfaits. And to the thrift store to pick up tall clear glasses for parfaits. There were tons to choose from, so I snagged these four for 99 cents a piece.
Strawberry Shortcake + Lemon Curd = Heaven
Then, on a whim, I decided to fix homemade lemon curd, too. Best decision ever! I used a honey sweetened recipe from my friend Emily, which was super duper easy (took less than 20 minutes for the whole process minus the chilling).
absolute BLISS in every bite! All the flavors (sweetness, tangy citrus & creaminess) were evenly balanced. I started eating it straight away warm off the stove, then had to stop myself so I had some leftover for these strawberry shortcake parfaits.
You could totally use store-bought lemon curd if that's your jam, but making it at home on the stove-top is 100,000% worth it. Trust me!
The first thing I did when I got home from the store was prep the strawberries and begin the macerating process. You might be wondering, what the heck is macerating? Well, it's just a fancy word for softening food by soaking it in a liquid. It's usually used to describe the process of bringing out the natural juices in fresh fruits by soaking them in a liquid (like vinegar, liqueur, or citrus juice) OR sprinkling them with sugar. The latter is probably the most popular option since it's so fast and easy.
However, I wanted to bring out the natural flavors of the strawberries without overpowering them while also avoiding refined sugar (if possible). So, I mixed raw honey and fresh lemon juice into my sliced strawberries and let them sit for about an hour while I quickly made the lemon curd, stuck it in the freezer to cool (I was battling dwindling daylight for photos), and prepped the rest of the food.
Scones for Strawberry Shortcake
Before I endeavored to make a strawberry shortcake dessert, I decided to consult my handy-dandy Joy of Cooking book. I wanted to know what differentiated a shortcake from a scone or a biscuit, and if I could swap out either one instead of making a shortcake from scratch (something I've never done).
Turns out shortcakes are not even called that by themselves, but shortcake biscuits. And even more surprising "shortcakes may be made with split biscuits or scones or with layers of sponge cake" (733). It's actually quite a flexible recipe!
The big difference between fluffy biscuit shortcakes, cream biscuit shortcakes, classic scones, and cream scones (four of the main options) are the amount and type of milk added (milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream) and whether or not sugar or butter is added (instead of using all cream for the fat).
So I decided to stick with classic plain scones for this recipe because 1) they're buttery & slightly sweet and 2) one of my local grocery stores bakes them fresh every day. Eventually, I'd like to make these parfaits with homemade scones or shortcake biscuits, but until then...I'll enjoy the ease of buying them down the street.
Once you have all the components: scones, fresh whipped cream (store-bought or homemade), macerated strawberries (you can do this in as little as 30 minutes or skip it and they'll just be less juicy), and lemon curd, the parfaits come together in minutes.
From here all you have to do is layer the ingredients evenly (or not -- I was a bit generous with the lemon curd) until the glass is full OR you run out of food. This will depend on the size of glasses you're using. It's ideal to have a bit leftover for snacking. :)
Strawberry Shortcake & Lemon Curd Parfait
An easy recipe for strawberry shortcake parfaits layered with a bright, sweet & creamy lemon curd. This dessert is absolute BLISS in every bite and it's beautiful, as well!
Yield: 4 parfaits (or more/less depending on size of glasses)
1 lb of organic strawberries (2 cups), hulled & sliced
1 tablespoon of raw honey
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 cups of whipped cream (get my homemade recipe here) or coconut whipped cream
1 1/2 cups of lemon curd (I used this homemade recipe but store-bought works too)
1-2 scones*, broken up into small chunks
*See notes section below for more suggestions on dairy-free & grain-free options.
8-ounce parfait glasses (similar to these) or 8-ounce mason jars
Macerate the strawberries at least 30 minutes ahead of time by washing, hulling, and slicing them and placing in a bowl. Pour in the honey and lemon juice, stir, and let the strawberries sit on the counter to draw out the juices. If you're going to be gone a few hours while they're macerating, stick them in the fridge to do their thing.
Now would be a good time to make the lemon curd or whipped cream (if desired) or you can fix them the day before. If you make the lemon curd the same day and need to cool it down quickly, stick it in the freezer and check on it (giving it a stir) every 30 minutes until chilled.
When everything is ready, break the scones up into chunks and then layer each ingredient (scones, strawberries, lemon curd, and whipped cream) into the parfait glass until filled up. If desired, pour some of the juices that accumulate from the strawberries onto the scones as you build each layer.
Top with a strawberry (if you have any left over) and enjoy! These should last a few days in the fridge if you want to make them ahead of them, although the texture of the scone may soften considerably.
Notes & Tips
- To make these parfaits dairy-free, substitute coconut whipped cream (here is an easy recipe to try) and find a paleo lemon curd recipe (like this) or brand that uses ghee and/or coconut oil instead of butter.
- To make this recipe gluten-free and grain-free, you'll probably have to make the scones at home (unless you're lucky and have a local place that sells GF scones). In that case, try this orange scone recipe that uses almond, coconut & tapioca flour instead.
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What's your favorite way to enjoy fresh strawberries and/or lemon curd? Have you ever made strawberry shortcake before?
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