Chef AJ On The Beet: Holiday Parfait
This holiday dessert is as pretty as it is delicious, and it’s easy to make to boot! Once the pears are roasted it all comes together in about 15 minutes. You don’t need to go into a sugar coma during the holidays – instead, you can make healthy and delicious desserts using fruit – the whole fruit and nothing but the whole fruit.
Parfait simply means perfect in French and this festive dessert certainly lives up to its name. If you don’t want to make individual parfaits you can prepare this in a pretty trifle bowl instead.
- One recipe each of Pumpkin Mousse, Cherry Peary Cranberry sauce, and Low-Fat Pear Whip (recipes below)
- In a clear, pretty glass, make the parfait layers. Start with a layer of the Pumpkin Mousse, followed by the Cranberry Sauce, and top with the Pear Whip.
- Garnish with a few fresh cranberries, pomegranate arils, or a fresh mint leaf.
This is an easy to prepare, elegant, and delicious treat for Thanksgiving, or to make any day a holiday.
- 8 ounces of pitted dates
- 8 ounces of orange juice
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- Soak the dates in the orange juice until soft.
- Place softened dates with the soaking liquid in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Chill well before serving.
A new twist on an old favorite. One day I wanted to make my 5 Minute Cranberry Sauce and realized that I was out of dates! I thought about what I had on hand that I could use for sweetness instead. Luckily, I always have a jar of unsweetened pears in their own juice in my pantry to make Pear Whip, so I decided to give the pears a try. It worked! I think you’ll love this version as much as the original.
Cherry, Peary & Cranberry Relish
- 1 cup of roasted pear halves (this is the yield from a 25-ounce jar of pears in their own juice) or approximately 2½ cups of pears if using fresh or canned
- 1 large navel orange, peeled, plus the zest
- 8 ounces frozen cherries defrosted (approx. 1½ cups)
- 12 ounces unsweetened fresh cranberries
- ½ inch piece fresh ginger (more or less, to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roast the pear halves until golden brown on a Crisp Ease tray, piece of parchment paper, or non-stick silicone baking mat. This will take about 35-45 minutes. Zest the oranges and then peel. Place all ingredients in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade and process until a uniform texture is reached. Do not liquefy.
CHEF’S TIP: Roasted pears can be used as a sweetener for many recipes in place of either dates or bananas.
Here is a low-fat version of the Luscious Pear Whip for those who can’t eat nuts.
Low Fat Pear Whip
- 1 25-ounce jar of pears in their own juice (or approximately 2½ cups of pears if using fresh or canned)
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
- Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.
CHEF’S TIPS: Substitute unsweetened jarred peaches in their own juice for the pears. If you are using fresh pears, this may not be as sweet so consider roasting them first and/or adding Date Paste, to taste.
If you want more thickness, add 2 Tablespoons of white chia seeds dissolved in 4 Tablespoons of liquid before blending.
Calories 568 | Total Fat 5g | Saturated Fat 0.5g | Sodium 262mg | Total Carbohydrate 126.4g | Dietary Fiber 25.6g | Total Sugars 73.3g | Protein 8.9g | Calcium 172mg | Iron 6mg | Potassium 1311mg |