These beautifully layered dessert parfaits feature sweet summer cherries and a nutty gluten-free crumble topping for a delightful and light dessert on a warm night.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, it’s no surprise that I love cherries. We get some of the sweetest, plumpest and most flavorful cherries here. While I can certainly eat them by the handful fresh, I also love turning our local fruit into delicious cooked dishes.
And when cherry season is here, I’m always looking for something light and refreshing. These airy dessert parfaits with cherry compote and walnut crumble will satisfy your sweet tooth without weighing you down. The fluffy whipped cream is the perfect complement to the rich, sweet cherry sauce. And the nutty buckwheat streusel on top adds just the right amount of heft and crunch.
How to Make Cherry Dessert Parfaits
The three layers for these pretty dessert cups are cherry compote, mascarpone whipped cream and a walnut crumble topping.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your cherry parfaits:
- Start by making the crumble topping. It needs to cool completely before you break it into chunks and serve your parfaits.
- Keep a very close eye on the topping in the oven. Walnuts can burn easily, so make sure you stir it every 3 to 4 minutes and really move everything on the edges in towards the center of the pan.
- You can use fresh or frozen cherries for the cherry compote.
- Using very cold cream will help it whip into light and airy soft peaks.
- If you don’t have agave, you can swap it for maple syrup or honey.
Spiced Walnut Crumble
- 3 tablespoons buckwheat flour
- ½ cup walnuts
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- Pinch sea salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoons cloves
- ½ cup gluten-free oats
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups cherries, pitted, halved
- ½ cup pomegranate or orange juice
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste, divided
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients into a crumbly texture. Spread the mixture into an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Stir the topping and rotate the pan every 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye to make sure the edges don’t toast too quickly. When the walnuts look toasted, remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool the topping in the baking sheet on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the cherries, juice, honey, coconut sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste until you have a syrupy consistency, about 12 minutes. Stir often to avoid scorching.
- Transfer the cherry compote to a bowl or jar and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.
- In a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gently stir in the mascarpone, maple syrup, almond extract and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste until combined.
- To assemble the parfaits, spoon a dollop of the cherry compote into the bottom of 6 glasses. Top with whipped cream, more cherry compote, and sprinkle with the crumble. Serve immediately.
Once you’ve assembled the parfaits, it’s best to serve them straight away. The whipped mascarpone may deflate over time. However, you can store leftover crumble in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
The cherry compote can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. If you have leftovers, try it drizzled over ice cream or right into yogurt. You could even add it to these breakfast parfaits with raspberries. It’s divine!
More Summer Dessert Recipes
Try these other seasonal sweet treats before the summer ends:
If you love these gluten-free cherry dessert parfaits, you don’t want to miss what I’m sharing next on Instagram. Come follow along for a first look at all of my new recipes.