Coconut Cheesecake Parfait

Coconut parfaits. Photo by Keri White

My friend and colleague, DJ, shared this recipe with me, a favorite with her large, extended family. She said it garners high praise from her husband, who is convinced a restaurant would charge $20 for a portion.

Fortunately for us, we have the recipe, and can make it ourselves! I made the batch in old-fashioned glasses, which look pretty, but the portion was too large, even for me, a dessert glutton. These are quite rich, so when I make them again, I will use teacups or small ramekins for more sensible portions.

As summer approaches, these make a swell dessert because they involve no baking whatsoever, but they are elegant and delicious. I served them as they come, but DJ toasts coconut and garnishes the parfaits before serving. These would also be nice topped with fresh berries or a sprig of mint.

Serves 4

For the “crust” layer:
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch salt

For the cream:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
¾ cup sweetened, flaked coconut
½ cup coconut cream (mix it well to blend the solids and liquid, which separate in the can)
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon coconut extract

Mix the crust ingredients to a uniform consistency and set them aside.

Using an electric mixer, blend the cream ingredients until smooth. Taste; if you want a sweeter cream, add another tablespoon of powdered sugar.

Spoon a small amount of the crust mixture into the bottom of teacups or ramekins. Then spoon a layer of the cream mixture, and another layer of crust, and another layer of cream. Repeat with all the cups until ingredients are used up.

Serve immediately, or cover with cellophane, chill and serve later. These will keep in the refrigerator overnight.


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